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Concerning civil cases; respondents are ordered by the court to adhere to the court request or instructions. The reason; there is a pending legal matter naming you as one of the parties. Normally the petitioner in the case has filed legal allegations including you; as a party defendant to the action.  Once a copy of your civil matter has been legally served upon you, it is your responsibility to follow through with the courts instructions. 

There is always a response date the court instructs that you must answer their request by. It is important that you respect the courts requests. You should always try your best to respond within an orderly and respectful manner. It is most important you answer the complaint within a timely fashion.

The worst thing you can add to your life is the worry that you may have to face possible civil or criminal charges for not cooperating with the courts orders. Also; just because you have been name the responder party in a civil case doesn’t mean you are not the one the court will award judgment. 


Let us say the petitioner hired you to perform housing contracting services. Now the petitioner discovers after the work is nearly complete; the task would complement the surroundings better if assembled a different way. In order for you to make the changes you will have to tear down work which has already been assembled. You discuss with your client that changing this original plan would cost additional fees than originally agreed.

The client refuses to agree to additional fees and you complete the work under the original design you both agreed upon. Okay; the work was completed and you were paid for your work. Now the client has you served; naming you defendant in a civil small claims case. They are alleging you did not provide the services they desired and charging you with unsatisfactory work and expect to be compensated.

This is a matter for the courts to decide. Whenever you have been ordered by the court to appear as respondents; does not mean you will be charge or held at fault. Just make sure you are present; and have your facts correctly. The court will render a fair and impartial decision. 

Another scenario would be if you would lose the small claims case and felt your facts to the case were considered unjustly; you have the right to appeal.  Under those circumstances you would become the appellee to the case in the appeals court.

California Process Servers

You will need the services of a process server to complete your preparation process on your appeals. Having everyone involved within the case made aware constitute the notification process completed. Only then you will be able to continue with your appeal process. With experience process servers it doesn’t matter whether you are a petitioner or respondent. Servers concerns are to provide the best service you as the responder request, and to protect their creditability within the industry.

Respondents Civil Court Case

Whenever you are a defendant involved within a civil court case; you may become somewhat nervous. This is normal for the general public. You should attempt to gather as much available information as possible. Search for information which pertains to your particular case. This way you will have an idea of how the court system works. You will always feel much better when you step into court having some knowledge of your particular circumstances. 

California Process Servers JSA
10950 Arrow Route 661
Rancho Cucamonga CA 91729

Direct: 909-472-9107
   Fax: 909-453-3277

View Sherman Peters's profile on LinkedIn

                                Jon Serve Associates

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