The Magic Caf
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Legal Question Regarding Small Claims Court (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
hoodrat
View Profile
Veteran user
Southern California
384 Posts

Profile of hoodrat
I have filed a small claims lawsuit against another party here in California. The other party has filed a "continuance" which means that the trial date has been moved back to a later date (approximately 30 days later than orginally scheduled).

How many times is a defendant allowed to file a continuance? It would seem that the courts would impose a limit because if they didn't, defendants would just keep filing continuance after continuance in order to avoid going to trial.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated!
Steve V
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern California
1878 Posts

Profile of Steve V
As one who just had his arse kicked in court (if you can't outspend someone on lawyers guess who is gonna lose?) they can file a continuance but the judge has to approve or not approve it. Odds are they will not do it more than once as it likely won't pass the judge.
Steve V
Cliffg37
View Profile
Inner circle
Long Beach, CA
2492 Posts

Profile of Cliffg37
My dad used to teach a course in the business aspects of small claims court and a "judge" once told him "The party who is better prepared always wins" make sure it is you. (remember SCC doesn't have a real judge)
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Steve V
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern California
1878 Posts

Profile of Steve V
Your dad was incorrect. The party that is ready to go the long haul, meaning has the cash, wins. Judges have to say the better prepared party wins, it is just getting to that point that is the problem. I had a case that if it ever got to a jury I'd win, problem is it would cost me more money than I have to get there and then the loser would hang things up in appeal for a decade or more. If you think I'm kidding the case I had as a reference was won in 1994 and appealed and changed three months ago. Wait, your dad said small claims court, he is correct there.
Steve V
Payne
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle
4570 Posts

Profile of Payne
I'm not sure how it works in California but here in Washington lawyers are not allowed in small claims court. In fact I once saw a law student get reamed by a judge when he tried to go all legaleze on a small claims trial.
The major problem with small claims however is getting your judgement paid to youif you win. I once had a room mate who was taken to small claims court by a former landlord. she lost the case and ended up owing the guy several hundred dollar. She never paid him a dime and he was pretty powerless to collect as she had no assetts of any kind to put a lien on and if he tried to garnish her wages she simply changed jobs and gave her new employer an incorrect SS number.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
hoodrat
View Profile
Veteran user
Southern California
384 Posts

Profile of hoodrat
Quote:
On 2006-10-22 04:01, Payne wrote:
I'm not sure how it works in California but here in Washington lawyers are not allowed in small claims court. In fact I once saw a law student get reamed by a judge when he tried to go all legaleze on a small claims trial.
The major problem with small claims however is getting your judgement paid to youif you win. I once had a room mate who was taken to small claims court by a former landlord. she lost the case and ended up owing the guy several hundred dollar. She never paid him a dime and he was pretty powerless to collect as she had no assetts of any kind to put a lean on and if he tried to garnish her wages she simply changed jobs and gave her new employer an incorrect SS number.


I'm in a similar situation. I am suing my landlord for my former apartment being unsafe, unhealthy, and in violation of two city building codes (for which he was busted). I had to move out of there last month due to the serious ongoing problems with the unit that he failed to repair after I sent him 14 letters over three weeks. The problems include repeated sewage spills/leaks from my landlord's apartment upstairs into my apartment located beneath his. There was a serious mold problem with mold growing under the carpet padding (I have pictures). The mold remediation guy my landlord hired to take care of the mold ended stealing some of my stuff. When I confronted the mold remediation guy about the missing and damaged items the next day when he returned to do a followup air test, he tried to give me $140 in cash! My attorney has prepared a legal brief which includes all of my color pictures of the damage, etc. in the apartment. It's pretty much an open-and-shut case.

I gave a 30 day notice on 9 September, and I moved out on 19 September into a newer, bigger apartment. On 26 September, I returned my keys to my landlord and gave him my new mailing address. At that point, he did not yet know that I was going to be suing him. He finally got served with my lawsuit on 8 October. On 11 October, he served me with an eviction notice (obviously retalitory in nature)! Yes, he is trying to evict me from an apartment that I already moved out of! In his eviction notice papers his attorney wrote, my landlord claims he gave me me a 30-day notice on 9 September to get out of the apartment. In reality, I gave HIM a 30-day notice on 9 September that I was moving out! To make matters worse for him, he actually attached a copy of my 30-day notice (dated 9 September) to his eviction notice papers! Whaaat? As you can imagine, my attorney is having a field day with this latest development! This eviciton case will be a separate trial (if my landlord decides to NOT drop it next week), and I'll win this one, too. You cannot evict somebody who has already moved out and paid up for an apartment after having given the proper 30-day notice. My attorney has NEVER had a case where a landlord tried to evict a tenant who had already moved out and returned the keys weeks prior to the eviction notice being filed.

Comments, anybody??
airship
View Profile
Inner circle
In my day, I have driven
1594 Posts

Profile of airship
I won a judgement in small claims court over 20 years ago. Amount paid to me to date: $0.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Matt Bartz
View Profile
Loyal user
Gilbert, Arizona
252 Posts

Profile of Matt Bartz
Hoodrat-

Your both Payne and Airship give an adequate description of what to expect out of small claims court.

I see that you're profile says you are in San Diego. In San Diego, most small claims court (especially the South Bay courthouse) will give you the opportunity to do a mediation session (for free) immediately prior to the hearing. I'd recommend doing that (if the option is given to you) and seeing if you can't resolve the dispute with a mediator and the other party. I recommend that because statistically you have a much high chance of the other party paying you when you go through mediation and they voluntarilly decide on their fate than you do when you go to court and the judge lays down the order. In mediation, whatever you decide on will go into the court and become an official record that is enforcable, as a judgment, but for some psychological reason you have a better chance of getting paid.

Also, you mentioned that you have an attorney. I assume that it is for a seperate matter because Payne is correct. You can not be represented by an attorney in small claims court in California. The best peice of advice I can give you is when you have legal questions like this, ask you attorney instead of posting it on a international forum that discusses magic. Your California lawyer will give you the most reliable advice.

As far as continuances...In small claims court they usually won't allow more than one or two unless they are required for medical emergencies.
Ximines
View Profile
Regular user
Minnesota
154 Posts

Profile of Ximines
The answer to your question is: a party can file for a continuance as many times as he likes, and the standard for granting it is "good cause shown." In other words, if you have a good reason to seek a continuance, the judge is likely to grant it. Of course, as the opposing party, you have an opportunity to come before the court (either on paper or in person), and oppose the grant of a continuance. If the continuance is financially burdensome to you, feel free to point that out to the judge; if s/he agrees, he may order the opposing party to pay your costs. Most importantly, small claims court is a court of "equity" which means fairness. Couch all of your arguments in terms of what is and isn't fair, and you'll have more success.
Destiny
View Profile
Inner circle
1429 Posts

Profile of Destiny
Must be the same all over the world - I won in an Australian Small Claims Court 15 years ago, and have never seen a cent. I would have been better letting it go as I paid for legal advice before going, and so added to my loss.
wayno
View Profile
Veteran user
Canada
323 Posts

Profile of wayno
Quote:
On 2006-10-22 02:32, Steve V wrote:
Your dad was incorrect. The party that is ready to go the long haul, meaning has the cash, wins.


Small Claims court doesn't work like that. It's a court where no legal representation is required. You present the facts to the judge, and the judge makes the ruling.

And what the other people were saying, hold true. The better prepared individual wins. Watch a few episodes of those court tv shows and you'll see what I mean.

Sincerely,
Wayne Stevenson
The SpookClub
Wayne Stevenson
The SpookClub
http://www.spookclub.com
hoodrat
View Profile
Veteran user
Southern California
384 Posts

Profile of hoodrat
I appreciate everybody's input into this topic. My attorney for my small claims case against my former landlord told me this morning that the courts here in California will permit defendants to file ony one "continuance".

Everybody is correct -- here in California, attorneys are NOT permitted to be in the courtroom during a small claims case. I simply have hired one to assist me in the preparation of my case as well as to give me advice and help.

In the literature my attorney's office gave me regarding my small claims case, it does say that sometimes getting the "guilty" party to pay the judgement can be difficult. It requires persistence. My former landlord (in his 60s) owns two apartment buildings here in California, so he definitely has assets. It won't be like I'm going after a "penniless college student" or someone similar in order to collect what I'm awarded. If I win (which I'm almost 99% guaranteed to win based on the evidence and facts and witnesses I have), I'm not anticipating any problems collecting the judgement amount from him.

Definitely will keep you posted as to the outcome of this legal battle.
Steve V
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern California
1878 Posts

Profile of Steve V
Wayne, you must read all of my statement to get the whole message.
Steve V
hoodrat
View Profile
Veteran user
Southern California
384 Posts

Profile of hoodrat
UPDATE:

The lawsuit I've filed against my former landlord will finally be heard on Thursday, November 30th. I filed the lawsuit in early October because the apartment I rented from him for nine years seriously deteriorated the last year or so with leaks, mold, rodents, etc.. He has had since early August to fix the problems that I delineated in 14 letters sent to him over the course of a month. I also called the city code compliance inspectors on him due to two code violations (lack of a furnace and location of trash bins). He has been cited for both violations and must fix them. Due to his refusal to adequately fix the problems and violations, I moved out in mid-September.

In retaliation, he filed an eviction lawsuit against me three weeks AFTER I had already properly and legally moved out after having given a 30-day notice, etc.. The man is nuts! My attorney sent his attorney a "Demand for Dismissal" since the eviction was totally unfounded and bogus. They ended up dropping the evicition lawsuit because they knew they couldn't win that one. You cannot evict somebody who has already moved out and returned the keys.

Now I just found out late last week that my former landlord is filing yet another lawsuit against me. I have not yet learned what this lawsuit is about because my attorney's office has not yet been "served" with the lawsuit. My suspicions are that my landlord knows he is going to lose my lawsuit against him ($7500) so he is trying to minimize his damages by filing one against me with the hope that he wins his, and the judgements will effectively cancel each other out. What a worm!

Details to follow. Lesson learned so far: It pays to stand up for your rights as a tenant!
hoodrat
View Profile
Veteran user
Southern California
384 Posts

Profile of hoodrat
FINAL UPDATE: Verdict is in!

I started this thread in mid-October as a result of suing my former landlord and former two property managers in small claims court for damages arising from a serious mold problem caused by repeated flooding from landlord's upstairs apartment. I also sued for habitability issues (lack of a furnace in the unit).

The case was FINALLY heard by a judge on December 8th, 2006. The judge did not render a verdict at that time because he wanted to review the evidence further. I just learned the verdict today. I WON to the tune of $4500! And the landlord's bogus $3500 countersuit against me was dimissed!

That about wraps it up. It certainly pays to fight for your rights -- especially if it's a landlord/tenant issue.
rossmacrae
View Profile
Inner circle
Arlington, Virginia
2464 Posts

Profile of rossmacrae
Was this Judge Judy or Judge Mathis?
ed rhodes
View Profile
Inner circle
Rhode Island
2817 Posts

Profile of ed rhodes
Quote:
On 2007-01-20 05:20, hoodrat wrote:
FINAL UPDATE: Verdict is in!

I started this thread in mid-October as a result of suing my former landlord and former two property managers in small claims court for damages arising from a serious mold problem caused by repeated flooding from landlord's upstairs apartment. I also sued for habitability issues (lack of a furnace in the unit).

The case was FINALLY heard by a judge on December 8th, 2006. The judge did not render a verdict at that time because he wanted to review the evidence further. I just learned the verdict today. I WON to the tune of $4500! And the landlord's bogus $3500 countersuit against me was dimissed!

That about wraps it up. It certainly pays to fight for your rights -- especially if it's a landlord/tenant issue.


I've been reading this thread with interest. As I can see it, while you actually <won> in every sense of the word, it's not "wrapped up" until you've got that $4,500 in your hand! Keep us up to date on what this worm is doing about paying up!
"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
Josh the Superfluous
View Profile
Inner circle
The man of
1881 Posts

Profile of Josh the Superfluous
Thanks for the update Hoodrat! So often we hear the set up, but not the punch line. The guy sounds like a real low-life. Good luck on collecting. If your Lawyer was working on a contingency basis, I'm sure he'll want his $1500. Smile
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
hoodrat
View Profile
Veteran user
Southern California
384 Posts

Profile of hoodrat
UPDATE!

Just found out today that my former landlord (slum lord, actually) has paid the $4500 judgement that he was ordered to pay me after he lost the small claims case I brought against him. He paid the judgement at the court, so I have to either mail back the form the court sent me today or go up there in person to collect the money. 90% of the money he was ordered to pay me was for "rent abatement" i.e. he was ordered to pay me back one-half of all the rent I paid on that moldy apartment for the last ten months or so.

My attorney has already been paid up front, so he will not be getting a percentage of the judgement. To be quite honest, I really didn't make any money by winning this lawsuit. I spent about $3300 of my own money on it. I did it more to make a point to my former landlord -- and I did make a point! However, getting a $4500 windfall is good news anytime it happens! I'm not complaining

The case is now officially closed and over.
Patrick Differ
View Profile
Inner circle
1540 Posts

Profile of Patrick Differ
I'd call that a "winner."
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Legal Question Regarding Small Claims Court (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.04 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL