The most you can ask for in a small claims case is $10,000, but note that an individual plaintiff may not file a claim over $2,500 more than twice a year. A local public entity or business is limited to $5,000 per year. $6,500 is the limit in suits by an individual against a guarantor that charges for its guarantor or surety services.
Small claims cases in California are heard in the Small Claims Division (Superior Court).
For information on California's statute of limitation periods for claims related to written contracts, oral contracts, injuries, and property damage, see Nolo's 50-state Statute of Limitations chart.
You are not allowed to have an attorney represent you in small claims court in California.
Eviction cases are not allowed in small claims court in California, but must be heard by a higher court.
In California, jury trials are not allowed in small claims court but will be required in certain limited civil cases after July 1, 2016.
Nolo's Small Claims Court area has many helpful related articles. For more detailed help with filing a case, using the best strategy in court, and collecting your money if you win, see Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court in California, by Attorney Ralph Warner (Nolo).
Updated: March 1, 2016