05 Jul 2024

5 Benefits of Using a Legal Support Company

The legal system can be a complex and daunting labyrinth, even for the most seasoned professionals. For individuals and businesses facing court cases, navigating the intricacies of filings, research, investigations, and service of process can feel overwhelming. This is where The Active Legal steps in, offering a valuable resource to streamline these processes, ensure accuracy, and provide peace of mind.

Who is The Active Legal?

The Active Legal is a legal support company staffed with experienced professionals. We specialize in the tasks that often precede or support a legal case, freeing up attorneys’ time to focus on complex legal issues and strategy. While we cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court (functions reserved for licensed attorneys), we offer a vital support system for individuals and businesses navigating small claims court or other legal matters.

5 Benefits of Using The Active Legal for Court Support

Here are five key benefits to consider when deciding to utilize The Active Legal for your legal needs:

1. Streamlined Court Filings and Increased Efficiency

Filing court documents can be a complex and time-consuming process, riddled with specific rules and procedures. Even a minor mistake can lead to delays or rejection of your filing. The Active Legal takes the burden off your shoulders. Our experienced team can handle all aspects of your court filings, ensuring accuracy, completeness, and timely submission. This allows you to focus on other important aspects of your case.

2. In-Depth Court Research to Strengthen Your Case

Legal research is a critical component of any successful legal strategy. The Active Legal’s team can conduct thorough research on relevant laws, precedents, and legal arguments that can strengthen your case. We can provide you with clear and concise summaries of the research, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding your legal approach.

3. Professional Investigations to Gather Evidence

In many cases, gathering evidence is crucial to presenting a strong case. The Active Legal can conduct professional investigations to uncover relevant facts and information. Whether it’s locating witnesses, obtaining public records, or conducting asset searches, our team utilizes ethical and effective methods to build a solid foundation for your case.

4. Reliable Service of Process to Move Your Case Forward

Serving legal documents is a crucial step in initiating a lawsuit or other legal action. The Active Legal ensures that service of process is completed accurately and in accordance with legal requirements. We take the guesswork out of the process, providing you with documented proof of service so your case can proceed smoothly.

5. Expert Assistance for Small Claims Court

Small claims courts provide an avenue for individuals to resolve legal disputes without the cost and complexity of traditional litigation. However, navigating the small claims process can still be challenging. The Active Legal can provide valuable assistance with small claims court matters, including filing paperwork, preparing for hearings, and understanding court procedures.

Beyond the Benefits: Choosing The Active Legal as Your Partner

At The Active Legal, we are committed to providing exceptional service and support. Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Experienced Team: Our team consists of qualified paralegals and legal professionals with a deep understanding of court procedures and legal research methodologies.
  • Focus on Accuracy: We prioritize meticulous attention to detail, ensuring all tasks are completed with accuracy and efficiency.
  • Cost-Effective Solutions: We offer competitive rates, allowing you to access high-quality legal support without breaking the bank.
  • Clear Communication: We believe in clear and consistent communication. You will receive regular updates on the progress of your matter and have a dedicated point of contact for your questions.
  • Technology-Driven Approach: We utilize cutting-edge technology to streamline processes and ensure secure handling of your legal documents.
13 Mar 2024

How to Choose the Right Legal Support Company

Facing a legal situation can be overwhelming, especially when unfamiliar with the complexities of the legal system. While seeking counsel from qualified attorneys is crucial, partnering with a reliable legal support company like The Active Legal, located in San Diego, CA, can significantly enhance your legal experience.

This article equips you with valuable insights to guide you in selecting the right legal support partner for your specific needs.

Understanding Legal Support Services:

The Active Legal offers a comprehensive range of services designed to complement the work of attorneys. We specialize in:

  • Legal research and writing: Our skilled team assists lawyers with in-depth legal research, legal document drafting, and trial preparation materials.
  • Electronic discovery (eDiscovery): We manage the collection, processing, and review of large volumes of electronic data crucial for litigation, ensuring adherence to industry best practices.
  • Paralegal support: Our experienced paralegals handle administrative tasks such as case management, document filing, and client communication, freeing up valuable attorney time for strategic thinking and legal arguments.
  • Corporate legal services: San Diego businesses can benefit from our ongoing legal assistance, including contract review, compliance monitoring, and risk management.

Why Choose The Active Legal as Your San Diego Legal Support Partner?

At The Active Legal, we understand the unique needs of businesses and individuals in San Diego. Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Deep Local Expertise: Our team possesses in-depth knowledge of the legal landscape specific to San Diego, ensuring our services are tailored to your local requirements.
  • Experienced Professionals: We employ a team of highly qualified legal professionals, including paralegals, legal document specialists, and eDiscovery experts, all with relevant certifications.
  • Focus on Technology and Security: We leverage cutting-edge technology to ensure efficient and secure legal support services. Our secure data storage, advanced eDiscovery capabilities, and access to comprehensive legal research databases guarantee exceptional service.
  • Open Communication and Client Focus: We prioritize clear and consistent communication. You’ll receive regular updates and have direct access to a dedicated team member to address your inquiries promptly.
  • Competitive Rates and Flexible Fee Structures: We offer competitive rates and flexible fee structures to accommodate your budget. We believe in providing cost-effective solutions without compromising quality.

Additional Tips for a Successful Partnership:

  • Clearly define your needs: Before contacting The Active Legal, clearly articulate your specific requirements and the type of support you seek.
  • Schedule a consultation: We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with our team to discuss your situation, explore our services in detail, and answer any questions you may have.
  • Request references: We are happy to provide references from past clients in San Diego who can attest to the quality of our work and our commitment to client satisfaction.
  • Review service agreements carefully: We ensure our service agreements are transparent and clearly outline the scope of services, fees, and termination clauses.

Benefits of Partnering with The Active Legal:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Leveraging our legal support services allows businesses and individuals in San Diego to access high-quality legal assistance at a reasonable cost compared to solely relying on attorneys.
  • Increased Efficiency: By delegating routine tasks to our team, lawyers can focus on core legal strategy and client communication, leading to a more streamlined legal process.
  • Enhanced Expertise: Our team’s specialized knowledge in various legal areas provides valuable insights and support throughout the legal process, ensuring you receive the best possible representation.
  • Scalable Solutions: We understand that legal needs can evolve. The Active Legal offers scalable solutions, allowing you to adjust the level of support you require as your situation progresses.


At The Active Legal, we are committed to providing exceptional legal support services to businesses and individuals in San Diego, CA. By following the tips outlined above and choosing The Active Legal as your partner, you can navigate the legal system with greater confidence and achieve a successful outcome.

08 Jan 2024

How to Save Time and Money with The Active Legal’s Legal Support Services

Running a business or navigating personal legal matters can feel like a constant battle against time and expenses. Legal issues often demand immediate attention, but finding the right resources and expertise can be a daunting task. This is where The Active Legal steps in, offering a range of legal support services designed to save you both time and money.

Freeing Up Your Time:

  • Service of Process: Forget chasing down elusive individuals for document delivery. The Active Legal’s team of professional process servers ensures swift and discreet document delivery, freeing you to focus on what truly matters.
  • Court Investigations: Uncover critical details and evidence without wasting your valuable time. The Active Legal’s skilled investigators handle all the legwork, from witness interviews to background checks, providing you with comprehensive reports to inform your strategy.
  • Legal Research and Document Preparation: Drowning in legal paperwork? Let The Active Legal’s experienced legal team shoulder the burden. They conduct thorough research, draft legal documents, and handle essential filings, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.
  • E-Discovery and Document Management: Managing mountains of documents can be a time-consuming nightmare. The Active Legal’s advanced technology solutions handle e-discovery and document management seamlessly, saving you countless hours and frustration.

Saving You Money:

  • Reduced Overhead Costs: Why invest in hiring and training in-house staff when you can have access to expert legal support on demand? By outsourcing these tasks to The Active Legal, you eliminate the need for additional salaries, equipment, and software, leading to significant cost savings.
  • Flat-Fee Services: Unlike the uncertainty of hourly billable rates, The Active Legal offers transparent and predictable flat-fee pricing for most services. This allows you to budget effectively and avoid unpleasant surprises down the line.
  • Improved Efficiency: The Active Legal’s streamlined processes and efficient services minimize wasted time and rework, resulting in overall cost reduction. You get the legal support you need without unnecessary delays or additional expenses.
  • Access to Expertise: Instead of navigating complex legal issues alone, you gain access to The Active Legal’s team of experienced legal professionals. Their knowledge and guidance help you avoid costly mistakes and make informed decisions that protect your interests.

Real-World Results:

Don’t just take our word for it. Numerous businesses and individuals have experienced the time-saving and cost-reducing benefits of The Active Legal’s services.

Take Control of Your Time and Finances:

Legal matters shouldn’t have to drain your time and resources. By partnering with The Active Legal, you gain access to expert legal support services that save you both time and money. Don’t wait any longer, contact The Active Legal today for a free consultation and discover how they can help you achieve your legal goals with greater efficiency and affordability.

Remember, your time and money are valuable assets. The Active Legal helps you invest them wisely in your legal success.

06 Sep 2022

Frequently Asked Questions About Serving Court Documents

Reasons for being served papers?

A process server would only serve you documents because someone is suing you or you are a party in a legal proceeding.

This could be because of any of the following reasons:

  • A divorce
  • Child support
  • Small claims matter
  • Cease and desist letter
  • Request for payment
  • Or any other legal matter.

The process server’s job is to find you and serve you the legal documents, giving you notice of the legal action.

What happens if you never get served court papers?

It would be best if you didn’t try to avoid being served court papers purposely. 

If you don’t receive the court documents, or you don’t get them on time, you won’t be able to file an Answer by the deadline. As a result, The plaintiff will ask the court for a default judgment.

Can someone else accept served papers?

Papers must be “served” on any other person who is involved in the law suit or who the law requires get the papers. Many states require that this person be approved by the court.
After the papers are served, a Proof of Service form must be filled out and signed by the person who served the papers. The Proof of Service form must be filed with the court.

How to serve someone who is avoiding service?

In California, a person is served when they officially receive the papers.
But what happens if you are unable to serve the documents because the other party is avoiding you or avoiding being served?

It’s highly recommended that you hire a process server, this is a professional who is qualified and experienced with the legal procedures for serving court documents. Read more below to learn more about a server of the process.

If a copy of the legal papers can’t be delivered to the named defendant,
a summons may be served by leaving a copy with a competent person in the household, place of work, or business – even if they are not a party to the action.

Can you refuse to be served papers?

No, in California, a person cannot refuse to accept service. If he avoids the process server altogether, he/she is risking the court may enter a default judgment.

What’s is a process server?

A service of process, or simply known as process service, is a legal procedure in the United States, which declares all parties must be notified when facing legal action against them in a court of law or an administrative court. Process service is accomplished through the delivery of a set or series of documents describing the legal action. Examples of documents that comprise service of process include summonses, complaints, subpoenas , writs, and other court documents. These documents are delivered to the individual whom the legal action is directed by a process server. Service of process must be served by an individual who is not a party to the case.

The Active Legal is an experienced process server in San Diego, and North County. We are committed to our clients by offering an array of legal services in a fast, accurate, and efficient manner.

02 Apr 2021

Small Claims Support in San Diego, CA

The Active Legal provides the support you need for filing a small claims suit in San Diego county.

Using The Active Legal is easy. Start by getting informed with some of the most common questions regarding Small Claims, see how much you can file a claim for and most importantly whether you have a basis for a small claim suit.

With our assistance, it’s easier than ever to get your money back!

Top Reasons To Use Small Claims

  • Security deposit
  • Car Accidents
  • Property Damage
  • Collection of money owed
  • Suing a collection agency
  • Creditors that pull your credit file without permissible purpose
  • Collection of money owed

Before going to small claims, it’s advisable that you try to resolve the matter formally through a demand letter or cease and desist letter.

Demand letters are legal documents sent between two parties when a wrong has occurred. Typically written by attorneys, demand letters request that the party that is receiving the letter right an injustice that has befallen the victim as a result of the receiver’s actions. Wrongs can include things like breach of contract, not following through with an obligation, being involved in a car accident, or any other offense that resulted in some sort of disadvantage or injury to another party. 

Writing out demand letters asking another party for restitution is what precedes an actual lawsuit. It’s essentially the step before you get to court, but after more amicable attempts have been made to recover compensation for damages. You can say they work as a warning or strong reminder – an attempt that one party makes to get paid by the other, before actually having to bring them to court. 

These letters are not a legally binding order against another party. Cease and desist letters, also, do not convey or hold jurisdiction for a lawsuit.

Small Claims Checklists for California!

  • What is the maximum amount you can sue for?

You can sue for up to $10,000, if you are an individual or a sole proprietor. Corporations and other entities are limited to $5,000. In addition, a party (individuals or corporations) can file no more than two claims exceeding $2,500 in any court throughout the State of California during a calendar year.

  • What’s the statue of Limitations for your case in California?

California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1 gives you two years, starting from the date of the underlying accident or incident, to file a civil lawsuit seeking a legal remedy (compensation) for “injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.”

  • What’s the statute of limitations in California with a written contract?

If the contract is written, the statute of limitations is four years under California Code of Civil Procedure section 337(a). If the contract is oral, however, the statute of limitations is only two years. That’s section 339(1) of the California Code of Civil Procedure.

  • What’s the statute of limitations in california Property Damage
The statute of limitations on property damage claims is three years in California. This means if you do not file a lawsuit within two years to recover compensation for your injuries, you still have additional time to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for property damage.
04 Aug 2020

Small Claims Court California

What is the maximum amount I can sue for in California?

The California small claims court limit is $7,500 for an individual and $5000 for a corporation. This means that the maximum you can sue for in Calfornia are these limits and if your dispute exceeds these amounts you cannot sue in small claims or will need to lower your claim or file in a higher court.

*Special Notes: A plaintiff may not file a claim over $2500 more than twice a year and the plaintiff must be an individual (limit local public entity or for businesses is $5000)

What is the California small claims court statute of limitations?

The California small claims court statute of limitations depends on each claim. If you have a written contract you have 4 years to make a claim. If your claim involves property damage you have 3 years, and if the claim is oral or dealing with personal injury the statute of limitations in California is 2 years.

Where do I file my small claims case?

You need to file your small claims complaint where the defendant resides or in contract disputes, in the locale where the contract was signed. The appropriate courthouse may NOT be where you live.

How do I know if I should sue in California small claims court?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is “do I have case?” Before you file a claim you should consider the following:

  1. Is the amount of the claim worth your time to pursue?
  2. Does the person you have a claim against having any possible claim against you?
  3. Does the person you have a claim against have the ability to pay if you win?
  4. Do you feel you have the ability to prosecute the claim without the help of an attorney?
  5. Can your evidence convince a judge that you are in the right? In other words, are you making it easy for them, is it a clear cut case? Can you find any state statute, law, or code violation to validate your case? If so, point this out!

What kind of cases can I sue for in California small claims court?

These types of cases are generally heard in Small Claims courts:

  • Unpaid debts
  • Breach of a verbal or written contract
  • Back rent
  • Return of security deposit
  • Broken or damaged property
  • A doctor or hospital bills
  • Other issues valued at $5000 or less (check your state below as this varies state to state)

Can I sue on behalf of someone else?

In most states an individual who represents a party to a small claims court action must complete and sign an “Authorization to Appear on Behalf of Party”- a form typically provided by the clerk of the small claims court or often found on their website. The representative must state that he/she is authorized to represent the party, and he/she must describe the basis for authorization (usually a letter from the represented party will suffice.)

What is the demand letter?

Before you file a small claims complaint with the court you are required to send a demand letter to the defendant. The defendant is the person you believe owes you money. A demand letter simply spells out that the defendant owes you money and you are requesting they pay the outstanding debt to you within 30 days. You can also fulfill the demand requirement by requesting via phone, email, or in person. By fulfilling this requirement in writing you are also able to show this request was made when compiling your evidence for court.

What do I do once I file a complaint?

Once you file a complaint you need to wait for the defendant to be served and for the paperwork to be filed with the courts. The time for you to get a court date can vary from court to court as it depends on how backed up they are. Typically this can be a 2-month process.

What happens if the defendant does not show?

can If the defendant does not show up the court can decide the case without them there. It is also possible for the other side to lose the case by default and a default judgment can be issued against them.

What happens if I win?

If you win you are entitled to the amount granted by the judge. The defendant does have 30 days to file an appeal. If there is no appeal, the losing party may voluntarily pay. It may become necessary to get the court to award judgment, garnish wages, or other necessary means.

What happens if I lose?

If you lose you may have to pay the other sides costs and expenses (not including lawyers fees.)

How long does it take to learn if I win or lose?

The decision by the judge or arbitrator can vary from court to court. In some instances, you may get your decision by the end of the hearing. Often you will get your decision sent to you by mail.

How do I present evidence in a small claims case?

Presenting evidence is very important in proving your case to the judge or arbitrator. You want to make your case as simple as possible and clear that you are in the right. Speaking as little as possible is generally preferred. Make sure you have you any documents, contracts, emails, pictures and any other necessary evidence to back up your case.

Is an attorney allowed in small claims court?

No attorney is not allowed in small claims court with you. The only was an attorney is allowed is if you are an attorney and you are representing yourself.

Simple things the Plaintiff needs to know!

  1. You are the Plaintiff, the person you are suing is the defendant!
  2. Keep copies of all your forms for court.
  3. Make sure you have all the dates of when the incident occurred. If you don’t have the date, give a period of time.
  4. How did you calculate what you believe is owed to you? Be specific!
  5. Make sure you send a demand letter first. Click here if you need help with this!
  6. You must file in the right jurisdiction! This is either where the defendant lives or does business, the plaintiff’s property was damaged or where you were injured, or where the contract (written or spoken) was made, signed, performed, or broken by the defendant or where the defendant lived or did business when the defendant made the contract.

Simple things the Defendant needs to know!

  1. You don’t need to file any papers for court unless the jurisdiction is incorrect. If you think the court is wrong you can send a letter to the court before the trial date asking the court to dismiss the claim.
  2. If you lose the case you can appeal it for a fee.
  3. You CAN settle the case before the trial. For information on settling your case click here.
  4. Try and win your case! Bring any information such as witnesses, receipts, and any evidence to prove your case.
  5. You can sue the person suing you but look closely at the filing deadlines!
  6. Be careful of defaulting! If you don’t settle and do not go to trial the judge may just award the plaintiff what they are requesting plus court costs. If this happens the plaintiff can legally take your money, wages, and property to pay the judgment!


What if I need more time?

You can change the trial date if:

  1. You cannot go to court on the scheduled date (you will have to pay a fee to postpone the trial) or
  2. You did not get served at least 15 days before trial (or 20 days if you live outside the country) or
  3. You need more time to get an interpreter. One postponement is allowed, and you will not have to pay a fee to delay the trial.
01 Jul 2020

Filing Fees, Court Papers, and Court Dates

Filing Fees, Court Papers, and Court Dates

How Much Does It Cost?

Fees for filing a case in small claims court are very moderate—usually not much more than $75. In some states, people with very low incomes can ask to have court filing fees waived. Normally, a defendant doesn’t have to pay anything unless the defendant files a claim against the plaintiff (often called a counterclaim). There is usually an additional fee for serving papers on the opposing party, unless you are in a state that allows personal service to be carried out by a nonprofessional process server and you have a friend who will do it for you without charge. Most states allow service by certified or registered mail, which doesn’t cost much. In a few situations, you may have to hire a professional process server. How much this costs will depend partly on how hard it is to find the person you need to serve. You can get your filing fees and service costs added to the court judgment if you win.

Filing Your Lawsuit

Now let’s look at how you obtain and fill out the papers you need to start your lawsuit. To get started, check your state’s small claims court information website. You should be able to get the information and forms you need to begin your lawsuit online, including a formal demand letter. If you get the forms from your state’s website, you will also need to check whether the county or court where you plan to file has additional forms or requirements for filing a small claims court action (some do). You can also visit or call the small claims court where you plan to file your lawsuit.

To start your case, you will have to file a complaint or claim. This form is often called a plaintiff’s statement, general claim, or plaintiff’s claim. Most states have forms and free self-help information on their small claims court website. You can also get the forms from the court where you will be filing your lawsuit. If you do it this way, you will likely receive a package with all the forms you need and instructions for filling out the forms and filing your papers.

In most cases, you will need to provide the following information to

complete your complaint or claim:

• your full name, address, and telephone number

• the correct name and address of the person or persons you are suing (including whether this is an individual, partnership, sole proprietor, limited liability company, or corporation)

• the amount of your claim

• the reason the defendant owes you money, and

• whether you have any other claims against that person or other small claims cases.

Other information may be required as well. Follow the instructions on your forms and if you still have questions, ask your local small claims court clerk for help. In most states, small claims clerks are required to help people fill out these forms.

You will need to check the rules of the court where you are filing your case and follow those procedures for filing your papers and paying your filing fee. In most jurisdictions, you can file your papers in person or by mail. You’ll need to file the original signed document and required number of copies with the court. Some courts allow electronic filing (eFiling) for small claims cases, either by the plaintiff directly or through an approved online service provider; eFiling is becoming more widely used for small claims and is even required in some jurisdictions. Be sure to check and follow the rules for the court where you plan to file your case.

You will also need to pay the court a filing fee. If you can’t afford the fee, you may be able to have it waived. Check with your local court for rules on waiving this fee.

In most small claims courts, you don’t need to provide written evidence until you get to court. Some small claims courts, however—such as those in Washington, DC—require that certain types of evidence (such as copies of unpaid bills, contracts, or other documents on which the claim is based) be provided at the time you file your first papers.

Whether or not your state’s rules require written documentation of certain types of claims, it is wise to spend a little time thinking about how you will prove your case. You should read ahead and figure out exactly what proof you will need and how you will present it before you file your first court papers. Being right is one thing—proving it is another.

The Defendant’s Forms

In most states, a defendant doesn’t have to file any papers to defend a case in small claims court unless the defendant wants the case transferred to formal court. However, in a few states, a defendant must respond in writing. (See the appendix for your state’s rules.) In the majority of states, defendants simply show up for the hearing on the date and at the time indicated on the papers served on them, ready to tell their side of the story. (If you need to get the hearing delayed, see “Your Court Date,” below.) It is proper, and advisable, for a defendant to call or write the plaintiff and see whether a fair settlement can be reached without going to court, or to propose mediation.

Sometimes a party you planned to sue sues you first (for example, over a traffic accident where you each believe the other is at fault). As long as your grievance stems from the same incident, you can file a defendant’s claim (sometimes called a counterclaim) for up to the small claims court maximum and have it heard by a judge at the same time that the plaintiff’s claim against you is considered. However, if you believe that the plaintiff owes you money as the result of a different injury or breach of contract, you may have to file your own separate case.

In all states you must file any defendant’s claim (counterclaim) in writing within a certain time period after being served with the plaintiff’s claim (usually ten to 30 days). When you file a defendant’s claim, you become a plaintiff as far as this claim is concerned. In those states where only the defendant can appeal, this means that if you lose your defendant’s claim, you can’t appeal that part of the case. Of course, even in these states, if you lose on the original plaintiff’s claim, you can normally appeal that portion of the judgment. Appeal rules vary from state to state and can be complicated. 

In most states, if a defendant’s claim is for more than the small claims maximum, the case will be transferred to a formal court. Some states allow transfers only at the discretion of a judge, who may inquire whether the defendant’s claim is made in good faith. A defendant who does not want to cope with the procedures of formal court may be wise to scale down the claim to fit under the small claims limit. 

20 Nov 2018

Guide on how to file a Small Claim and win

Guide on how to file a Small Claim and win

If you are thinking of the low hassle way of taking up legal action of small sums between $5,000 and $10,000 against an individual or a firm, the small claims court is the way to go. This threshold varies by state. But you have to be careful and be confident you have a case before going to the small claims court. The essence of a small claims court is to make it easy for everyone and to avoid expensive and lengthy lawsuits. On the day of the hearing, all you have to do is go to the court with your evidence. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to a lawyer but some states demands that you come alone. The small claims court is a cost-effective and easy process.

If you are stuck with a builder who messed up your bathroom, or you bought something, and the shop refuses to make a refund, here’s a guide to help you on how to leverage the small claims court.

File a Complaint

You will have to file a complaint with your county. Speak to the clerk of your county’s court, many courts have documents where you fill out the information regarding your specific case – most times, a summons for the other party and a complaint which is you. Usually, you will have to pay for the filing of your case. The firm or individual being sued must receive a copy of the lawsuit in other to defend themselves.

Preparing your case

It doesn’t matter whether you are the plaintiff or defendant in a small claims court, it is important that you show up in court so that your side of the case can be heard. If you are absent, it is most likely that the judge will not rule in your favor. Ensure to come with supporting documents and witnesses on the case. This can determine the success or failure of the lawsuit

How to comport yourself and dress in court

When going to a court, you must recognize that how you dress and your behavior in general can affect your lawsuit. Be respectful. If you do not agree with the judge or the other party, do not interrupt them. Be audible when answering questions – don’t shake or nod your head. If you are getting angry or irritated at the way the process is going, pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Lastly, dress correctly – no shorts, t-shirt or sneakers.

Collecting your money after winning

Losing in a small claims court is not the end of the road, you can file an appeal if you are the defendant, but if you are the plaintiff, the case is simply over. But before you do this, you must have fresh evidence or new information that backups your appeal that the judge ruled the case in error. With this, you can find yourself winning the case. When you do, you need to collect the money from the other party who will definitely not want to pay you. You can ask for a lien or garnishment against the other party’s property. This, you have to do yourself, but the court can assist by giving you an order of authorization for this collection.

Brace Yourself

When someone takes you to court or vice versa, there are expectations of how you hope the process turns out. In a court case, there’s no such thing as a good case because anything can happen. The small claims court is not designed to punish people or prove points. It is basically about who owes what and to whom? Be realistic with your expectations and brace yourself for anything. It will help you manage your emotions during the process.

Small claims court is a good and cost-effective way of resolving other suits or small collections without necessarily needing an attorney. They are a great place to seek legal solutions to problems.

07 Aug 2018

Suing in California Small Claims Court

Suing in California Small Claims Court

What is Small Claims?

Small claims court is a useful and widely used legal tool by individuals, small companies and even corporations that need to resolve their disputes quickly and inexpensively, without the need to hire an attorney.

They are not very formal proceedings, both parties in litigation present their evidence and arguments directly to the judge. The judge then renders a verdict after hearing both sides of the case.

What Kinds of Cases Can I Bring in Small Claims Court?

Small claims courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, you can only bring some specific types of cases, for example:

  • Civil cases that don’t involve more than $10,000.
  • Contract disputes
  • Personal injury claims
  • Cases involving damages to your personal property

Keep in mind that small claim courts are not the right place to argue with your ex-spouse regarding child support, visitation, spousal support or probate cases.

Can I Hire a Lawyer?

Many states do not allow parties to be represented by lawyers in small claims court however you are allowed and we encourage you to talk with an attorney relating the type of case you are going to be bringing to court, that way you are well prepared to handle the case. Here at The Active Legal we can help you prepare, file and prepare your small claims case.

What Happens When I File My Lawsuit?

When you file your small claims lawsuit, the court will notify the opposing party by issuing a summons to appear in court. You will then have to attend court to prove your case. Many states, such as California, provide mediators to help the parties make one last effort at resolving their disputes before taking the case to the judge.

What Should I Bring to Court?

When your court date arrives, you should bring with you anything that will help prove your case or defend against the claims of the opposing party. This could include copies of contracts you signed with the opposing party, receipts for disputed purchases, or photos of injuries or damage caused by the opposing party. You should also bring with you any witnesses whom you wish to testify on your behalf. If a witness refuses to attend, you should speak to the court clerk about issuing a subpoena to require the witness to attend.

What if the Other Party Doesn’t Show?

If a party does not appear on the court date, the court most likely will enter a default judgment against the absent party. The party that did show can then have that judgment enforced in court. In rare cases, the court may postpone the case if the other party was absent due to an actual emergency, such as a medical emergency or a car accident, but the judge usually has total discretion over whether to do so.

Can I Appeal a Small Claims Judgment?

Most states have some way to appeal a small claim’s verdict, but the process and the parties’ rights to an appeal vary from state to state. Many states put strict time limits on filing appeals, and some states allow small claims cases to be appealed to different courts, such as the superior or district court for the jurisdiction. Litigants wishing to appeal a small claims case should consult their state’s laws to determine what rights they have to an appeal if any.

Statutes of Limitation

In many states, the time limit on filing, otherwise known as the statute of limitations, will depend on the type of claim. In California, for example, you have 4 years to make a claim on a written contract, and 3 years to file for property damage. The statute of limitations on oral contracts and personal injury is a little shorter, you only have time within 2 years.