U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > Los Angeles
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-26-2008, 10:37 PM
 
4 posts, read 17,751 times
Reputation: 14

Advertisements

Hi,
I recently moved out of a building owned by a slumlord (LAHD tells me they get more complaints about this management company than any other...).

He (owner) violated about a dozen laws (I could write a book about this guy) during my tenancy and when I left, and I successfully sued him in small claims court.
He owed me 765.00 (my deposit), and I was awarded that plus 2000 in damages (bad faith and harassment/retaliation for my complaint to LAHD).

He has appealed the case. When you are a defendant and lose your small claims case, you can appeal to the superior court, and HAVE AN ATTORNEY. this company is large (can i say their name here? after all, the fact there is a judgement against them is public record and not slander or libel).

I believe this was his plan all along. He is effectively circumventing the legal system of small claims, (not even showing up to the hearing, he sent someone I didn't know), because if he loses, he can appeal and use his superior financial resources to hire an attorney.

I know the laws, and am completely in the right (why I was awarded a judgement). However I don't have funds to hire an attorney. Does anyone have experience with this?

I have little faith in the legal system (when attorneys are involved, with apologies to atty's on this forum). LAHD tells me it's almost impossible to win wihtout an attorney. They say it almost never happens.
(which logically doesn't make sense, I know).

Advice?
And did I mention that each time there is a hearing I have to drive 400 miles from my present address, to LA? And the judge told me that travel fees are NOT reimbursible, which really isn't fair, considering.

Hating slumlords,
JS
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-26-2008, 11:21 PM
 
14,199 posts, read 26,341,715 times
Reputation: 8357
That's the second biggest problem with winning in small claims... the person being sued has the automatic right of appeal to a higher court with an Attorney... the first problem is collecting your small claims court judgement.

Superior Court is an entirely different Ball Game. The judges have little to NO patients when it comes to procedural errors, rules of evidence and motions.

On the bright side, I do know a retired guy that did win in Superior Court when his small claims win was upheld. He spent everyday for 2 weeks in Superior Court just to get a feel for how things worked... it was his crash course in Law.

Don't know what to say about the distance you must travel to and from the court. There is a good chance the Landlords Attorney will at least try to have the hearing rescheduled in the hopes that you will give up. It's not a big thing for most Attorneys because they are always in and out of court anyway. The court should be in the Jurisdiction where the apartment is located, if not, you can ask the court for a change of venue.

Once both parties actually make it to court, the standard operating procedure is to try and have the case thrown out on a technicality...

Good Luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-26-2008, 11:36 PM
 
26 posts, read 83,088 times
Reputation: 25
You need an attorney. An attorney knows the law and can argue your side of the case in the Appeals court. You cannot win without an attorney.

However, you must consider that the amount that you have been awarded, $2,765.00 is not much. It will most likely cost you that, or much more, to hire an attorney to fight your appeal. And then there is your time. This is going to take a lot of time to fight this case on appeal.

We are not talking about what is right and what is wrong here. We are talking about the legal system. There is no justice in the legal system. There is only the presentation of evidence. Whoever makes the best presentation wins. In order to make the best presentation, you need an attorney.

Go to a legal aid service in your area and see if they can advise you. Depending upon where you live, they may be able to represent you in court. It doesn't hurt to ask. At the very least, they will tell you that you won but will never see a dime of your award. Welcome to the cold cruel world. I wish you the best in this fight.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-27-2008, 02:38 AM
 
11,726 posts, read 24,729,612 times
Reputation: 7135
You're out $765. Write it off as a learning experience and get on with your life. Next time, investigate prospective landlords before renting from them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2008, 03:32 AM
 
4 posts, read 17,751 times
Reputation: 14
thanks for the input. this is 50% about the money this guy owes me, and 150% about the fact he is a slumlord who owns a building in a rent control neighborhood and routinely harasses the older tenants to make them leave, etc.
he harassed me because i finally printed out some info for one tenant (an elderly woman with breast cancer) because he kept insisting on coming into her apt with no notice to harass her.

he had the electricity cut off of an elderly man's apt, for two weeks. then again, another week, then again antoher week. kept saying he'd fix it later. the man called the electric co. who said the short was on private property (yes because the owner had it done!). well one could say the owner didn't do it, we don't have proof, but since the owner had spent the last two weeks prior harassing this guy to leave his apt, well...

i could go on, but it'll just sound repetitive. he was NICE to me by comparison.

i was absolutely certain this guy wouldn't give me money back, because he is pissed he could never intimidate me, gain unlawful access to my apt (after a few times of his trying i got nervous and changed my locks, as I am a single woman with 2 daughters).

i am pretty confident i can win, as i've looked up the civil code. this guy is in serious violation of over half a dozen simple rules concerning refunds of deposits.

i disagree with the last poster, because in order for a judge to refuse to award me my deposit, he'll have to tell me why he's refusing to follow the codes.

i DO agree that courts are not places for justice though, and if i didn't have such an airtight case (written documentation, witnesses, video of me turning in my keys, etc) then i'd be worried.

oh and thanks to the guy who said i should research my landlords. a great gem of advice. i rented my place sight unseen, traveling from across country. unfortunately most landlords in LA won't rent to you sight unseen. you get what you pay for.

be cautious in your pronouncements. pursuit of justice is a right that belongs to us all. this guy is scum like you wouldn't believe. keeping my deposit was the nicest of the mean things he's done to tenants in our building. i'd rather drive 800 miles and lose, than let this guy keep my deposit. it's more of a moral thing at this point.

my hearing is set for 3/18/08. will keep you posted on whether i win.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2008, 09:09 AM
 
104 posts, read 329,158 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakker24 View Post
i DO agree that courts are not places for justice though, and if i didn't have such an airtight case (written documentation, witnesses, video of me turning in my keys, etc) then i'd be worried.

oh and thanks to the guy who said i should research my landlords. a great gem of advice. i rented my place sight unseen, traveling from across country. unfortunately most landlords in LA won't rent to you sight unseen. you get what you pay for.

be cautious in your pronouncements. pursuit of justice is a right that belongs to us all. this guy is scum like you wouldn't believe. keeping my deposit was the nicest of the mean things he's done to tenants in our building. i'd rather drive 800 miles and lose, than let this guy keep my deposit. it's more of a moral thing at this point.

my hearing is set for 3/18/08. will keep you posted on whether i win.
Goodluck with your case and please keep us posted. I'm glad you are going ahead with this rather than forgetting about it like some people have suggested. I'm sure you're not the only person he's done this to and if you win perhaps the courts can finally shut him down.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2008, 08:33 PM
 
4 posts, read 17,751 times
Reputation: 14
Default result of landlord appeal...

Hi all,
For anyone who cares, I had posted previously that I'd successfully sued my landlord for illegally withholding my deposit, harassment, etc. and won, in small claims.

He appealed.

He did not bring an attorney, but he did show up this time (instead of sending some person I didn't know or deal with from the company), and managed to get the amount of damaged reduced but STILL had to pay me my deposit.

What is interesting about this, is the arbitrary nature of justice. i.e. the judge in this case could not disagree that this guy had broken the law, because the paper record was there, he could not demonstrate he'd paid me what little deposit he'd returned on time, he had no receipts, etc.

in fact the check (which i made a copy of) was dated after the due date. and he perjured himself on this.
he also perjured himself, stating i'd returned my garage opener 'in pieces'. i had video showing myself returning the garage opener to the landlord, in ONE piece.

even though this man was caught several times telling lies, and the judge even called him on it, and even though every single claim i'd made was substantiated, i.e. i presented my case well, the judge decided to reduce the damages from 1500 to 550.

Personally I think if you're going to make someone drive 800miles roundtrip TWICE to recover what has already been determined to be YOUR money, and the judge finds in your favor again, that ought to be grounds for MORE damages, not less.

esp. in light of his new perjuries.

go figure.

so I won, but I've got to say I have less respect for judges/commissioners, whose rulings tend to be more to do with ? who knows. he never stated his reason for lowering the amount. he never once found a single fault with my proofs, arguments, or anything.

word to the wise: take VIDEO of yourself turning things in....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2008, 11:48 PM
 
11,726 posts, read 24,729,612 times
Reputation: 7135
post back when you collect.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-27-2008, 02:32 AM
 
14,199 posts, read 26,341,715 times
Reputation: 8357
Two things...

Going to Court is Never a Sure Thing and many that have will advise against it as a waste of time for "small" amounts...

That said, I'm glad you are seeing this through...

Second, Judges often do reduce awards and especially the treble damages portion for failing to account for a Security Deposit in 21 days...

So now, you've got a judgement and the next step is to collect...

Keep us posted on your strategy... Had a friend once that paid a Deputy to stand a Gas Station and collect every dollar collected until his $331 Judgement was paid... It cost a lot for the Deputy... but for my friend it was all about the principle
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-01-2008, 04:04 PM
 
636 posts, read 1,848,260 times
Reputation: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakker24 View Post
Hi all,
For anyone who cares, I had posted previously that I'd successfully sued my landlord for illegally withholding my deposit, harassment, etc. and won, in small claims.

He appealed.

He did not bring an attorney, but he did show up this time (instead of sending some person I didn't know or deal with from the company), and managed to get the amount of damaged reduced but STILL had to pay me my deposit.

What is interesting about this, is the arbitrary nature of justice. i.e. the judge in this case could not disagree that this guy had broken the law, because the paper record was there, he could not demonstrate he'd paid me what little deposit he'd returned on time, he had no receipts, etc.

in fact the check (which i made a copy of) was dated after the due date. and he perjured himself on this.
he also perjured himself, stating i'd returned my garage opener 'in pieces'. i had video showing myself returning the garage opener to the landlord, in ONE piece.

even though this man was caught several times telling lies, and the judge even called him on it, and even though every single claim i'd made was substantiated, i.e. i presented my case well, the judge decided to reduce the damages from 1500 to 550.

Personally I think if you're going to make someone drive 800miles roundtrip TWICE to recover what has already been determined to be YOUR money, and the judge finds in your favor again, that ought to be grounds for MORE damages, not less.

esp. in light of his new perjuries.

go figure.

so I won, but I've got to say I have less respect for judges/commissioners, whose rulings tend to be more to do with ? who knows. he never stated his reason for lowering the amount. he never once found a single fault with my proofs, arguments, or anything.

word to the wise: take VIDEO of yourself turning things in....
I sued my landlord for the rental deposit and won.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > Los Angeles

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top