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Your Legal Corner - Client Alert Blog

Small Claims Court Can Issue Injunctive and Other Equitable Relief

Written By: Melissa C. Marsh, Esq., California Attorney, February 2010 Add to Favorites
Prior to the enactment of Assembly Bill 712, California Smalls Claims Courts had jurisdiction over actions seeking certain forms of relief, including money damages up to $7,500 and in such actions the Smalls Claims Court was also permitted to grant equitable relief in the form of rescission, restitution, reformation, and specific performance in lieu of, or in addition to, money damages. Under the new law, the Small Claims Court will be prohibited from issuing injunctive relief (e.g. specific performance) unless a California statute specifically authorizes the Small Claims Court to award injunctive relief. Fortunately, California Code of Civil Procedure 116.210-116.221 provide that in any small claims action seeking money damages, the Small Claims Court may grant equitable relief in the form of recision, restitution, reformation and specific performance, in lieu of, or in addition to, money damages. In effect, this bill does not change existing law but seeks to clarify it.

Several statutes affecting homeowner associations (HOAs) also explicitly provide the Small Claims Court with jurisdiction to grant equitable relief. For example, California Civil Code 1365.2 authorizes a person to bring an action in Small Claims Court to inspect and copy HOA records, and to ask for a civil penalty of up to $500 for each violation. The action to enforce the right to inspect and copy HOA documents would be an action for injunctive or declaratory relief. Similarly, Civil Code 1363.09(c) allows a member of a common interest development to seek injunctive relief in any case involving association-related elections to be brought in Small Claims Court if the amount of the demand does not exceed the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court ($7,500).


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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.