Thank you for the follow-up.
1. According to the CA Courts, "You can file in the county where you signed the contract, where the contract was broken, or where the contract was to be carried out. You can also file where the defendant lived or worked when you signed the contract." http://www.courts.ca.gov/9745.htm
2. The server must be at least 18 and not listed in the case. He or she can be:
A friend, relative, or co-worker.
A "process server," who is someone you pay to deliver court forms. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Process Serving."
The local sheriff (or marshal if your county has one) can also deliver court forms. Look for your local sheriff online or ask the court clerk how to contact the sheriff. Or look in the county section of your phone book under "Sheriff." You must pay the sheriff, unless you qualify for a fee waiver.
There are 3 different ways to serve someone in a small claims
Ask your server to personally "serve" (give) a copy of your court papers to the person you are suing or to the agent legally authorized to accept court papers for the person, business, or public entity you are suing.
Tell the server to:
Walk up to the person to be served.
Say, "These are court papers."
Give the person copies of all the court papers. If the person will not take the papers, just leave them near the person. It does not matter if the person tears them up or throws them away.
Fill out the Proof of Service (Small Claims) (Form SC-104), sign it on page 2, and return the completed form to you so that you can file it.
If the person you have to serve is not at home or work when your server goes there, your server can give the court papers to:
A competent adult (at least 18) living at the home with the person to be served; or
An adult who seems to be in charge where the person to be served usually works; or
An adult who seems to be in charge where the person receives mail
Your server also has to:
Tell the person he or she is leaving the court papers with to give them to the person you are suing.
Write down the name of the person he or she gave the court papers to. If the person will not give his or her name, your server must write down a physical description of the person who took the papers.
Mail another copy of the court papers by first-class mail to the person you are suing at the same address where your server left the papers.
Fill out the Proof of Service (Small Claims) (Form SC-104), and sign it on page 2. The server MUST also fill out and sign the Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) (Form SC-104A) for the second step of mailing a copy of the Plaintiff's Claim. Once the server fills out both forms, he or she must return the completed forms to you so you can file them with the clerk.
Service by Certified Mail by the Court Clerk
You can pay the court clerk to mail your claim to the person you are suing by certified mail. This can be very convenient and the fee is low.
But this type of service can also be very unreliable. The court will probably not accept it and will make you serve again (with personal or substituted service) if:
The person you are suing or the person's agent for service does not sign the certified mail receipt with his or her complete name;
The judge cannot read the signature on the certified mail receipt and cannot tell who signed it; or
Someone else signs the receipt.
3. You file the claim with the courthouse then you serve it on the defendant. The order of steps is explained here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/9743.htm
My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!