California Civil Law and Motions

California civil lawsuits involve the process of a party bringing a claim against another party for injunctive relief or monetary damages. Common types of civil lawsuits include the breach of a contract, personal injury, negligence, and real estate claims. Filing a lawsuit in a court is the first step a plaintiff must take to request a judge to decide a dispute. The plaintiff’s moving papers identify the parties involved in the matter, the basis for the lawsuit, and the court in which the lawsuit is filed. The defendant has an opportunity to contest the plaintiff’s claim(s) and file a cross-claim.

A civil lawsuit may be filed as a small claim, limited claim, or unlimited claim.  Individuals can file a claim in small claim court and obtain relief up to $10,000. A business can also obtain relief up to $5,000 in small claims court. Attorneys can not represent either party in a small claims dispute. Claims involving limited matters include relief sought up to $25,000. The court will usually provide a trial date at the first Case Management Conference for a limited matter. An unlimited matter allows a party to obtain legal relief in excess of $25,000. Parties are required to use ADR to settle their case before heading to trial.

San Diego Esquire provide coaching and legal document preparation services to civil litigants involved in small and limited claims. We currently do not provide legal assistance to lawsuits arising under unlimited claims. Contact us today for more information about the civil court process and how we can help you. Read on to learn more about the California civil law and motion services we provide.

California Civil Lawsuit Process

California courts encourage parties to settle legal disputes informally before filing a lawsuit. Moving parties can send a demand letter requesting relief for a legal issue. The demand letter can serve as evidence that the party tried to settle a matter informally.

To file a civil lawsuit, the moving party must file a summons and complaint. The summons provides the defendant with notice of the lawsuit. The complaint is a form which details how the moving party was hurt and how much damages he/she is seeking. Things to consider when filing a lawsuit include selecting the appropriate jurisdiction, venue, and how the defendant will be served with notice.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the defendant will have 30 days to respond to the initial complaint. The court can enter a default judgment if the defendant fails to answer. Once the initial complaint and response are received, the parties will attend a Case Management Conference. Both parties will be able to brief the judge as to the status of any pending discovery. The judge will set a trial date and discovery cut off date. If a matter does not settle before trial, the moving party can request a jury trial. If the moving party is successful in obtaining a judgment, he/she can enforce the judgment by seizing the defendant’s assets.

Civil Lawsuit Motions

Parties file civil lawsuit motions to obtain or exclude evidence. Parties may consider filing a civil motion such as one of the following:

  1. Pre-Trial Motions
    • Motion to Continue Hearing
    • Motion to Dismiss
    • Motion to Strike Cause of Action
    • Motion to Strike Answer
    • Motion for Summary Judgment
    • Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction
    • Motion to Dismiss Party from Case
    • Motion to Extend Time to File Response
    • Motion to Take Judicial Notice
    • Motion to Unseal Document
    • Motion in Limine
    • Motion for Nonsuit
    • Motion to Change Venue
  2. Discovery Motions
    • Motion to Compel
    • Motion to Produce
    • Motion for Attendance at Deposition
    • Motion to Compel Answers at Deposition
  3. Post-Trial Motions
    • Motion to Set Aside Judgment

Commonly filed motions include motion to compel, motion to produce, and motion to dismiss.

Contact San Diego Esquire for more information about the legal document preparation services we provide to self-represented parties. We can help you draft the forms you need to file a civil lawsuit and start the discovery process.

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