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The California State Legislature has passed SB 221, State Senator Joe Simitian’s (D-Palo Alto) bill to expand access to Small Claims Court.
SB 221 increases the Small Claims Court jurisdictional limit from $7,500 to $10,000. It follows up on Simitian’s successful 2005 effort (SB 422) which raised the previous limit from $5,000 to $7,500. This bill also delays the increase for bodily injury claims resulting from car accidents until January 1, 2015.
The author believes that the increase will help plaintiffs with cases over $7,500 but still well below what most attorneys would consider taking. The bill was supported by, among others, Consumer Attorneys of California, the Judicial Council and the California Apartment Association. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan unanimous support.