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California Civil Code section 1719 treble damages for bad checks

California Civil Code section 1719 and the treble damages allowed under that section are the topic of this blog post. Civil Code section 1719 allows for the recovery of three times the amount of damages for any check returned for insufficient fund up to a maximum of $1,500.00. However in order to be entitled to the additional damages parties must strictly comply with its provisions.

Those requirements include a written demand sent to the person who wrote the check (Payor) by certified mail. The demand letter must allow the person 30 days to pay the amount of the bad check, a service charge of $25.00 for the first check and $35.00 for each additional check, and the cost of sending the written demand. If the Payor pays those fees within the 30 days they owe nothing further.

However, if the person who wrote the bad check fails to pay the amounts required within the 30 days the other party may file a lawsuit, including in Small Claims Court if applicable, to receive a judgment against the Payor.

Civil Code section 1719(e) states in pertinent party that, “A cause of action under this section may be brought in small claims court by the original payee, if it does not exceed the jurisdiction of that court, or in any other appropriate court.”

The damages are specified in Civil Code section 1719(a)(2)(C) which states in pertinent part that the Payor must pay, “the amount of the check, minus any partial payments made toward the amount of the check or the service charge within 30 days of the written demand, and damages equal to treble that amount, which shall not be less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500).”

The advantage of using section 1719 is that it makes it worthwhile for someone who is attempting to collect even a smaller check to file a lawsuit to obtain a judgment against the Payor.

Note that Civil Code section 1719 (j)(1) states in pertinent part that, the payor is “liable for damages and costs only if all of the requirements of this section have been satisfied.” Failing to serve the demand by certified mail or not waiting the entire 30 days before filing a lawsuit may result in the Court ruling that a party is not entitled to any additional damages.

Civil Code section 1719(h) states that, “The requirements of this section in regard to remedies are mandatory upon a court.” In other words the party filing the lawsuit is entitled to the treble damages as long as they have complied with all of the requirements of section 1719.

Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view or download a sample demand letter under Civil Code section 1719 created by the author can see below.

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is an entrepreneur and freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation.

To view over 300 sample legal documents for sale by the author of this blog post visit the following link: View over 300 sample legal documents for sale

*Do you want to use this article on your website, blog or e-zine? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Stan Burman is the author of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation and is the author of a free weekly legal newsletter. You can receive 10 free gifts just for subscribing. Just visit http://freeweeklylegalnewsletter.gr8.com/ for more information.

You can view sample legal document packages for sale by going to http://www.legaldocspro.com/downloads.aspx


Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.



2 Responses

  1. I need to file a complaint in regards to I would say Breach of contract. Plaintiff lend defendant 80,000.00 dollars. Defendant has never paid in violation of promissory note what kind of complaint should I use. Best regards


    Sent from Windows Mail


    • I cannot give legal advice. However you may want to check out this sample complaint for sale. It may need to be modified for your particular situation.


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