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Old 03-11-2014, 07:14 PM
 
24,843 posts, read 32,237,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
You have been given good advice and you have been given bad advice. However, I am concerned that you are focusing and fishing for advice that only supports your position. Laws are nice to use to support your position but actual court cases are better. Based on the reading of court cases in Califirnia concerning liability on dog issues, I strongly suggest you get a qualified attorney to advise you and get it FAST! As a favor, have the attorney review Delfino v. Sloan, Rollins v. Heldin, and of course, Restatement of Torts (2d). Based on what you stated, I would not go to court (small claims or civil) without legal representation, as you may be in for a rude shock.
Maybe states are different but, in Michigan you can NOT be represented by an attorney in small claims court.

Small claims is all this case merits.....small claims IS civil.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driller1 View Post
Maybe states are different but, in Michigan you can NOT be represented by an attorney in small claims court.

Small claims is all this case merits.....small claims IS civil.
You are correct that attornies are not allowed to represent a client in Michigan's Small Claims Courts. However, if we were to be sued in Small Claims Court in Michigan, we WILL BE represented by our attorney. Most laypersons don't know this but almost every state grants you a constitutional right to be represented by legal counsel as a defendant in courts, Michigan is no different. Under MCL 600.8408(4), I have the right to request a transfer to District Civil Court so I can excercise my state constitutional right to legal representation. California has similar provisions. If the OP is sued in small claims court, they can have their attorney file for a transfer to Superior Court.

Since the OP is sliding along a razors edge, they need competent legal advice.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:57 PM
Status: "Support the Mining Law of 1872" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,508 posts, read 10,804,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
You are correct that attornies are not allowed to represent a client in Michigan's Small Claims Courts. However, if we were to be sued in Small Claims Court in Michigan, we WILL BE represented by our attorney. Most laypersons don't know this but almost every state grants you a constitutional right to be represented by legal counsel as a defendant in courts, Michigan is no different. Under MCL 600.8408(4), I have the right to request a transfer to District Civil Court so I can excercise my state constitutional right to legal representation. California has similar provisions. If the OP is sued in small claims court, they can have their attorney file for a transfer to Superior Court.

Since the OP is sliding along a razors edge, they need competent legal advice.
This is common when the defendant has more money than the plaintiff. The idea that the plaintiff will give up when faced with the necessity of hiring his own attorney seems clever. But it requires that the defendant be willing and able to first pay for an attorney whose fee will certainly be at least several hundred dollars. Having legal representation is no guarantee that the defendant will beat someone owed money.

If the defendant loses he'll be out his legal fees as well as the judgement. The court may further order that the defendant pay all or a part of the plaintiff's legal fees.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:40 PM
 
9,143 posts, read 11,591,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
This is common when the defendant has more money than the plaintiff. The idea that the plaintiff will give up when faced with the necessity of hiring his own attorney seems clever. But it requires that the defendant be willing and able to first pay for an attorney whose fee will certainly be at least several hundred dollars. Having legal representation is no guarantee that the defendant will beat someone owed money.

If the defendant loses he'll be out his legal fees as well as the judgement. The court may further order that the defendant pay all or a part of the plaintiff's legal fees.
My reasoning for the OP to seek legal advice now is because their dog's life depends on it. The OP does not want this in court because the odds are against them. The OP is pinning their hopes on the fact that the other dog was unleashed. Even if the Judge decides the other person's dog was equally liable, and essentially hands down a token judgment against the OP, the Judge cannot rule without somehow assigning aggressor status equally or in part. That aggressor status means the dog is legally under CA law an aggressive dog and opens the OP up to liability for just about anything that dog does where a person is physically injured psychologically traumatized or property is damaged from that dog. Itís only a short step to a demand by an injured party for the destruction of that dog. An attorney may prevent that needle!
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:42 PM
 
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Good point. If the OP loved her dog, she'd pay the vet bills. She risks losing her dog. That's not a gamble people should take with loved ones.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:06 AM
 
24,843 posts, read 32,237,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
You are correct that attornies are not allowed to represent a client in Michigan's Small Claims Courts. However, if we were to be sued in Small Claims Court in Michigan, we WILL BE represented by our attorney. Most laypersons don't know this but almost every state grants you a constitutional right to be represented by legal counsel as a defendant in courts, Michigan is no different. Under MCL 600.8408(4), I have the right to request a transfer to District Civil Court so I can excercise my state constitutional right to legal representation. California has similar provisions. If the OP is sued in small claims court, they can have their attorney file for a transfer to Superior Court.

Since the OP is sliding along a razors edge, they need competent legal advice.
Then they would no long be in small claims court........get it???

They can talk to an lawyer before making any choices.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:15 AM
 
Location: Southern California
748 posts, read 1,036,388 times
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In California, the Animal Control has it's own hearings, they have their own judges. If your dog is has been given a hearing for abatement, which can be gotten by any two neighbors going to the Animal Control and filing a complaint, or if you have been been given a citation and hearing for a dangerous dog, your hearing will be at the Animal Control and you can have an Attorney with you. But the hearing rules and evidence is very different, here say is allowed and they are very informal. All the angry neighbors come in and testify as well as the dog owners and the animal control officers who responded. They wanted me to sign my dogs over before any hearing.
I feel the thing that really helped me, as I mentioned before, the law was in my favor, my dog was leashed. Was when the Hearing Officer asked me what I had done, prior to even getting the notice of hearing. I told him that I only walked my dogs one at a time now, I no longer used a harness but a chain collar, I started putting a muzzle on my dog, I took my female and a pup to a professional trainer, I put up an extra fence across my driveway.. I did these things to ensure that this did not happen again.

My dog, my responsibility. The hearing officer said most people come in with the attitude that their dog did nothing wrong.

The responsible thing for you to do would be to go talk to the people, apologize and offer to pay a portion of the vet bills. Your dog injured or killed somebodies pet. For me that was devastating. I could not hold back the tears at the hearing. There was nothing I could do to bring that little boy's dog back.

In California, I believe a person can only win the price of purchasing another dog and vet bills. (in Small Claims) No pain and suffering for the loss of the companion. Do the right thing and don't make them take you to small claims court.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:03 PM
 
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Some of you are sadly informed....in my county, you cannot be represented by an attorney, UNLESS you're appealing the ruling. Small claims/civil cases are informal and often not even heard by an actual judge. I have done my research, we are debating only the percentage of responsibility. The issue of our dog being taken away is not even an issue! We've already had our hearing at the animal control. Our dog has not been deemed dangerous, nor was it even an subject to discuss, according to the AC officer and the rest of the council at our hearing. The hearing was basically to ensure our fence was repaired. If any of you actually had the tiniest amount of knowledge about the process of deeming a dog "dangerous", you would've known that this is not a concern. Oh, and that comment about knowing that our fence was damaged was incredibly inaccurate and i'm not sure where you understood that. We had no prior knowledge that our dog was even capable of breaking a fence, however we maintain our fence regularly.

Since this issue is going to court, I am asking the moderator to remove this thread. Thank you to everyone who responded.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:49 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 91,826,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diabebees View Post
Some of you are sadly informed....in my county...
Why did you come to a national/international forum looking for advice then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by diabebees View Post
I have done my research, we are debating only the percentage of responsibility.
You're wasting your time going to court unless you've already offered to pay half and the other party refused your offer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by diabebees View Post
The issue of our dog being taken away is not even an issue! We've already had our hearing at the animal control. Our dog has not been deemed dangerous, nor was it even an subject to discuss, according to the AC officer and the rest of the council at our hearing. The hearing was basically to ensure our fence was repaired. If any of you actually had the tiniest amount of knowledge about the process of deeming a dog "dangerous", you would've known that this is not a concern.
Do you not have the tiniest amount of knowledge that dangerous dog laws vary from state to state?
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:37 PM
 
13 posts, read 13,489 times
Reputation: 15
Hopes, read through the thread again. You may find answers to your unnecessary questions. Thank you.
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