What can I do if I
lose a case because I could not show up at the trial?
Is there anything I
can do if my motion to vacate judgment was denied?
I won but the
defendant's name is spelled wrong; how can I correct it?
We both showed up at
the trial and I lost; what can I do now?
What happens to my
appeal after I file it?
Can I lose more on
appeal than the original judgment amount?
Can I add another
party or ask for more money when the defendant files an appeal?
Can an attorney
represent me on an appeal?
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Claims Advisory Main Page
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While a judicial officer has up to 90 days to enter a judgment, you will
normally get a decision in two or three weeks. Some judicial officers may
even enter a judgment on the day of the trial. If you do not hear from the
court in a couple of weeks, call the court clerk's office at (559)
582-1010 x 3074 to inquire.
judgment can be a straightforward money award. It can also contain two
alternatives, as in ordering the losing party to either do something or
pay the judgment amount (alternative equitable relief judgment). There can
also be a judgment that says that if the losing party does something the
judgment will not be entered against him/her, but if hw/she does not do
what he/she is ordered, then the judgment will automatically be entered
(conditional judgment). Another kind of a judgment is where the parties
agree what the judgment should be and how it should be carried out
If you were a plaintiff, then the court could reschedule the trial,
dismiss your case with prejudice (you cannot sue the same defendant again
for the same dispute), dismiss without prejudice (you can sue
again), or enter a default judgment against you.
If you were a defendant, the judicial officer will hear the case in your
absence provided the service of process was proper. The plaintiff will
still have to make his case but his evidence will not be disputed in your
absence so there will normally be a judgment against you.
Within 30 days from the date the court mailed you the judicial officer's
decision, the Notice of Entry of Judgment, you can file a Notice of Motion
Vacate Judgment and Declaration (Form SC-135). You will be assigned a
date and time for a hearing when you will have to convince a judicial
officer you had a good excuse for not showing up and that the default
judgment should be set aside. Any evidence, such as medical records,
should be brought to the hearing.
If you were never served with the legal process for the lawsuit, you have
180 days after learning about a judgment against you within which to file
Lastly, you can pay the judgment, allowed costs and accrued interest.
Only if you were a defendant whose motion to vacate was denied. Within 10
days of the date the court mailed you the judicial officer's decision
denying your motion, you must complete a
Notice of Appeal (Form SC-140),
send a copy to the plaintiff and file it with the court with a fee of $80.
On appeal, a superior court judicial officer will decide only the issue of
whether or not the judicial officer hearing your motion to vacate acted
properly in denying it. If you lose, then all your options have been
exhausted and the default judgment against you is final. If your appeal is
granted, then the default judgment is set aside.
Often, when both parties are present at the appeal and you win your
appeal, the judicial officer may conduct the original trial on the merits.
So, both parties are advised to appear at the appeals hearing prepared to
try the case.
You may file a Request or to
Correct or Vacate a Judgment (SC-108)
You have two options. You can either file an appeal if you qualify or file
a Request to
Correct or Vacate Judgment (Form SC-108).
Within 30 days from the date the court mailed you the Notice of Entry of
Judgment, you must fill out a
Notice of Appeal (SC-140), send a copy to
each party, then submit it to the court clerk's office with a fee of $80.
You can only appeal a small claims judgment if you lose a case filed
against you. That means only the defendant can file an appeal after losing
the plaintiff's case against him, and only the plaintiff can file an
appeal after losing the defendant's countersuit against her. When there
are multiple plaintiffs and/or defendants, all the parties and claims that
have not been dismissed at the time of the appeals filing will be involved
in the new trial at the appeal.
Either party may file a Request to
Correct or Vacate Judgment (SC-108) to
correct a clerical error in the judgment or to vacate a judgment that was
based on erroneous legal basis.
When you file an appeal, the small claims court sends the case file to the
civil division of the superior court. The court then sends the notice of
the appeals filing to each party. The court will then schedule a date and
notify each party.
The appeal is an entirely new trial and the superior court judicial
officer who hears the case will conduct the hearing all over again. All
the parties will then put on their presentation as they had done in the
original small claims trial.
If the small claims judicial officer awarded the plaintiff less money than
he/she asked for in his/her claim against you, the superior court judge on
your appeal may award him/her a larger judgment amount, up to the amount
he/she sued for in her original claim. Also, the superior court judicial
officer hearing the appeal may award reasonable attorney's fees and costs
actually incurred by the plaintiff, up to $150 each, against a defendant
who loses on an appeal. If the judicial officer finds that the losing
defendant filed the appeal without good faith belief in its merits but
only to delay payment or hurt the plaintiff, then he/she may award
attorney's fees up to $1,000 and costs up to $1,000.
No, the case is limited to the original claim you filed. Neither party can
amend the claim to add a new party or change the amount sued for. However,
because the superior court judicial officer considers the case anew,
he/she can award you more than what you received from the small claims
judicial officer if you had been awarded less than what you had originally
Yes, an attorney may represent a party on appeal. If you choose not to
have an attorney represent you, the general rule for self-representation
applies on appeal as it does in small claims hearings.
No. The decision from the superior court judicial officer who hears the
appeal is final.