While it is not at all clear what "form" your wife signed (which could make a significant difference in your options), the general rule is that a plaintiff who lost a small claims court case because the plaintiff failed to appear for the trial can make a motion to vacate (cancel) the judgment. Use the following form:
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 Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
you're done. plaintiff has no right to appeal. you consented for your wife to appear for you
Responses to Avvo questions are based on a general discussion of the law and in no way constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created, and you should not take or fail to take actions based on my answers. Consult an attorney in your area. Time is often of the essence. Act quickly!
Unfortunately, your wife is able to, and did, appear on your behalf in the small claims case. That means that you did not "not appear" and therefore you have no basis at all on which to appeal. Your wife appeared for you both and you both lost. Your claim against the landlord is lost and cannot be appealed or re-filed in any venue (small claims or civil).
When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose.
Small claims court for neighbor disputes Landlord or tenant Renting a house or apartment Security deposits for renting Lease agreements for renting Breaking a lease agreement Landlord responsibilities Tenant rights Real estate Lawsuits and disputes Motions Appeals Case dismissed Small claims court