Change Your Claim or Court Date
How to Change Your Claim
After you file your Plaintiff's Claim (Form SC-100) you may realize you need to change something on the claim. You may need to:
- Change the name of the defendant;
- Change what you are asking for in the claim; or
- Remove one or more of the defendants from the claim.
Change the name of the defendant
- If your claim has not been served, go to the small claims court clerk and ask to amend (change) your claim. Take your original forms with you. After you file your "amended claim," serve it on the defendant.
- If your claim already has been served on any of the defendants, fill out a Request to Amend Claim Before Hearing (Small Claims) (Form SC-114) or write a letter to ask for permission to change your claim. File Form SC-114 or your letter with the court clerk.
- A copy of your Form SC-114 or letter must also be mailed or personally delivered to all of the other parties in your case.
- Another approach would be simply to ask the judge to amend the defendant's name at your hearing. (Read Code of Civil Procedure section 116.560(b) for the law.)
Change what you ask for in the claim
If your claim has not been served, go to the small claims court clerk and ask to have an "amendment" attached to your claim. Take your original forms with you.
If your claim already has been served on any of the defendants and you then make any changes, you must re-serve the defendant.
Remove 1 or more defendants from the claim
You got something called a "dismissal form" when you filed your claim. Use this form to say which defendants you do not want to sue anymore.
There are 2 types of dismissals:
- "Without Prejudice" – This means that you keep the right to file the claim against the dismissed defendant in the future.
- "With Prejudice" – This means that you cannot file the claim against the dismissed defendant in the future.
How to Change Your Court Date
If you want to change your court date, you must ask for a postponement (also called a "continuance").
To ask for a postponement at least 10 days before your trial:
- File a Request to Postpone Trial (Small Claims) (Form SC-150), OR
- Write a letter to the court explaining why you need to change your court date.
- Mail or personally give a copy of your Form SC-150 or letter to the other people named in the claim.
- You may have to pay a $10 filing fee to ask for the postponement.
If your trial is in less than 10 days:
- Take your completed Form SC-150 or letter to the clerk's office. Ask the clerk to attach it to your file. Or go to your trial and ask the judge for a postponement (or continuance).
- In your Form SC-150 or letter, give the judge a good reason why you are filing your request late.
- Also, mail or personally give a copy of your Form SC-150 or letter to the other people named in the claim.
- Pay a $10 filing fee.
After you request to postpone the trial
The court will mail you an Order on Request to Postpone Trial (Form SC-152) stating the court’s decision on your request or may use another type of similar notice.
If the court postpones the trial, it will give you the new court date on Form SC-152 or on a similar notice. The court will send this notice to you and all the defendants.
If the court does not postpone the trial, the trial will be on the date when it is currently scheduled. The court will let you know that your request was denied and why on Form SC-152 or other similar notice.
If you do not hear from the court, go to the court on the scheduled trial date.