Superior Court of California - County of Shasta








































Civil

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact the Civil Division?

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How do I obtain copies from a file?

To obtain copies of documents of Civil, Juvenile, Family Law, Family Support, Adoptions, Small Claims, Unlawful Detainer, Probate, Civil and Criminal Appeals filed in this Court you may contact the Civil Division by mail or telephone to request copies. If the file is immediately available, you can pick up copies at the counter or by mail. If the file is an older file, it may take 24 hours to retrieve it from our archive building. There is a fee for copies and certified copies and you must send a self-stamped addressed envelope to the court. Please check the fee schedule for current fees.

 

What Is A Civil Case?

Civil Action

The filing of a complaint commences a Civil action. This is the means by which the Court acquires jurisdiction of the case and is the start of a case file. Some common types of actions are:

  • Unlawful Detainer Actions

    An Unlawful Detainer is a civil action in which a landlord/owner brings suit against a tenant to obtain a court order giving the holder of property the right to regain possession of the property from the tenant. Before the complaint is filed, the landlord/owner must serve a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit on the tenant. If the tenant refuses to comply with the notice, and does not either pay the rent or quit the premises, the landlord/owner may then file his/her Unlawful Detainer complaint.

    Click here for more information about Landlord/Tenant cases.

  • Conversion Actions

    The plaintiff claims the defendant has unlawfully taken possession of the plaintiff's personal property, and is suing for the return of the property.

  • Breach of Contract Actions

    The plaintiff and defendant have entered into an agreement ("contract"), and defendant fails to meet his obligation under the agreement. This failure may consist of a failure to provide goods and/or services, or a failure to pay for goods delivered or for services already rendered. The contract may be either written or verbal.

  • Tort - Personal Injury or Property Damage Actions

    The plaintiff has been injured, and sues the defendant, claiming that the defendant caused the plaintiff's injuries through negligence. The plaintiff's personal or real property has been damaged and the plaintiff sues the defendant, claiming that the defendant caused the damage through negligence.

  • Small Claims

    Small Claims courts hear matters where the dollar amount in dispute does not exceed $10,000 for natural persons, and $5,000 for businesses. Refer to the Small Claims Web page for more detail.

 

Who Can Assist With The Case?

Legal assistance is available from various agencies located throughout the County. Check the telephone directory under legal services or contact the California State Bar for lawyer referral. The California State Judicial Council also maintains a Self-Help Center Web page.

Self-Representation is an option (except in Small Claims cases where it is mandatory), but not recommended. Each step in preparing a case for trial can be technical and there are deadlines, which must be adhered to. Court staff cannot provide legal advice regarding your case or provide assistance as to the meaning or preparation of any forms.

Do not use unregistered legal assistants. Assisting someone without being a registered unlawful detainer assistant or an attorney is a crime.

 

Where Do I File My Complaint?

The following criteria are used to determine where a case should be filed:

  • The defendant lived within the judicial district at the commencement of the action.
  • The contract was entered into or to be performed in the judicial district.
  • The accident or injury (tort) occurred in the judicial district.
  • The real property in dispute is located in the judicial district.
 

What Is The Filing Fee?

For information on filing fees, click here to view the Fee Schedule.

 

What Can I Do If I Can't Afford To Pay The Filing Fee?

Fee Waivers are available for indigent plaintiffs and defendants. Fee waiver eligibility guidelines are listed on the Information Sheet on Waiver of Court Fees and Costs. To obtain a fee waiver, an Application of Waiver of Court Fees and Costs and the header section of an Order on Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs must be completed and submitted to the Clerk's Office for approval. Be prepared to provide proof of income to the Clerk. These forms are available at the California Judicial Council web site.

 

How Can I File By Fax?

The court does not accept direct fax filings. However, fax-filed paperwork may be submitted through a fax filing agency, and must comply with Local Rule 5.14.

 

What Documents Are Needed To Begin The Case?

Standard Forms To Begin The Case:

  • Court Forms

    Forms are available at the Clerk's Office for common proceedings. Judicial Council Forms are available on-line at the California Courts Forms Web page. If there is no pre-printed form provided by either the Judicial Council or this Court, the pleading must comply with CRC Rules 2.100 through 2.119.

  • Complaint

    The complaint is a document that lists and describes the alleged offenses committed by the defendant, the effects of the offenses and the desired conditions for the offenses to be corrected. There are many uniform complaint forms available at the Clerk’s Office.

  • Civil Case Cover Sheet

    This form is required and is used to compile statistical information.

  • Summons

    The summons notifies a defendant that an action has been instituted against him/her and that an appearance in response to the complaint must be made prior to a specified date.

 

How Can The Defendant Be Notified Of The Case?

A defendant is notified of a case by the serving of the summons. There are three types of service for civil hearings: Personal Delivery, Substitute Service, and Publication. Any person who is at least 18 years of age and not a party to the action can perform Service. For a fee, the Sheriff’s Department and private registered process serving businesses will serve the summons, complaint and other court documents. For the action to proceed, a Proof of Service of the Summons must be filed with the Court.

 

What Can Happen If The Defendant Does Not File A Response?

If the defendant fails to respond within the time required after service of the complaint, the plaintiff can request the court to enter a default and issue a default judgment. The clerk can review and enter defaults and default judgments in simple cases; more complex cases require a Court default judgment.

 

What Are Common Responses To A Complaint?

  • Demurrer

    A type of motion where the defendant asserts that a response is unnecessary due to a legal defect in the complaint.

  • Motion to Strike

    This motion is similar to a demurrer but is used to request the Court to strike (void) a document, or portion of a document, due to a defect within it.

  • Motion to Quash

    A request for the Court to quash (void) service of the summons and complaint. The motion is usually made on the grounds that the litigant is not under the jurisdiction of the Court.

  • Answer

    A response from the defendant setting forth the grounds of the defense to the allegations contained within the complaint or the response from the plaintiff setting forth the grounds of the defense to the allegations contained within the cross-complaint.

  • General Denial

    A response from the defendant denying all allegations contained within the complaint or the response from the plaintiff denying all allegations within the cross-complaint.

    If a defendant files any motion or demurrer, hearing date for that motion will be set prior to the trial process. Motions have a minimum 16 court day notice period to allow for the opposing side to prepare for the hearing.

    If the Defendant files an Answer or a General Denial the case must be set for trial. Arbitration/Mediation is required for all cases except the following:

    • Trials with a time estimate of less than one day.
    • Jury trials
    • Class action lawsuits
    • Actions that include a demand for equitable relief.
    • Actions entered into mediation by the parties.
 

What Can Happen If The Defendant Does Not Show Up For Trial?

The Court may grant a judgment for the plaintiff and/or impose sanctions upon the defendant.

 

What Happens If The Plaintiff Does Not Show Up For Trial Or Does Not Want To Pursue The Case?

The Court may make an order dismissing the case and/or imposing sanctions.

 

How Can The Judgment Creditor Collect On The Judgment And Additional Costs Incurred After Judgment?

The following are options:

  • Application and Order for Appearance and Examination

    A judgment creditor may request the court to assist in the enforcement of the judgment. The order for appearance mandates the judgment debtor, or a third person, to appear in court to answer questions concerning his/her assets, to aid in the enforcement of the money judgment or to answer questions regarding property or debts.

    To schedule an examination hearing, complete the header and bottom sections of the Application and Order for Appearance and Examination form and file in the Clerk’s Office with the filing fee. The clerk will complete the top portion of the Application and Order for Appearance, assign a hearing date and return the form to the creditor to serve on the person to be examined.

    If the judgment debtor does not show up for the hearing, a Bench Warrant may be issued.

  • Writ of Execution for Money

    A Writ of Execution for Money is a court order authorizing the sheriff or other officer of the law to carry out the Court’s decision to collect a money judgment.

  • Abstract of Judgment

    An Abstract of Judgment is a summary of the Court’s decision or award. Abstracts of Judgment are generally recorded with the County Recorder and act as a lien on property owned by the judgment debtor. The Abstract consists of two sections. The judgment creditor completes the upper and lower sections. The Clerk verifies and certifies the lower section. The Clerk issues the abstract but does not file papers with the County Recorder.

  • Memorandum of Costs After Judgment

    Costs incurred during the collection process such as fees for writs, abstracts, or Sheriff’s services may be added to an existing judgment using the Memorandum of Costs After Judgment form.

 

What Needs To Be Done When The Judgment Debtor Makes Payment?

The following are options:

  • Partial Satisfaction of Judgment

    It is important for the Court files to be current when accounting for the payment of judgments since post judgment orders, such as writs of enforcement, are entered for outstanding balances. Upon payment of any portion of a judgment, a Partial Satisfaction of Judgment must be filed with the Court.

  • Full Satisfaction

    It is required by law that the creditor file a satisfaction form with the Court upon full payment of a judgment. If this form is not filed, liens cannot be removed from a debtor's property and credit reporting agencies will continue to report outstanding judgment. Failure to file the form may subject the creditor to liability.

 

What Can Be Done If You Do Not Agree With The Judgment?

If you do not agree with the judgment you may file the following:

  • Motion to Vacate

    Parties who have had default judgments entered against them can make Motions to Vacate. If granted, the default judgment will be vacated and the matter will be reset for a trial.

  • Motion for a New Trial

    Motions for a new trial can be made under certain circumstances. This process begins by filing a Notice of Intention to Move for New Trial with the clerk and serving the same on the adverse party within 15 days from the date of mailing of the notice of entry of judgment. The Notice of Intention to Move for New Trial must state the grounds upon which the motion will be made. Within 10 days of filing the notice, the moving party must serve upon all other parties and file any affidavits intended to be used in support of the motion. The Court will set a hearing date for the motion. This hearing date must be within 60 days from the date of entry of judgment.

  • Notice of Appeal

    An appeal is not a re-trial. New testimony and exhibits are not allowed. An appeal should not be made simply because a party thinks that they should have been believed or their opponent disbelieved. It is beyond the scope of the appellate court to re-decide a case by re-weighing the existing evidence.

    Filing a Notice of Appeal does not stop the enforcement of a judgment. A plaintiff who has obtained a judgment may attempt to collect money or remove a tenant even though an appeal is filed

    The rules governing the appeals process are contained in the California Rules of Court (Rules 8.702 – 8.709 and 8.750 – 8.773. These rules should be read and followed exactly.

 
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