Small claims cases are typically filed in the county where the defendant or business lives or does business, but there are some exceptions.
The California Courts website has a great resource page you review by visiting this link; http://www.courts.ca.gov/9745.htm
Knowing where the cases can be filed frames where you would need to search for any cases involving the party you want to investigate.
There are 58 counties in California and many of them have websites where you can search civil cases; some of which are free and some charge a fee. If a court does not have a website with case searching ability you would need to travel to or hire someone to conduct a manual search on-site or submit the search request via mail (which can take weeks). Some counties that require an on-site or mail request include, but are not limited to: San Luis Obispo, Contra Costa.
This means that even if you use a search tool like Intellius and they say they are conducting a comprehensive search it is impossible for them to search counties that don’t make their records available online.
In order to search civil cases, which is where small claims cases are typically filed, the only information you need is the defendants name or business name. Because these are name only searches having a middle initial can be very important to make sure the records you are finding pertain to the person in question.
If you want to watch a video about how to conduct a small claims background check from the #AskAPIShow here is the link.
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