How To File A Civil Lawsuit In California

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Thank you for visiting  On this page, we will cover the basics of how to file a civil lawsuit in California Superior Court (California’s general civil court).  As you will see, the basics of filing a lawsuit in California are not nearly as complicated as they first seem.  

How to File a Civil Lawsuit in California

As with most other states, filing a Civil Complaint is the first step to beginning a civil lawsuit in California.  This is the document in which you lay out the allegations against the defendant and allege how you have been harmed.  Keep in mind that you do not need to try and prove your allegations in the complaint.  You are only alleging what happened.  Of course, to ultimately prevail at trial, you will definitely need to offer evidence that supports the claims you initially make in your complaint.

However, simply alleging that you have been harmed is not quite enough.  You must allege a type of harm that California specifically recognizes as a recoverable claim for relief.  Some examples of common civil claims for relief in California are:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Negligence
  • Unpaid Wages
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Race/Sex Discrimination
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Battery
  • Trespass
  • Nuisance
  • Defamation (slander/libel)

You can research the specific facts (elements) of each claim that need to be alleged in a complaint at your local library.  Once the elements of a claim are known, they need to be written up in the proper format.  

If your complaint is not formatted correctly, it may be rejected by the court clerk! is the only website that offers state-specific form templates for filing a civil lawsuit.  Most other websites sell overpriced, poor quality, generic forms that are NOT in compliance with state court rules. 

Most complaints in California have the following format:

  1. Heading with basic information about the case.
  2. A designation of whether or not the civil case is ‘limited’ or ‘unlimited’.
  3. Statement of jurisdiction.
  4. ‘Factual Allegations’, wherein the plaintiff alleges all the facts that constitute the elements of their claim.
  5. ‘Causes of Action’ where the plaintiff states how the allegations, if proven, will constitute a legally cognizable claim (such as negligence, or battery).
  6. ‘Prayer for Relief’, where the plaintiff asks the court to award a specific remedy, such as economic or non-economic damages.

Once the complaint has been drafted in the proper style and format, you will need to file it at the appropriate courthouse and pay the applicable filing fee.  It will then need to be served on the defendant. 

California Civil Lawsuit Forms

Our California Civil Complaint form packet includes more detailed instructions, as well as templates and samples that are already formatted for California courts.  It will show you how to file your civil lawsuit and write your complaint without an attorney.  It is a 100% digital download (an email with a download link will be sent to you shortly after your purchase) and includes the following:

  • A fully editable MS Word form template for writing out your civil claims and filing your complaint in California Superior Court.
  • A PDF version of the civil complaint form that you can print and fill out by hand if you do not want to use the MS Word version of the form.
  • A PDF sample of a completely filled out civil complaint form.
  • A PDF of extra pleading pages in case you need more space when using the hand fill-able form.
  • Easy to follow instructions that will show you how to fill out, file, and serve your civil lawsuit forms without an attorney.

All form packets are 20% off for a limited time.  Click here to start your lawsuit today!