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Claim Game

[whitespace] How to Use Small Claims Court

When to Go to Small Claims Court: For disputes involving $5,000 and less.

Where to Go: Los Gatos Municipal Court, 14205 Capri Dr, 866-2051 (for cases in San Jose, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Saratoga, Campbell). Sunnyvale Municipal Court (for Sunnyvale and Cupertino), 605 W. El Camino Real. Palo Alto Municipal Court (Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Los Altos), 270 Grant Ave.

What You Need to Do: Pay $20 to file a suit. You must sue for a specific dollar amount and know the correct name and address of the person or business being sued. The defendant must be served a copy of the complaint. The easiest way to serve somebody is by delivering the claim in person or sending it by certified mail.

Collecting the Money: If the person being sued won't pay up, you can ask the small claims clerk to issue a "Writ of Execution" to have the debtor's wages garnished, record a lien or impose a levy on their bank account.

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From the March 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro.

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