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Can the Court’s Decision be Appealed?

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Plaintiff:  If you are the plaintiff and you lost your small claims case, you cannot appeal the court’s decision. (See California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 116.710Opens new window

  • But, if the defendant filed a counterclaim against you, and you lost that counterclaim, you may file an appeal on that counterclaim.

Defendant:  If you are the defendant, attended the hearing and lost the case, you may appeal the judgment. (The defendant's insurance company can also file an appeal if it's asked to pay more than $2,500.)

NOTE 1: The defendant (or his or her insurance company) must ask for an appeal within 30 days of the day the court mailed out the Notice of Entry of Judgment.

NOTE 2: You will need to file a Notice of Appeal (Small Claims) (Form SC-140Opens new window with the court.


In small claims, an appeal is a hearing of the whole case again, held in Superior Court in front of a different judge.

At the appellate hearing, the new judge will hear the case from the beginning.  Each side will be expected to tell his or her side of the story again.

  • You may use all of the same evidence as you used before, or you may change the evidence if you think it will present a stronger case. This might include witnesses, documents, items, etc.

At the end of the trial, the judge will make a decision about the case.

  • He or she may agree with the decision of the first judge, that the plaintiff should win the case, or that the defendant should win less or more, OR
  • He or she may overturn the decision of the first judge, and decide that the defendant should win the case.

Once an appeal has been decided, the parties cannot file a second appeal of the case.



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