Civil litigation has been described as “everything but civil.” When two or more parties have a dispute that they cannot resolve, it is time to turn to the courts for relief.
Our firm is highly experienced in all aspects of business litigation. If your dispute exceeds the dollar jurisdiction of Small Claims Court ($10,0000, or $5,000 if you are a plaintiff corporation), you need a business law firm to represent you and your business.
If your dispute exceeds the above dollar limitations of Small Claims Court, or if you seek certain other types of relief or damages (equitable relief, attorney fees, etc.), you’ll be in Superior Court. Each of California’s 58 counties has its own court system, although most of their rules and forms have been standardized in recent years. Within Superior Court, civil litigation cases are filed as either Limited jurisdiction or Unlimited jurisdiction. “Limited” means an amount in dispute of $25,000 or less; “Unlimited” means more than $25,000. Either way, you’re in the same courthouse, except that the Limited cases have more streamlined rules. Cases are required to be given a trial date within one year of filing of the Complaint, although recent budget cuts are pushing trials back a bit.
In some circumstances, your case may be in the federal courts. If your subject matter involves certain federal issues, such as trademarks or copyright, federal court is usually the best forum. If all parties to an action are from different states, and the amount of their dispute exceeds $75,000, federal courts can have jurisdiction based on a term known as “diversity”. The federal trial court is called a District Court, and there are four federal judicial districts within California. The court covering the greater Los Angeles area is known as the United States District Court for the Central District of California (yes, that is a mouthful).
Our firm is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts within California. If you or your business has received a Summons and Complaint in any California court, you may fax or email it to us for a complimentary review of your options.
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