I know in large legal cases you hear about in the news, the plaintiff usually has multiple torts they accuse the defendant of. For example company A is suing company B for negligence, breach of contract, fraud etc. etc.

Is this done because it costs money to bring a case to court in the first place so you might as well go for everything at once and see what sticks?

I ask because I'm getting setup to take my landlord to small claims court. There are multiple things I believe he owes me money for such as unreturned damage deposit, prorated rent, unreturned furniture, the fact that a shared space become someone's personal space etc. Can these all be claimed at once or is this not allowed or would "look bad" and should be dealt with as separate cases?

  • Which jurisdiction? I'll add that in the UK you should file claims together if they all derive out of the same or substantially the same facts – Shazamo Morebucks Jun 8 '19 at 23:36

Can these all be claimed at once or is this not allowed or would "look bad" and should be dealt with as separate cases?

They all ought to be claimed at once if they involve the same defendant(s).

The subject matter of a case is the facts as they pertain to the defendant(s) to that case. The legal theories --which are labeled as claims of negligence, fraud, etc.-- are merely the standards upon which the sufficiency of those facts are assessed in order to decide which party should prevail in a case.

Once those facts are adjudged (being henceforth considered res judicata), any related claims that were not brought in those proceedings against that(those) same defendant(s) are forfeited.

I understand the following is not your situation, but I will add it for the sake of completion:

If not all claims involve the same defendant(s), it is up to the plaintiff to decide whether to file all claims at once in the same action or separately. This is a matter of plaintiff's strategy, pertinence and the nature of the cases, rather than which case handling (or record keeping) fits clerk's taste/logistics better. That being said, a court can always decide to consolidate cases if doing so allegedly "enhances judicial economy".


It's done all at once, because it would be unfair to the person defending himself to have to answer claims and do the research needed multiple times.

You could overload someone to the point they could not prepare a defense, in some cases.

You need to file it as one case in small claims court.

Plus just for record keeping purposes, the clerk would have to make multiple files and such and the judge would have to issue multiple orders that are really about your case when he/she could just do it all at once, so the judge would most likely join the cases together if you filed them separately.

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