Due to ongoing budget cuts, the Sacramento County Superior Court is drastically reducing Civil front filing counter services in the Gordon D. Schaber Courthouse at 720 9th Street. Effective July 2, 2012, the Civil front filing counter will accept only a limited type of documents for filing. All other types of documents, including complaints and answers to complaints, must be deposited in a drop-box, without the benefit of immediate, personal review for completeness, correctness, or conformity to all applicable codes relevant to the particular filing.
This change will likely cause several problems for self-represented litigants. With the delay in knowing whether their papers are properly conformed for filing, defendants may miss their deadline for filing a response (typically 30 days), and plaintiffs may be more likely to obtain default judgments against self-represented litigants who attempt to file response papers unsuccessfully.
The lack of front counter interaction with self-represented litigants will also likely reduce the number of persons who are told about services at the Sacramento County Public Law Library’s Civil Self Help Center. Without a court clerk telling the defendant that he or she incorrectly completed their papers and should see the Civil Self Help Center, far fewer defendants are likely to be able to respond to their cases in time.
Another problem may arise because of the delay and statutes of limitations. If a self-represented plaintiff waits until the last minute (a few weeks until their statute runs, as is often is the case) to file their complaint, but makes a minor technical error, their papers will be rejected but they will not know about it until several weeks (and the statute of limitations) has passed, thus losing their case before they have effectively filed it.
The Court will be installing date/time stamping machines and more (there is currently one) large drop boxes in the Civil Room 102 lobby. Any document submitted that is complete/correct and adheres to all applicable codes relevant to the filing dropped before 5:00 p.m. will be deemed filed on the date of deposit. Any document submitted that is complete/correct and adheres to all applicable codes relevant to the filing dropped after 5:00 p.m. will be filed effective the next Court business day.
The documents the Civil front filing counter will accept for filing are:
- Application for Out-of-State Discovery Subpoena
- Application and Order for Appearance and Examination
- Ex Parte Applications with a Hearing Date
- Labor Commissioner Appeals
- Law and Motion Documents
- Petition for Voter Registration and any related subsequent documents
- Unlawful Detainer: Request To Set Case for Trial (UD-150)
- Writs of Election and any related subsequent documents
- Writs of Mandate and any related subsequent documents
- Petition for Change of Name or Gender Change (Wednesdays Only)
- Payment of Court Reporter/Jury Fees
- Payment of Civil Case Related Fees without accompanying documents
Civil front filing counter hours remain 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and windows accepting the above identified documents will be available as follows:
- 1 express window – 2 (two) document maximum per transaction
- 2 general windows – up to 7 (seven) documents per transaction
- 1 civil records window – no change to existing services
Documents continue to be accepted via the mail. Documents submitted via the mail and those dropped in a box will be processed with the same priority. For more information, see the Court’s Public Notice at http://www.saccourt.ca.gov/civil/civil.aspx