Civil cases involve a lawsuit in which one party sues another to:
- Recover money or property.
- Enforce a contract.
- Collect damages for injury.
- Protect some civil right.
Limited Civil cases are those involving $25,000 or less, except small claims cases.
Unlimited Civil cases are all other cases except family law or probate cases.
Delay Reduction cases are civil cases in which the court imposes timelines in order to make sure these cases are resolved quickly, usually within one year.
The current fees for filing an initial complaint, petition or application can be found here.
If you are low-income, you may be able to qualify for a fee waiver and not have to pay a filing fee.
The Judicial Council has developed several forms which can be used in civil cases. These forms can be found at http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm.
A defendant can file an answer to a complaint, or if the complaint fails to comply with applicable procedural laws, the defendant can file a motion challenging the legality of the complaint, such as a demurrer or a motion to strike.
A demurrer is a motion brought by a defendant to challenge a defective complaint. Usually a demurrer is brought when the defendant does not believe the plaintiff has stated sufficient facts to support the legal theory, or cause of action, upon which the plaintiff’s claim is based. Sometimes a demurrer may be brought because the statute of limitations has run.
A demurrer can be brought as to the entire complaint, or as to one or more causes of action.
A motion to strike is usually brought to request the court delete an improper allegation or statement from a complaint. Sometimes a motion to strike is directed to one word or phrase, sometimes it is directed to an entire cause of action. A motion to strike can also be filed with a demurrer, but the court charges a separate motion fee for each motion.
There are different methods of gathering information in a case to prepare the case for trial. These methods, which include depositions, interrogatories, demands to produce documents, requests for admission, and site inspections, are collectively referred to as "discovery."
Yes, if the parties are willing. You can use alternative dispute resolution, generally called ADR. ADR refers to a number of ways of resolving conflicts without a lawsuit or, if you have filed a lawsuit, without a trial.
These alternative ways are used for many types of disputes, including divorces, business and real estate disputes, landlord/tenant disputes, disputes with contractors, financial disputes, employer-employee disputes, inheritance disputes, and conflicts between neighbors.