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LadyJustice, Attorney At Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed Attorney
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I won a judgement in small claims court California, and the Defendant has appealed the d

Resolved Question:

I won a judgement in small claims court California, and the Defendant has appealed the decision. My next court date is April, 20th.
What is my recourse and position for this new case?
Thank you,
Working Harder
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LadyJustice replied 5 years ago.

Hello and welcome to I am a licensed, practicing attorney. If I answer your question, please be fair and ACCEPT my answer. Thanks


An appeal is considered "de novo." That means that the parties must present their cases as if they were being presented for the first time. The defendant is entitled to a new hearing before a different judge of the superior court. The results of the first hearing, and the testimony and other evidence offered at that hearing, are not considered by the Appeals Court judge(s) who hears the appealed case.


In California, a defendant may appeal a small claims court decision to the Superior Court within 30 days and receive a new trial -- in which the judge addresses both the law and the facts of the case de novo.


The judge who hears the appeal conducts the re-hearing in the same informal way that cases are heard in small claims court. The judge who presides at the hearing on appeal allows both parties' attorneys to present evidence and examine witnesses under the judge's guidance and control.


At the close of the hearing, the judge issues a new judgment, and a new Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130) is delivered or mailed to both parties. If the judge awards costs to the prevailing party, the costs so awarded include those incurred by the prevailing party in both the small claims court and on appeal.


For good cause and where necessary to achieve substantial justice between the parties, the judge who hears an appeal may award reimbursement of the following expenses to a plaintiff who has prevailed at the hearings in both the small claims court and on appeal:

  • Attorney's fees actually and reasonably incurred in connection with the appeal, but not exceeding $150, and
  • Actual loss of earnings and expenses of transportation and lodging, to the extent actually and reasonably incurred in connection with the appeal, but not exceeding $150.

The court will make an award of expenses against a defendant who loses an appeal only if the court determines that the circumstances justify the award, and the award is necessary to achieve substantial justice between the parties.


If the judge who hears the appeal finds that the appeal was not based on substantial merit or good faith, but was intended solely to harass or delay the other party or encourage the other party to abandon his or her claim, the court also can award the other party a judgment against the appealing party for up to $1,000 for attorney's fees and up to $1,000 for transportation and lodging.


LadyJustice and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I understand all of the above explanations. However, I am torn as to what more to do to win the appeal. I had very good evidence the first time around. Nevertheless, I'm not sure what more I need to win the appeal. What do I need to do additionally that would prove my case beyond a doubt?
Expert:  LadyJustice replied 5 years ago.

You have to prove the defendant is responsible for the debt. Basically, the same proof you provided in the lower court. If you have a contract, produce the contract which shows the terms, conditions and duties of both parties. You must provide evidence, witnesses, affidavits, that show what the debtor was obligated to do/pay, how the amount of the debt was determined, what payments were made if any, how those payments were credited, what date the defendant defaulted on the loan, etc.


Obviously, you proved your case in the lower court, so the same evidence, witness testimony should be sufficient to also win in the appeals court.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do you suggest I obtain an attorney? How likely is it that I will win my case without one?
Expert:  LadyJustice replied 5 years ago.
I definitely recommend getting an attorney for any legal case, but that decision is a personal one and the answer is it depends on how much it will cost you to hire an attorney and if you're willing to take the risk that you may lose. Most attorneys charge anywhere from $200 up to $500.00 or more an hour, so that decision should be based on the cost to you. If you have a solid case and can prove it, you will have a good chance of winning at the appellate level, but if you have a weak case, it may be worth it to hire an attorney to defend the case. Since you won in the lower court, you most likely have a good chance of winning at the appellate level, unless the judges make some kind of error in the lower court or the defendant produces new evidence that wasn't considered in the lower court.