Who has the Right to Appeal in California Small Claims?
A Plaintiff may NOT appeal a claim against them. The Plaintiff agreed to this when the filed the lawsuit (see fine print over signature line on From SC-100.) However, if they are sued, they may appeal the suit against them (CCP 116.710).
Moreover, if the plaintiff is sued and loses, ALL CLAIMS ARE RETRIED on appeal (CCP 116.770(d); Linton v. Superior Court (1997) 53 Cal. App 4th 1097.)
Can a Defendant Default AND Appeal?
No. The law requires that the Defendant that did not show (for any reason,) up file a Motion to Vacate FIRSLT!!! (CCP 116.710(d), 116.730, 116.740) The law requires, even if the defendant was not properly served, that a Motion to Vacate be filed first. If the motion is denied, the Defendant has 10 days to file an appeal of the denial of the Motion To Vacate. (CCP 116.730(e),(f).)
If the motion is granted, the original judgment is vacated or deleted, and a new trial is granted. It may occur on the spot or a new hearing will be set.
On an appeal from a denial of a Motion To Vacate, the ONLY issue before the court is if the Motion To Vacate should be overturned. Do NOT permit the court to hear what the case was originally about. HOWEVER, if the court determines that the ruling should have been vacated, the court can order that the case be tried on the spot (CCP 116.730(e).)
What is the time limit to file an appeal in California Small Claims?
The appeal must be filed no later than 30 days after the court mails a copy of the ruling to each party. (CCP 116.750(b).) Further, if the appeal is filed after the 30 day period, it is ineffective, for any purpose. (CCP 116.750(b).)
There is no penalty for waiting the 30 day time frame. Further, if the appeal is filed on the 30th day, any additional penalties that may apply for a bad faith appeal (see generally CCP 116.780) will not necessarily be awarded because the appeal was filed on the 30th day.
NOTE: the filing of an appeal after a denial of a Motion To Vacate MUST be done in 10 days of the court mailing the ruling. (CCP 116.730(e).)
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