Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, October 2, 2002


Page 1


Los Angeles Superior Court Filing Fees to Top $200


By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer


The cost of filing a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court has jumped from $196 to $214.50 and will go even higher next year under bills signed by Gov. Gray Davis in the last-minute rush before Monday’s legislation deadline.

Davis late Monday signed Assembly Bill 3000, a budget trailer that among other things imposes a 10 percent surcharge on a host of court filing fees, including initial filings. For general jurisdiction complaints, that comes to $18.50.

Those increases are immediate, and sunset in July 2007.

The 10 percent comes on top of a new $10 surcharge on complaints and other initial filings imposed by Senate Bill 1732, the landmark court facilities measure that transfers responsibility for trial court buildings from the counties to the state. That extra fee takes effect Jan. 1, and will go up to $15 the following year.

SB 1732’s biggest impact is on limited jurisdiction cases-—those lawsuits that formerly would have been handled by municipal courts. First-paper filings in limited cases will jump by $18 on Jan. 1, then by another $7 in 2008. There is no sunset for the limited jurisdiction surcharge.

The Los Angeles Superior Court already imposed higher fees than most other trial courts around the state, due to a variety of local fees and surcharges. The court most recently raised fees by $2 in June at the behest of the county Board of Supervisors to fund children’s waiting rooms in six courthouses.

The two fee-increase measures, absent further state or local adjustments, will raise the cost of filing a lawsuit in Los Angeles County to at least $225 Jan. 1.

Superior Court spokesman Kyle Christopherson said the court was not prepared to specify how much it will cost to file suit in January, but confirmed that a new fee schedule that includes the SB 3000 surcharge took effect Monday. A copy of that schedule is included on page four.

Los Angeles County Bar Association Litigation Section Chair Gretchen Nelson, a Los Angeles sole practitioner, said she believed lawyers would take the fee increases philosophically.

“It seems that everything is going up,” Nelson said. “I suppose we should have anticipated this. Most lawyers will take it in stride.”

Other bills Davis signed in the last hours for new legislation were:

Senate Bill 1396, which requires each of California’s trial courts to prepare and implement a court security plan and requires the Judicial Council to adopt a rule establishing a working group on court security;

Assembly Bill 2879, which conforms the compensation of a retired judge assigned to serve on a Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court to that of a retired judge assigned to serve on a trial court, allows judges to select a designated beneficiary rather than limiting the selection to a surviving spouse and allows a judge’s estate or beneficiary to receive accumulated retirement contributions that were not yet dispersed at the time of death;

Senate Bill 2011, establishing a Judicial Branch Workers’ Compensation Fund for judicial branch employees, and allowing courts to self-insure for such claims;

Assembly Bill 2321, which establishes the Judicial Council as the governing body of the courts for the purposes of the Tort Claims Act and sets forth a procedure for the council to use in responding to tort claims arising out of the activities of a judicial branch entity or judge, and clarifies the procedure for claimants to follow in filing such claims;

Assembly Bill 3028, which makes numerous substantive and technical changes to court operations, including the ability to hold sessions in other counties with the consent of the parties and to provide presiding judges in small courts the same two percent pay differential that larger court presiding judges receive during their term;

Assembly Bill 3027, which includes the requirement that parties seeking a jury trial to post advance deposit of jury fees at the same time; and

Assembly Bill 1698, which lifts the sunset on the existing Legal Document Assistant (LDA) registration program, and increases consumer protections for users of these services. In addition to technical and clarifying changes, this bill requires LDAs to make specific disclosures to prospective clients regarding the scope of their services; places limits on the content of LDA advertising; and increases the amount of the bond for firms that employ more than four LDAs.



Fee Description


To file unlimited civil, family or probate action or proceedings or papers on transfer

from another court                                                                                                                    $ 214.50


To file limited civil case over $10,000                                                                                                  $ 110.00

Unlawful detainer over $10,000                                                                                                  $ 114.00


To file limited civil case $10,000 or less                                                                                               $ 102.30

If accompanied by declaration per B&P §6322.1                                                                        $ 98.30

Unlawful detainer $10,000 or less                                                                                               $ 106.30


To file answer or other responsive first paper in unlimited civil, family

or probate action                                                                                                                      $ 211.20


To file answer or over responsive first paper in unlimited civil case                                                       $ 99.00

If accompanied by declaration pcr B&P §6322.1                                                                        $ 95.00


To file reclassification from a limited to an unlimited civil case                                                              $ 137.50


To file, in a limited civil case, a cross-complaint or amended or amendment to a complaint

or cross-complaint, EXCEPT does amendments, first amendments before answer or

hearing of demurer, amendments after order to amend, or when already paid by filing

party on a previous amendment                                                                                                 $ 49.95


To file notice of motion, OSC, or any other paper in civil, family or probate action

requiring a hearing subsequent to first papers (with specified exceptions)

or application for renewal of judgment                                                                                                                                                 $ 25.30


To file notice of motion for summary judgment                                                                                   $ 110.00


To file notice of motion, OSC, or other proceeding to modify or enforce custody

or visitation EXCEPT in domestic violence case or to obtain or give effects to a

protective order                                                                                                                        $ 47.30


To file small claims (12 or less claims filed in previous 12 months)                                                       $ 22.00

More than 12 claims filed in previous 12 months                                                                        $ 38.50


To file motion or application in a small claims case                                                                              $ 15.40


For Certificate for Court of Appeal or Supreme Court on motion prior to filing appeal record                $ 25.30


For certified copy of original of any document on file                                                                          $ 6.60

     Added fee for comparing customer copy with original, per page                                                     $ 1.10


For certified copy of marriage dissolution record                                                                                 $ 11.00

     Requested by public agency                                                                                                           $ 5.50


As of October 1, 2002, for Court Reporter for each one-half day

(over 1 hour, pro-rata basis) increased from 5247.00 to $255.00                                                  $ 255.00


As of October 1, 2002, daily reporter transcript-second court reporter, per day increased

from $300.00 to $309.00                                                                                                            $ 309.00


For transfer to another county in addition to other fees                                                                         $ 25.30


For certificate for which fee is not otherwise fixed (includes les pendens) or certificate to

official capacity of public official, or signing (authentication) of signature pursuant to

court order, per signature, or for filing and indexing all papers for which a fee is

not elsewhere provided, or for taking acknowledgment of any deed or other instrument,

includes certificate for each signature, or for taking affidavit, except criminal or adoption cases      $ 6.60



Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company