California Civil Litigation Proceedings
and Civil Documents

Civil cases resolve private conflicts between people, businesses, and/or the government. When parties have a dispute that cannot be resolved, they often resort to filing a lawsuit to bring the disputed matter before an impartial third party. This process allows the parties to present their case to a judge or mediator who determines the facts of the case, determines the governing law, applies the law to the facts, and provides a judgment.

man holding gavel readied to hammer gavel base

Statute of limitations

Most cases have to be filed within the time limits set by law. These limits are known as statutes of limitations. The time limitations vary depending on the type of legal claim filed. If a person does not file a case within the time period set by law, he or she loses the right to file the legal claim. Understanding California’s statutes of limitations is critical. You should always consult an attorney regarding these matters to make sure you file your claim within the time allowed under California law. Here are some general tips:

  • If you are suing because you got hurt, you can file a claim for up to 2 years after you were hurt.
  • If you are suing because a spoken agreement was broken, you have 2 years to file after the agreement was broken.
  • If you are suing because a written agreement was broken, you have 4 years to file after the agreement was broken.
  • If you are suing because your property was damaged, you have 3 years to file after your property was damaged.

The Civil Process

In civil cases in which damage is done to a party, that party can claim money damages. However, in some instances, depending on the case, a party may ask for something other than money damages. For example, a person may ask the court to issue an injunction against another party which bars a person from doing a specific act. The court may issue a restraining order restricting a defendant’s actions until the case is resolved. For example, a person signs a contract to buy a house from the homeowner and the owner turns around and sells the house for a second time to another person. The first buyer may ask the court to restrain the seller from completing the sale to the second buyer until the case between the first buyer and the seller is resolved.
For information regarding the small claims process, click here. Limited civil cases and unlimited civil cases follow these general steps:

  1. Complaint filed. Summons issued by court.
  2. Summons and Complaint served on defendant
  3. Defendant files Answer to Complaint and/or Cross-complaint
  4. Discovery Phase
  5. Trial and Judgment

If the defendant fails to answer the complaint, the plaintiff can take the default of the defendant and proceed to obtain a Judgment. In this case, the discovery process is bypassed completely and a Judgment can be obtained fairly quickly.

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Due to the varying complexities of civil proceedings, many fees must be quoted on an individual basis based on the services required. All of our services are quoted on a FLAT FEE basis and DO NOT include any court filing fees or third party costs.

Civil Complaints and AnswersPrice
Small Claims Package
Includes preparation of claim, submission of documents to court, scheduling of hearing and arranging service of process
$200 plus $25 each defendant over 1
Civil Complaint
Limited with 1 cause of action
Each additional cause of action
$250
+$50
Response to unverified Civil Complaint with affirmative defenses$250
Response to verified Civil Complaint with affirmative defenses$350
Landlord Eviction/Unlawful Detainer Complaint for possession through Judgment$425
Tenant Answer to Unlawful Detainer Complaint with affirmative defenses$200
Other Civil and Misc. MattersPrice
Propounding Discovery
Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, Production of Documents
$250 up
Responding to Discovery
Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, Production of Documents
$250 up
Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment$375
Civil Restraining Order$400
Renew Judgment$325
California Sister State Judgment$300
Other Collection ProceedingsCall for quote
Expungement$250
Other ServicesCall for quote