California: I've filed a few Breach of Contract lawsuits in small claims and looking to file in Civil because of no limit on filings per year. Is the process similar? I physically show up, with my contract, failure to pay in payment history, and all pertinent data. Judge hears the case and support and makes the decision?
Also, I have many locations that these Contract Breaches occurred, I read about a "Motion to Consolidate", is that a great option so I don't have to drive all over California to so many courthouses? thank you.
2 Answers from Attorneys
No, the process is not similar, at least not as you describe it. Unlike Small Claims, which is very informal and really much more of an arbitration than a lawsuit, in Civil you will be subject to all the same rules, codes and case-law governing evidence and procedure as a lawyer, and will be expected to know and comply with them. That includes the pre-trial proceedings and discovery as well.
You also are confused about consolidation. Motions to consolidate are made to combine cases pending in the SAME county, involving the same parties, or some of the same parties and substantially the same issues and evidence. So, for example, if three subcontractors all sue to enforce a mechanics lien because the prime contractor has not paid them, and the owner counters that there are construction defects, that would be a perfect situation to consolidate all the subcontractors cases and the counter claims into one case. You can't consolidate cases with wholly different parties arising out of different unrelated contracts in multiple counties.
If you have that many of these you need to hire an attorney, Mr McCormick provides you spot on information