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Small Claims outcome never returned to me after almost a month.

Walnut Creek, CA |

I filed a countersuit against the plaintiff and even had my process server show up to testify that that person got served. The plaintiff didn't even show up. That was more than three weeks ago. I have yet to receive a notice of any sort of decision in the mail. What do I do now? I have more outstanding litigation between this person related to a UD and also, they induced someone else to file a TRO against me (I am also evicting this person), and that has to be decided at a later date also. Is it possible that the judge is trying to determine facts based on outcomes of other cases, or what?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. No the judge is not to consider evidence outside of what was submitted/heard in court. If the other side did not appear, I wonder why the judge did not just issue a default judgment in your favor at trial? I would go down to small claims and ask to see the file and inquire as to the delay? There is a deadline by which the judgment must be issued, so ask the clerk about that as well?

    Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.


  2. The result on your counterclaim would not depend on any other case outcome, particularly if your opponent didn't show up for the hearing. On the other hand, with you not being a lawyer and not understanding civil procedure, you may have overlooked asking the hearing judge to enter an award on your counterclaim. The words you use may not be fully descriptive of what went on at the hearing. You say "countersuit". Do you mean counterclaim in the plaintiff's suit, or do you really mean a separate suit? What did you ask the judge to do? Did you prove any damages?
    Mr. Buzunis is right. You should go to the court and check the record. Three weeks, by the way, is not necessarily out of the ordinary. It depends on the judge. You may get a result in the mail tomorrow or next week. That is why appeal periods run from notice of decision, not from date of hearing.

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  3. If it’s been three weeks, the Judge would have made a decision by now; but it all depends on the Court. What I have observed is that there are usually Pro Tem Judge’s used for small claims court, but they would usually make a decision on each case at least 90% of the time after the issues were heard. It sounds as if it may have been mailed out, or the judge has put this file aside for the moment. You should call the court clerk and make inquiry regarding status. I think it would be inappropriate for the judge to hold off and wait for a decision from a different case before making a decision. He or she should only be allowed to consider whatever is presented at the time of a small claims hearing. In some Counties, they allow you to input your case number in their domain web to see the register of actions in your case. Check the Court’s website to see if this is an option for you.

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