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Small Claims Court

What is an SC 120 Form?

Updated December 5th 2022

3 min read

You can file a lawsuit against the person who initially sued you. This is called a countersuit and the SC120 helps.

What is an SC 120 Form?

What is an SC 120 Form?

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Trey Salm

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Say someone in Small Claims court is suing you, but in fact, it's you who are owed money. What can you do about that? Well, a countersuit can be an effective way to inform the other party legally they have outstanding debts as well as get this debt owed court enforced.

One sure way to get a countersuit going in California Small Claims is to file the SC120 Form.

What is an SC 120 form?

An SC 120 Form is titled by the state of California as the "Defendant’s Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court" form. This form helps you file a countersuit against someone who is suing you in small claims court. If you do this with enough time, both cases will be heard at the hearing.

How to File an SC 120 Form?

To sue the plaintiff back, follow these steps to file the SC 120:

  • Fill out your court forms
    • Defendant's Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court (SC-120).
    • If there are more than two plaintiffs or two defendants, also fill out Other Plaintiffs or Defendants (Attachment to Defendant's Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court) (SC-120A).
    • If you need more space to describe your claim and what happened, or you need witness statements, you can use a Declaration (MC-030).
    • If you are a business, you may also have to fill out a Fictitious Business Name (SC-103) declaration.
  • File your Defendant's Claim (SC-120)
    • Make at least 2 copies of the Defendant's Claim (SC-120) and any attachments.
    • Turn the original and copies into the Clerk's Office
    • Pay the filing fee.
    • The court clerk will return the copies of the Defendant's Claim (SC-120) stamped "Endorsed-Filed" and with the same court date as was on the Plaintiff's Claim written on the front. That is your court trial.
  • Serve Your Defendant's Claim
    • "Service" is the legal way to give notice to someone in a court action. It is when someone- NOT you or anyone else listed in this case -gives a copy of your court papers to the person, business, or public entity you are filing a Defendant's Claim against. The plaintiff had to serve you with the Plaintiff's Claim. Now you must do it too with the Defendant's Claim.

The deadline you have to serve your Defendant's Claim (SC-120) depends on when you were served with the Plaintiff's Claim (SC-100):

  • If you received a copy of the Plaintiff's Claim more than ten days before the trial date, you must serve the plaintiff at least five days before the trial.
  • If you received a copy of the Plaintiff's Claim ten days or less before the trial date, you have to serve the plaintiff at least one day before the trial.

You can download a copy of the form on the state's website.

If you have any questions about filing this form, or need assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us. Remember, Dispute can help you file most legal documents within 5 minutes from your phone or computer.

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