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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Small Claims Appeal by Trial De Novo in California

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: California. I lost small claims for $10K and want to file appeal. I bought a house and my boyfriend gifted me a small part of the money to purchase. Later on when the relationship did not work out he decided he wanted his money back and sued me claiming it was a business agreement and not a gift. There was no written business agreement or gift letter. My word against his. Only thing he had was bank statement with a withdraw slip matching the amount he deposited into escrow. Escrow papers say all money was provided by me. On basis of this judge awarded him the money. Should I appeal based on he did not meet burden of proof to provide written business agreement ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Small Claims Appeal by Trial De Novo in California

    The small claims court found that he did meet his burden of proof, even though there was no written agreement.

    You get a whole new trial in your de novo appeal, but you will need to consider why the small claims court did not believe your version of events and found your ex's claims to be more credible than your own.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Small Claims Appeal by Trial De Novo in California

    Mr. Knowitall,
    I still don't get it, if someone gifted you some money, how can you take it back later? I didnt ask for the money, he wanted to help me to get a house he liked but i was short on the money for that house so he decided to help since he hoped to live in it with me for a long time. It was not my fault that relationship didn't work out. The deed is only on my name. And back then I was new to this country and my English was not that good, I trusted him with the purchase of the house, let him submit some portion of the money(he submitted about $20K ) to the escrow. He tricked me knowing I didn't know the laws and hoping that he can have some rights on my house. He also tried to submit a fake written agreement with my signature on it that I owe him the money and promised him later to put his name on the title of my house since he was married man back then. He gave it to me to read in the cpurt but didnt submit to the judge at the hearing. He lied so much at the hearing and I was not able to defend myself very well.
    Again, since i don't have a gift letter, I only have a grant deed on my name should I try to appeal?
    Thank you

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Default Re: Small Claims Appeal by Trial De Novo in California

    Often in cases like these with little documentation, it is left to the judge to "make the best guess" at who is being more factual. Your chances of winning at the next trial is up tour ability to appear more "honest" than your ex. Maybe his evidence was weak - but he had one piece of evidence and you had none. This is a typical situation where people change their mind over whether they gave something as a gift or a loan after a relationship dissolves. But think about it, maybe it was a gift with the understanding that you two would be together a long time. After that didn't work out (regardless of fault) then by removing the long relationship understanding, should not the gift be removed (given back) as well? You stated he hoped to live with you a long time, so he was willing to spend $10k for a "long" time. Since that "long" time did not happen, he should get the money back.

    Next time anyone gives you money, make sure you get them to document the terms they are giving it to you for. Life lesson.

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