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  1. #1
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    Post How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: CA

    The previous owner of my home casually told me that he had sued my neighbor (his neighbor at the time) about 10-15 years ago for encroachment onto his property by planting trees and had "won" the lawsuit. My neighbor confirms such a lawsuit had taken place, yet claims he won (potentially lying, or verdict was a settlement). Both parties refused to provide me the case number (probably for their own protection).

    As the current homeowner, I am very much interested in tracking down this case to have a clear understanding on what's been going on with my property.

    I have the full names of both parties as well as the addresses. I've searched in the LA Superior Court online web database, as well as the computers in the court itself, and could not find anything.

    How can I track down this old case?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    If it was heard in Los Angeles County, the record will be there. If not in digital form, then it should be in paper form. It might be possible that the old records have been purged, but 10-15 years is not that long ago. And they should have, at least, a record of the litigants even if the entire case file has gone missing for some reason.

    Are you searched the correct names of the parties?
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    Which court/department specifically would you recommend I check with? Perhaps I looked in a smaller courthouse with a limited set of records.

    I do believe I used the correct spelling of the names (unless spouse or corporation names were used instead).

    Is there another method to search by using data I'm more certain about, such as by address or parcel number?

  4. #4
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
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    Is there another method to search by using data I'm more certain about, such as by address or parcel number?
    No. Court cases are tracked by the names of the parties and the case number assigned to the case, not by address and certainly not parcel number. You should be able to find it if you know how to properly do the search. According to their site they have civil cases going back at least to 1992, and many cases going back to 1983. The starting page for the system is here: LA Superior Court search. Start by searching for just the last name of ONE party; pick the more unusual last name of the two and make sure it's spelled right. See how many hits you get and start to narrow it from there. If you can't find it yourself, you need to contact the clerk at the Superior Court where the case was litigated to get the file info. In LA county the Superior Court has a lot of courthouses. This case was a civil case, and there are 16 civil courthouses. I'd start with the one or two nearest the location of your property and see if the clerk can help you track it down.

    One other possibility does exist. If a lis pendens was filed during the course of the lawsuit, it is possible that searching the deed records for the two properties will reveal that. That in turn may have the party names and case number you need to locate the file.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
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    I have the full names of both parties as well as the addresses. I've searched in the LA Superior Court online web database, as well as the computers in the court itself, and could not find anything.

    How can I track down this old case?
    For starters, you can't search by name on the LASC web site. Your profile indicates you're in Echo Park, so the case probably was handled at the downtown courthouse on Hill Street (although it's not inconceivable it was handled at one of the branch courts). If it happened 10-15 years ago, that was after the abolition of municipal courts, so that probably makes things easier, but it's possible that it was a small claims suit, and the records for small claims suits may not be maintained int he same place as superior court records. In any event, if you can't find it at the courthouse, then I'm not sure what to tell you. You could contact a local attorney service for assistance finding the case.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    For starters, you can't search by name on the LASC web site.
    You can't? Then what about this page of the site that seems to indicate you can use the name to get the case number: https://www.lacourt.org/paonlineserv...X&casetype=CIV

    That's the page I intended as my first link in my prior response about being the place to start.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    Thanks a lot for your responses @cdwjava, @Taxing Matters, and @pg1067. I will try to track it down using the info mentioned above.

    I also wanted to point out that a friend of mine who works for a law firm used one of those fancy lawyer search apps and said the title/description did come up, but the details (including the case number) for some reason would not load. I always thought cases were public, so just curious, is there such a thing that a case could be hidden from the public (perhaps both parties had agreed to such terms)? I've heard stories like that for serious cases involving confidential information or high-profile people, but highly doubt this type of case would fit that bill.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    You can't? Then what about this page of the site that seems to indicate you can use the name to get the case number: https://www.lacourt.org/paonlineserv...X&casetype=CIV

    That's the page I intended as my first link in my prior response about being the place to start.
    You have to pay just to search, but you're right, it can be done. I never use it, so I forgot about it.


    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
    View Post
    I always thought cases were public, so just curious, is there such a thing that a case could be hidden from the public (perhaps both parties had agreed to such terms)? I've heard stories like that for serious cases involving confidential information or high-profile people, but highly doubt this type of case would fit that bill.
    Some case files (typically, but not always, where high profile individuals are involved) will be sealed, which means it takes a court order to gain access, but I've never heard of a case record being intentionally made unavailable for searching.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: How Can I Locate an Old Case Between Two Parties by Name or Address

    Quote Quoting aj_waterman
    View Post
    I always thought cases were public, so just curious, is there such a thing that a case could be hidden from the public (perhaps both parties had agreed to such terms)?
    Most cases are public. But some cases do get sealed. For example, cases involving juveniles. But the case you describe wouldn't be one of the ones that would be sealed.

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