Motion for change of venue in California

A motion for change of venue in California is the topic of this blog post.

Venue is the court location where a case is heard.  A motion for change of venue in California requests that the Court transfer the venue of the case to the county where the defendant resides.

The law in California is well settled that a defendant has the absolute right to have any trial heard in the county of their residence, unless there is some express statutory justification for an exception such as a personal injury case where the defendant is alleged to have caused a vehicle accident in another county.

Law authorizing a motion for change of venue in California.

Code of Civil Procedure § 396 states in pertinent part:

“If an action or proceeding is commenced in or transferred to a court which has jurisdiction of the subject matter thereof as determined by the complaint or petition, and it thereafter appears from the verified pleadings, or at the trial, or hearing, that the determination of the action or proceeding, or of a cross-complaint, will necessarily involve the determination of questions not within jurisdiction of the court, in which the action or proceeding is pending, the court, whenever such lack of jurisdiction appears, must suspend all further proceedings therein and transfer the action or proceeding and certify the pleadings, and all papers and proceedings therein to a court having jurisdiction thereof which may be agreed upon by the parties, or if they do not agree, to a court having such jurisdiction which is designated by law as a proper court for the trial or determination thereof.. Upon the making of an order for transfer, proceedings shall be had as provided in Section 399 of this code, the costs and fees thereof, and of filing the case in the court to which transferred, to be paid by the party filing the pleading in which the question outside the jurisdiction of the court appears unless the court ordering the transfer shall otherwise direct”.

If you are a defendant and want to change the venue of the case to the county where you currently reside you have to file a motion for change of venue at or before filing an answer or other response.  If you do not file a motion for change of venue before you file an answer or other response the court may consider that you have waived any objection to the venue of the case unless you have other grounds for a change of venue such as convenience of witnesses or the ends of justice.

The law in California is well settled that any complaint filed in a county other than the county where the defendant lives will be strictly construed against a plaintiff who files in any other venue.

The California Supreme Court has stated in a published decision that the right of a plaintiff to a trial in any county other than the county of residence of a defendant is an exception to the general rule and requires express statutory justification.

Code of Civil Procedure § 395(a) states in pertinent part that, “Except as otherwise provided by law and subject to the power of the court to transfer actions or proceedings as provided in this title, the county in which the defendants or some of them reside at the commencement of the action is the proper county for the trial of the action.”

If several causes of action are alleged in a complaint, a motion for change of venue must be granted on all of the causes of action, if a defendant is entitled to change on any one cause of action.  A fraud action must be tried in the county where the defendant lives as fraud is what is known as a transitory cause of action.

Attorney’s fees and costs available on a motion for change of venue in California.

If a plaintiff files in the wrong county, the defendant has the right to request that the Court order that the plaintiff pay all of their expenses, including court costs and attorney fees before any transfer is made.  If the plaintiff is represented by an attorney, the Court can order that the attorney for the plaintiff be the one to pay any expenses and attorney fees before any such transfer is made.  If the fees are not paid within 30 days of service of notice of the order transferring venue, the defendant may make a motion for dismissal of the case without prejudice.

Code of Civil Procedure § 399 states in pertinent part: “When the transfer is sought solely, or is ordered, because the action or proceeding was commenced in a court other than that designated as proper by this title, such costs and fees (including any expenses and attorney’s fees awarded defendant pursuant to Section 396b) shall be paid by the plaintiff before such transfer is made”.

If would like to discuss whether filing a motion for change of venue in your case is appropriate you can contact Nathan Mubasher for an evaluation and consultation.

Schedule a consultation today.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.


Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660


Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.


Author: nathanmubasher

Attorney Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

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