Generally speaking, your options are typically to file in the location where the work took place, where the owing party has assets or in Los Angeles. You can contact your local Clerk of the Court to determine filing requirements locally to you. That step can be done locally to you (which is generally better since you may have to appear at the confirmation hearing), or in Los Angeles using this form: (http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adr106.pdf) since FairClaims Arbitrations have Los Angeles listed as the “Seat of Arbitration”.
You will then likely need to have the paperwork served upon the other party. There is a possibility that the court will request an appearance by you (or an attorney on your behalf) so typically it is best to undertake the process locally to you, though an appearance attorney can represent you anywhere in the country should you choose to file elsewhere. We can also assist in providing names of potential attorneys who can help you in the filing process, those fees can be recoverable in addition to the Award amount (the attorney will likely need to draw up the paperwork to state this). At this point, you’ll have a court judgment, which can then be used to enforce. You then have the ability to take that judgment to get a writ of execution to have the Sheriff enforce the Award (the same way you would for a small claims judgment).
We're happy to provide any information/resources you or an attorney may need in Confirming and Enforcing the award. Unfortunately, because we cannot provide legal advice and are not acting as your legal representative, we are prohibited from participating in the judicial enforcement process itself. The form you would need to file in California can be found here:
If you decide to file in Los Angeles, the correct Los Angeles court for filing can be determined using this tool, found here:
Here’s a link to an article that outlines the confirmation process:
"A petition for judicial confirmation must be led no earlier than ten days after, but not later than four years from, the date of service of a signed copy of the award on the petitioner" (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 1288, 1288.4).
Fortunately, because FairClaims decisions are legally binding, the Confirmation and Enforcement process still is much quicker and easier than going to Small Claims Court. Please see the attached Confirmation/Enforcement sample documents that you can use to take to court.