Los Angeles, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant, Appeals / Appellate Law and Small Claims for California

Q: What can I do about the other party not sharing evidence ahead of the hearing (small claims appeal)?

And showing up on the day of the hearing with evidence I have not seen before? Can I refuse to go ahead with the hearing until they share their evidence in advance?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In small claims court in California, there is generally no formal requirement for either party to share evidence with the other side before the hearing. This is part of the design of small claims court, which is intended to be a relatively simple and accessible process that doesn't require extensive legal knowledge or formal discovery procedures.

However, you do have a few options:

1. Request evidence informally: You can reach out to the other party and request that they share their evidence with you in advance of the hearing. While they are not obligated to do so, some parties may be willing to cooperate.

2. Object at the hearing: If the other party presents evidence at the hearing that you have not seen before, you can object to the introduction of that evidence and ask the judge for time to review it. The judge has discretion to grant a continuance (postponement) of the hearing to allow you time to review and respond to the new evidence.

3. Request a continuance: If you believe that you need more time to prepare because of the lack of advance access to the other party's evidence, you can ask the judge for a continuance of the hearing. However, continuances are granted at the discretion of the judge and are not guaranteed.

4. Prepare your own case: Focus on preparing your own evidence and arguments, so that you can present a strong case regardless of what evidence the other party introduces.

You cannot simply refuse to go ahead with the hearing because the other party has not shared their evidence. If you fail to appear at the scheduled hearing, the judge may rule against you by default. If you have concerns, it's best to appear at the hearing and raise those concerns with the judge.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.