My Day in Court

The process was not difficult, but it sure moved at a glacial rate. I closed my March blog entry saying, "It would be nice if this thing was resolved in my favor in time to pay the May rent." When I said May, I didn't think I had to specify a year. Clearly I was a little over-optimistic about the speed of things.

When I signed in this morning, I noticed my case had a far lower case number than those heard the past few days. Mine was 12759. Most of the others had a "2" as the first digit. I don't know why it took so long for my hearing to be scheduled. Maybe they considered my case a "priority D" situation. Maybe rather than just waiting for a date to be scheduled, I should have pestered them periodically.

I understand you want friction in the process. The lawsuit should be a last recourse. You should be motivated to call the rat bastards one more time, rather than running right to the nice judge. Yet, it seems like nine months is an awful long time to wait for a small claims hearing.

It took way longer than I would have liked. My consolation is that when the hearing was over I won, and I won big. The judge awarded me everything I asked for.

I will now share with you my crack legal strategy for winning: show up. I showed up, but the apartment folks didn't, which means I won.

I presented my case. The judge verified there was a legal basis for my claims. Nobody was there to refute the claims. So, by default, she gave me everything I asked for.

While I prevailed today, the saga isn't over. I wish it was like Rusty the bailiff escorts me out the door and Doug Llewelyn gives me a check (and a laurel and hearty handshake). Instead, all I got was a piece of paper stamped "judgment."

That judgment means they have a responsibility to pay me, whatever good that does. Until now, at every opportunity they've had to do the responsible thing, they've chosen to do otherwise. They could voluntarily pay and it would be over for everybody. I'm not hopeful that will happen.

I'm pretty sure I will prevail eventually. The judgment allows me to request a lien on their property or attachment of their assets. In the meantime, it just drags on.


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re: My Day in Court

I share your pain.

Over the years, I have brought six cases into small claims court. Two resulted in no judgement; I have collected judgements, with no great effort, in two.
I have two un-collected judgements. Getting the judgement in court may be only a small fraction of the chore. I filed "abstracts of judgement" with county clerks in three of the cases; that seems to be the first step in collecting from an un-willing defendant.

As a Christmas gift, I received "How to Win in Small Claims Court in Texas" which, when I get around to reading it, I hope will give me some guidance on collecting.

re: My Day in Court

Its funny, I've shunned the legal system like the plauge since my divorce (not Jean), I showed up with all my rubber ducks in a row, and the judge took not only my ducks, by everything else, and gave me all her bills. Funny how that works..

Now that I'm wrapped up in AMT disaster, I find myself again in the legal system fighting for the future of my family. I just hope things end up better than my divorce hearing.

re: My Day in Court

I worked for a slumlord, once upon a time. I'm glad you won. Figure out what they're about to sell and put a lien on that - you'll be surprised how fast they pay.

re: My Day in Court

I understand in Texas, you can "garnish" bank accounts, that is probably the best way to get the money out of them. Clearly, each month as they get new income from their current renters, their will be enough money to cover your judgement.

re: My Day in Court

Thanks, Dewey. Here is a good article that summarizes the collection options available to me.