a consumer is naming the party they are suing

Naming the Party You Are Suing

Learn how to correctly name the person or business you are suing and why it is important.

Naming the Party You Are Suing


If you’re going to sue someone, it’s important to correctly name the person or business you are suing. On the Plaintiff’s Claim, name yourself as the Plaintiff and the party you are suing as the Defendant.

If you win and have not named the Defendant correctly, you will have trouble collecting your money. Here are some examples of how to name the person or business you are suing:

How do I name an individual?

Use the first name, middle initial (if known) and last name:

Mary B. Scott
2261 Willard St.
L.A., CA 90001

How do I name a husband and wife?

Write the full names of the husband and wife. List them separately:

James A. Jones (husband)
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

Sally R. Jones (wife)
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

How do I name a minor?

Name the minor and the parent or legal guardian:

Brandon Smith, a minor
by John Smith, his father
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

Brittany Smith, a minor
by Cathy Jones, her guardian
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

How do I name a business that is owned by an individual?

Name the owner and the business:

Mary Smith
DBA (doing business as)
Continental Candies
and Mary Smith individually
2235 Foxworth Drive
L.A., CA 90012

How do I name a partnership?

Name the partnership and each partner individually:

Jim Smith and John Jones Individually and DBA Bottle Works
1010 Dandelion Rd.
L.A., CA 90014

How do I name a corporation?

Write the exact name of the corporation. You do not need to name an individual.

Fourth Dimension Graphics, Inc.,
a corporation
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

How do I name a business owned by a corporation?

Name the corporation and the business:

Fourth Dimension Graphics, Inc., a corporation
DBA Frank’s Stationery
201 Foxworth Drive
L.A., CA 91101

What if the case involves a motor-vehicle accident?

You must name the registered owner and the driver.

If the owner and the driver are the same:

Joe Smith (registered owner and driver)
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

If the owner and driver are not the same:

Lucy Smith (registered owner)
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

Betty Smith (driver)
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

How do I name a Trust?

Name the trust and the trustee(s):

Betty Smith Living Trust
100. S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

Betty Smith, trustee
100. S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101

What if I do not know the exact name of a party?

There are ways to find the name and location of the person or business you want to sue. (See our tipsheet, Find the Person or Business you are Suing).

If you do not name the party you are suing correctly, you may not be able to collect your judgment.

Court forms are available at California Courts – Forms. Select “Small Claims” from the pull down menu. Forms are also available at the Court Clerk’s office.

County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: May 19, 2015

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