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


PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT NAME THE PARTY YOU ARE SUING CORRECTLY, YOU MAY NEVER BE ABLE TO COLLECT YOUR JUDGMENT.

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: 

CIV-010 Application Form

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 

How do I name an incompetent person? 

Name the incompetent person and the family member or legal guardian: 

CIV-010 Application Form

Brandon Smith, an incompetent person
by John Smith, his brother
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101 

Brittany Smith, an incompetent person
by Cathy Jones, her guardian
100 S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101 

How do I name a deceased person? 

Name the estate of the deceased person and the administrator: 

The Estate of Brandon Smith, a deceased person
by John Smith, an administrator
100 S. Chapel Lane
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 

Betty Smith, Trustee of the Betty Smith Family Trust
100. S. Chapel Lane
L.A., CA 91101 

IF A MINOR WANTS TO SUE IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT THEY WOULD BE NAMED IN THIS WAY: 

Frank Jones, a minor, by his Father Robert Jones 

The minor and their Parent or Guardian will need to complete and submit the following form along with the SC-100 Plaintiff’s Claim:

CIV-010 Application Form. You should contact the Small Claims Advisory service at 213-974-9759 to ensure the form is completed correctly.

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 pulldown menu. Forms are also available at the Court Clerk’s office. 

County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: August 5, 2020

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