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Small Claims Court Addendum

posted at 5:46 pm
on Nov. 19, 2010

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Several people have asked me privately (for which I am thankful) something along the lines of. “Are you, Sir, a dumb ass?”

By which I think they mean. “Why did you fly to California to go to court without checking to be sure you had to be there, because, you know, that’s something only a dumb ass would do… Sir.”

Actually, they probably wouldn’t call me Sir…

In any case, here’s why I headed South…

In October, I filed the court papers requesting a trial in small claims court. For an extra fee, the court will serve papers by certified mail to the defendant. I paid for this and I got notice that the mail had been sent.

I did not realize that this didn’t fully count as serving the papers; and I didn’t realize that if the mail wasn’t signed for and was returned, that the court, who I had paid for this service, wouldn’t feel the need to tell me this.  I knew that the papers needed to be served for the trial to proceed, but I thought this had happened.

I don’t blame the system overall for my lack of understanding; it is complicated and some parts of it are inefficient, but I do totally see why getting “process serving” right is a critical part of giving everyone a fair trial, and I should have figured this out.

On the other hand, I wasn’t the only person who had this problem today. And while I can wait and try again, others might need the money more, or be less able to take another day off to do this.

I’d like to see the court system send me an email or a fax (they had both on file for me) if something important (like a missing notice of process) isn’t in my file 7 days before court. I wasted a lot of the court’s time today as well as my own.

But wanting improvements isn’t the same as feeling like the current system is broken.



 
 

 

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