Courts are facing unprecedented financial cutbacks, and yes, these are matters of public interest, but the public's free to observe the suits live, and these public matters are by definition, "small" so they've never had the access to documents and proceedings that higher courts cases have.
That said, in CA, small claims cases do appear on public searches for records of individuals and entities.
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You should check with the court clerk's office of the small claims court you are concerned with and see what records they keep? You can usually get a copy of the summons and complaint, answer, any cross-complaint, judgment, and satisfaction of judgment but that would be about it?
Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.