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Can I claim "unclean hands" as an affirmative defense in my response to an SC-108 filing?

San Francisco, CA |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

The plaintiff is asking the court to cancel the judgment that he lost against me. However, the fact that he lost is based on his own violations of the law. He sued for breach of contract and property damage and lost because he did not perform the inspection at the end of my tenancy. Because he failed to perform the inspection (which violated the law), the court found that his claims of damage could not be substantiated. I want to use the doctrine of unclean hands on the SC-108 response because I don't think he should be trying to cancel a judgment for breach of contract when he himself performed unethically/illegally. Not only that, the law was applied correctly.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Yes, but for small claims court, you don't need to get legally technical. Just respond to the SC-108 with the facts and reasons why you believe the court ought to deny the plaintiff's request to vacate the judgment. Legalese is not necessary to get your point across/

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.


  2. While I cannot give you legal advice in this forum, I would suggest concentrating on making sure you properly present all the facts of the entire case in response to the SC-108. And, yes, you can plead unclean hands if you want to.

    THIS RESPONSE IS INTENDED TO CONVEY GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON OR TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. FURTHER, THIS RESPONSE IS NOT INTENDED TO AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

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