What Documents are typically filed to begin a civil lawsuit in California State Court?

Lisa Sherman
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California Labor & Employment Attorney

Generally, the initial filing of a lawsuit requires the filing of a complaint along with a summons or petition, a civil case cover sheet and civil case cover sheet addendum and statement of location. The complaint lists and describes the alleged unlawful acts by the defendant, the effects, and remedies sought.  Unless it is signed by the plaintiff under penalty of perjury, the complaint is “unverified.” The civil case cover sheet identifies the type of civil case and primary cause of action.  The civil case cover sheet addendum and statement of location is used to confirm that the case is filed in the proper courthouse. The summons notifies a defendant that an action has been instituted against him/her/it and an appearance in response to the complaint must be made prior to a specified date.

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