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Civil Lawsuits: Suing and Being Sued


The law library has many resources for people starting or responding to lawsuits.

Note: Most of the listed resources are for California state courts only. If you are dealing with a federal lawsuit, see our Federal Primary Law Guide. Your local federal court may have online information, a law library, or a clinic that can assist you. Find your local court at the United States Courts homepage.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

These organizations may provide assistance with some aspects of civil cases. Contact these organizations directly for more information about the services provided.

Sacramento County Public Law Library Civil Self-Help Center
609 9th Street, Sacramento 95814
http://www.saclaw.org/pages/civil-self-help-center.aspx
The Sacramento County Public Law Library Civil Self-Help Center provides general information and basic assistance to self-represented litigants on a variety of civil legal issues.

Sacramento Mediation Center   
http://www.sacmediation.org  916-441-7979
1418 20th Street, Suite #201, Sacramento, California 95811
Services provided: Conciliation and mediation services in neighborhood, landlord/tenant, real estate, family, commercial, organization, consumer/merchant, employer/employee, victim/offender and other disputes. Mediation services are not provided for physical or sexual assault cases.
Fee for service. Contact for pricing information.

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FORMS

The Judicial Council creates many of the forms needed for a civil lawsuit in California state courts. Sacramento County Superior Court also creates forms for use in this county specifically. For other situations, you may need to create your own forms. Our Research Guides & Step by Steps have instructions and samples for many commonly-used forms.

Judicial Council Forms (http://courts.ca.gov/forms.htm).
These mandatory forms can be filled out online.

Sacramento County Local Court Forms (http://saccourt.ca.gov/forms/forms.aspx).
These cannot be filled out online. You can print them out and complete them by hand.

Sacramento County Public Law Library has prepared forms for some common situations for which there is no Judicial Council or local form.

The Federal (United States District) Courts provide sample Federal Court forms for some situations:

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RESEARCH GUIDES AND STEP-BY-STEPS

The Law Librarians have created these research guides as an aid for those starting a legal research project. These guides recommend print and electronic resources that will help you find answers to your law-related questions. Guides marked "Step-by-Step"  provide step-by-step information, as well as sample forms, for common legal procedures. 

For Plaintiffs

For Defendants

Court Procedures

Miscellaneous

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ARTICLES

Everyday Law and Ask the County Law Librarian articles are written by Law Librarians on a variety of common legal issues.

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SELF-HELP VIDEOS

Videos from other libraries and courts:

  • "So You're Thinking of Filing a Lawsuit?" (San Mateo Self-Help Center)
  • "I Have a Case in Court, Now What?" (San Mateo Self-Help Center)
  • Going Into the Courtroom (California Courts) This clip identifies some of the people and features of every courtroom and how you can expect to interact with them during your trial.
  • How to Dress for Court (California Courts) Proper attire is important when appearing in court. This clip covers the elements of how to dress and present yourself for your hearing.
  • Evidence (California Courts) This video clip provides an overview of different types of how evidence functions in the courtroom.
  • Relevant Evidence (California Courts) This clip covers the basics of introducing and referring to evidence in court.
  • Resolving Your Debt Collection Case (English, Russian, Spanish) (California Courts) This video provides information about the options for resolving many types of debts, before or after a court action is filed.
  • Testimony (California Courts) This clip covers the basics of witness testimony in a court case
  • Objections (California Courts) This clip offers an overview of objections, including an explanation of how they work and descriptions of the different types of objections.

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PODCASTS

Hear our very own librarians share legal tips and news you can use on general interest topics.