My Bill for Small Claims Court Fairness Becomes Law

Today, Governor Brown signed what remained of my bill to reform small claims court.  Thank you to all who supported the bill.

Simply, it permits one spouse to represent both in small claims court. Small claims court, which includes claims up to $10,000, is where creditors take our most vulnerable people, many of whom are a paycheck away from homelessness.  The new law is important for the following reasons:

  • One spouse can avoid court and work to earn the money they desperately need.
  • One spouse may stay home and babysit the children.
  • There will be no ambiguity and no opportunity for mischief. When one spouse travels to court to answer a joint debt, the creditor may not default the other spouse.
  • It moves the needle toward fairness in a court where creditors may be represented by seasoned, paid professionals; yet, creditors may not be represented by anyone.  People owning money still may not use lawyers or other pros, but their husband or wife may appear on their behalf.

You can find the bill here: HB 2734 (2017)

Jeff Merrick