Since you obtained a default judgment, you cannot reclassify the case to unlimited jurisdiction without starting over. A defaulting defendant in limited jurisdiction (up to $10,000.00) is consenting to judgment up to that amount; not a greater amount.
You cannot reclassify to unlimited jurisdiction because the default judgment is limited to $10,000. That amount, however, does not include costs.
The costs would be filing fees, fees for service of process, etc. They could also include attorney fees if the rental agreement provides for them. However, an award of attorney fees may be made only on a noticed motion or on entry of a default judgment by court.
A plaintiff who recovers possession may also recover eviction expenses by filing a supplemental cost memorandum.
I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference
Reclassification only applies when a party desires to change a limited jurisdiction case to an unlimited jurisdiction case. If you are seeking a money judgment over $10,000 but less than $25,000, the unlawful detainer action is still a limited jurisdiction action and does not require reclassification.
Due process requires that the maximum amount you can recover in a default judgment in a limited jurisdiction case is whatever is set forth in the prayer for damages, but in no event, more than $25,000.
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.