During a Small Claims Court Case

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If You are Being Sued in Small Claims Court:

If you have been given copies of papers that have been filed with the court showing that you are being sued by a person or business in small claims court you need to: 

  • Read these papers carefully, and 
  • Decide what you will do next. (Small claims cases move very quickly in court.)

NOTE 1: The date, time and place of the small claims hearing is on page 1 of the Plaintiff’s Claim (Form SC-100).

NOTE 2: You do not have to file any papers at court in response to the Plaintiff’s Claim.

NOTE 3:  If you believe you were not served correctly, contact your Small Claims Advisor immediately.  Also, read: If the Service of Process rules were not followed

NOTE 4:  If you have a case against the plaintiff you may decide to file it now – or later. (However, be careful not to wait too long. There are laws which limit the time within which you may file a case.)

TIP:  Never ignore an order to appear in court. If you don’t show up, the court may hear and decide the case without you. If a court judgment is issued against you, your money or property, and maybe some of your earnings can be taken forcibly to pay the judgment. In addition, your credit record may include the fact that a judgment was entered against you. Also, if you are a member of a licensed profession or occupation, the judgment may affect your license and might be included in the records of the agency that licenses you.

The information in this section will help you if you decide to participate in your court case:

At any time, you can:

  • Read answers for Frequently Asked Questions about small claims cases.
  • Watch some short videos on the Basics of Small Claims Cases, click here. Opens new window
  • Read some general information about How Courts Work, click here. Opens new
  • Watch some videos with general information about how California's court system works, click here. Opens new
  • Watch some short videos with information on "Paperwork Basics" (forms), "Service of Process" and "Tips on Going to Court", click here. Opens new window



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