Updated June 16, 2019
Small Claims FAQ
The DCA: "Small claims court is a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively...In small claims court, the rules are simplified and the hearing is informal...Attorneys are generally not allowed."
If I file, will my personal information be released?
The City and County of San Francisco and/or San Francisco International Airport may not release any personal data to the media.
If we lose, will this go on my credit records?
Do I have to speak in public?
You can read from notes, a prepared script, an iPad, etc. People may bring in witnesses to support the claim that the noise severely worsened about 3 1/2 years ago; people will receive a binder from us with all the information needed to appear; people may sit in on earlier appearance dates to get a feel for the process; people may talk or read a statement for 2 to 20 minutes, perhaps longer if appropriate. Our Round 1 judge let spouses sit together when testifying.
Where will the small claims appearance be?
The locale will be in downtown Redwood City The provided binder will tell you where to park, what going through security is like, and what the proceedings will be like.
When will our appearance be?
Waiting to hear the judge's Round One verdict sometime this summer, we won't file claims for Round Two at this time. Our Round One judge did something extraordinary. She set aside several days just for our group's hearings, allotting us 9 slots in the morning and 9 in the afternoon. If we file after the verdict, we won't know for weeks if we'll be fortunate enough to have the same exclusive schedule.
What are we asking for?
In Round One, with claims filed as early as September, 2018, we asked for $2500, thinking we may be able to file 4 times a year. We didn't foresee that it would take 8 months from our initial filing to our first appearance. Perhaps for Round Two we'll aim for 3 hearings a year at $3300. (The maximum one can be awarded in Small Claims in a chronological year is $10,000.) The more people in our group, the more pressure on the City and County of San Francisco to investigate and remediate the runway noise.