The case filed in superior court with claims exceeded $10,000 and then the complaint was amended below said amount due to a demurrer. The counter-claim is slightly above $10,000 and defendant is willing to forfeit any counter claim above small claims limit.
No, a limited jurisdiction case cannot be reclassified as a small claims court case because it would take away the parties' rights to a jury and the right to be represented by counsel and the right to conduct discovery.
Where a claimant chooses to file a limited civil case, the Court cannot properly transfer the case to the small claims division. “Claims for $5,000 or less are within the concurrent jurisdiction of the small claims division and the superior court.” (Weil & Brown (2010) para. 3:54.3 (citing Code of Civil Procedure § 87(a) and Rosenberg v. Sup.Ct. (Cantu) (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 860, 867).
By filing a lawsuit in the Superior Court, the plaintiff has chosen to exercise his/her/its right to counsel –a right which would not be afforded to it had he/she/it opted to pursue its claim in the small claims division. (See Code of Civil Procedure section 116.530.) The Court cannot and will not take away that right, even if one of the parties cannot afford counsel.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
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