Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

Cross complaint in civil vs small claims

We are being sued by a landlord in civil court for breach of contract, but we feel that they breached the contract first and we would like to file a cross complaint. I was told by a court clerk that we could file a cross complaint in small claims court rather than civil court, since the amount sought is less than $7500. I was told that the advantages of filing in small claims is that it is cheaper, there are no lawyers, and it is a little more tenant friendly. Are these advantages accurate? Can we file a cross complaint in small claims court? If we lose the civil court case, how would this affect our cross complaint if it was filed in small claims court?

Thank you for your help.

Asked on 6/26/09, 11:42 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Gibbs The Gibbs Law Firm, APC

Re: Cross complaint in civil vs small claims

If you filed suit in small claims court, its technically not a cross complaint, in that you will then have two separate lawsuits pending in two different courts. The landlord's suit in civil (superior) court will continue going forward independent of your suit. Yes, it is cheaper in Small Claims Court, however, you are already going to have to defend the civil suit, so consolidating the two into one action makes more sense in my mind.

*Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC's (the "Firm") participation in responding to questions posted herein does not constitute legal advice, nor legal representation of the person or entity posting a question. No Attorney/Client relationship is or shall be construed to be created hereby. The information provided is general and requires that the poster obtain specific legal advice from an attorney. The poster shall not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice nor as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

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Answered on 6/29/09, 12:35 pm

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