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Do treble damages apply, &, if seeking them via small claims, must I request as part of the filing &, if so, what is procedure?

Los Angeles, CA |

Civil Procedure (CCP) § 1029.8 covers treble damages for damages caused by someone providing services without a license.
I am preparing to sue an unlicensed landscaper who not only breached the contract but also caused at least $1500 in damage.
Law provides for "disgorgement" of ALL money paid an unlicensed contractor, which I will request BUT I am also seeking money for the damage in addition.
Would CCP 1029.8 apply in this case (unlicensed landscaper) and, if so, when I fill in the amount I am suing for, do I provide the total of what I request be refunded plus the cost of the damage x 3 or do I just provide the total amount of the refund amount plus the cost of the damage and request the judge apply treble damages at the time of the hearing? Or do I need to do something else?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    If you are suing in Small Claims, you can ask for up to $10,000. Ask for that full amount in your claim, and the Court can award you whatever amount it believes you were able to prove.
    Since he is unlicensed, you can ask for every penny you paid him and the costs to fix or complete the work he was supposed to do. You can ask for additional penalties and depending on the proof you provide to the Court, you might get them.


  2. Generally punitive damages are not available in small claims, but a statutory penalty is recoverable. Put the full amount you seek in your complaint.

    Good luck to you.

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