1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Small Claims judgement help

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by KyleW, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Here it is from the court website:
     
  2. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    I would like to add as well that we are asking the judge to change the term he used for the ring. He asked my mother if she had the "Engagement Ring" and responded with no and told the judge that the only ring she had was a cocktail ring that he tried to cluck at a jewelry store but was only going to get $200 for it. So my mom asked if she can have that and he gave it to her. And we are aware that in the state of CA (probably like other states as well) that an engagement ring is like signing a contract, she broke up with him (numerous times) and returned the ring (numerous times) and even has proof of her giving it back at least one of the times.

    Bottom line is, she doesn't want either of the rings anymore. But we have to wait and see if the judge will change what he wrote to what he said verbally.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,108
    Likes Received:
    2,142
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Clear something up for me.

    Your mother is in possession of ONE ring that Mr Sleaze wants back.

    Your issue with the judgment is that the judge called it an engagement ring when the ring in your mother's possession is actually a cocktail ring.

    Does Mr Sleaze want THAT ring back regardless of what it's called?

    If the answer is yes to that question then the request for correction was not necessary and probably isn't going to be addressed by the judge while the mutual exchange of items is still pending.

    Next question. Apparently Mr Sleaze has about $4500 worth of items belonging to your mother and a list was provided to the court. Kindly post a copy of the list or just describe the items by category, type and quantity. I have a good reason for asking which I will reveal after looking at the list.

    .
     
  4. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    List:
    Key things to note, this is an updated copy after the initial hearing and given to the judge last time she went up so items marked with 3* she doesn't really care about getting back. But the fridge and the 65" TV he claims to have "helped" purchase even though he has $0 documented income over the past 6 years they have been together. All receipts and delivery documents are in my mothers name.

    My mothers initial monetary claim was $7500 (max. for counter in CA) and we knew going in that depreciation (only a few months) was going to be used in factoring the worth by the judge which is why we went for the max and decided to let him determine even though I think $4500 is a little too low.

    The ring he wants back is the engagement ring, he never requested that ring back but my mother said she doesn't have the engagement ring only the cocktail ring and said she will give it up right then and there but the judge told her to hold on to it and keep safe for now.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,108
    Likes Received:
    2,142
    Trophy Points:
    113

    1 - What happened to the engagement ring? What did your mother do with it if she doesn't have it now?
    2 - Was the cocktail ring in court when the judge said hold on to it?
    3 - Was the cocktail ring displayed to the judge and the plaintiff in court?
    4 - Did the judge make it clear in court that it was the cocktail ring be returned?
    5 - Did the plaintiff say anything about the ring at that time? Something like "That's not the ring that I want." Or "I want the engagement ring, not the cocktail ring." Or, "That one's fine with me." Or did he just look at the ring and say nothing? Something else?
    6 - Does the cocktail ring and the engagement ring have similar value? If not, how much of a difference is there? What was the purchase price of each?

    I'm thinking that what you call the ring may be a non-issue and that somebody needs to make a good faith effort to swap A ring for the other stuff at the same time, like a prisoner exchange at Checkpoint Charlie.

    Especially since it's your mother that gets the short end of the stick if no swap is made.

    And for that you will need a truck and a couple of guys. What are you doing to arrange that?

    By the way, the 30 day appeal period doesn't start running until the hearing of October 7 when the judge makes the award final if there is no swap.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  6. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    He has given it to her and taken it away. She has always given it back because she knew it has been in his family for ever. She specifically asked for the cocktail ring at one time so that is how she still has that. There are actually 3 rings, the ring my mother has, the engagement ring and apparently some other ring. These rings have always been locked up if my mom wasn't wearing them when he took them away.
    She physically had the ring in her purse in the chair behind her while she was at the table giving her testimony
    No, no one ever requested to see it. She just mentioned that she had it and willing to give it up right there but was instructed not to.
    No he didn't say anything that I can recall. He had no joke, 30 minutes of air time and to be honest, none of his testimony was really about the issue they were in court for. He was attempting to build a case of character against my mom. So a lot of his stuff I actually don't remember. We are getting the recording of the hearing in the mail so I will be able to answer more of what he said then.
    So apparently, when he first proposed to my mom, they took the ring in to get it sized. He asked the jeweler about it (not a real appraisal) and the jeweler said that he can buy it from him for $3K. (Could it be actually worth $7500? Possibly. The jeweler has to make his profit.) He brought out the cocktail ring and said that he would buy that for $200. That is when my mother asked if she can have that one as well and he gave it to her. In court, he told the judge that he had appraisals for the engagement ring and it was appraised at $70K. But somehow my mom "stole" those as well.

    With that last statement said, thats how his entire testimony went. Any evidence that the judge requested was stolen by mom (if he was even talking about the matter at hand).
    I couldn't tell you. I guess the engagement ring was his grandmothers wedding ring. This is the reason why she wouldn't take it and keep if from him. I will admin, my mom isn't perfect but she wouldn't do him that dirty.
    I think I kind of answered this in #5

    Hopefully I answered all your questions. I broke them up to make it easier to read but now it looks like a giant wall of text ;)
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    32,613
    Likes Received:
    4,896
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Kyle, if you've heard this before, I apologize.
    Your mother and her friend chose to play house without benefit of being married.
    Some judges, I count myself in that group, take a dim view of those couple coming to court with the seeking the remedy for married couples, a dissolution of their marriage and distribution of the marital assets.

    Such a remedy doesn't exist for those couples.
    They tend to end up with what your mother as received, "rough" or "street" justice.

    I always asked those couples to take an hour, offered them a conference room, and agree on the distribution.

    I admonished them that should they fail to do so, and continued to desire me to do so, they probably wouldn't like my finding.

    On average, about 9 out of 10 were able to come to such an agreement, which I formalized. The 1 out 10, ended up where your mother has.

    Is there anyway you can get her to see the light?
    She may not get all she wishes, but shed feel better because she crafted the outcome.

    Legally, it's his ring. Calling it a cocktail doesn't mean it couldn't also be an engagement ring.
     
  8. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    I believe that everything I wrote was rather large and maybe some got lost in translation...

    They had to first attempt to get their items before filing a case which did happen to no avail. They then had to go to mediation with the exact same result. The main issue (yes, I am biased towards my mother) is that my mom doesn't have the engagement ring she only has a cocktail ring (she asked for and received) and was more than happy to give it up that day in court or when they set a date to meet and exchange.

    My mom would gladly give the ring back, but knowing him, he is expecting the ring that he proposed to her with which again, she doesn't have.

    My mothers most recent actions by going to the court house to file for a clerical error was an attempt to fix possible one, if not all of these issues:
    1. Get the wording corrected for the ring that she has and the judge verbally acknowledged but some how came out different on paper.
    2. Get the monetary judgment that is in her favor re-evaluated due to her not even getting a chance to see what items he was claiming he purchased before we found out what she was to receive in the mail.
    3. Get the monetary judgment in his favor re-evaluated based on no evidence of value of the ring, and what he was offered for the ring which was $3k
    Granted, we are trying to pull of a hail mary and get a fair judgement based on evidence provided (he had absolutely zero (this is not an exaggeration)) and since he is the Plaintiff, he has the burden of proof. And don't get me wrong, I am not trying to sound like I am talking down on the judge/commissioner (we sat in on traffic cases and he was real nice and looked as though he cared for the offenders), but I just feel that the Plaintiff did a real bad job. I was quite embarrassed for him and I cant even stand the guy my mom was about to marry.
     
  9. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Another post while I am here, I just don't want to add it to another giant post.

    But to be honest I truly believe he has the ring unless he already pawned it for money. Either way, he is trying to double dip. Now here is some facts:
    • He doesn't work
    • He needs home owners insurance but can't get it because of point 1 and if he gets an inspection of his dwelling he will fail due to his roof.
    • He knows my mother broke her leg in Feb at his house so she has to sign a paper indicating where she broke it since she is on government cheese. So he is afraid they will come after him even though I don't think his insurance will be retro-activated.
    • He asked my mom for several thousands of dollars and she said no because they had just got back together at this time and he was on a trial run with her
    And I noticed army judge, you used the term "play(ing) house". The funny thing is, my mothers judge used that, and the Sleaze Bag actually said no, she agreed to pay rent and to pay X amount of $$ a month and that she hadn't paid her rent. I think that was an attempt to try to claim abandonment so he didn't have to return her items. But the judge was smart enough to see through it.
     
  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,108
    Likes Received:
    2,142
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Except for the one about the truck and the guys to load it.

    Yet he got the judgment in his favor for $7500 and your mother got one in her favor for $4500 leaving her owing him $3000 if the swap doesn't come off.

    Common misconception. A wise attorney on another site has this to say about "burden of proof."

    "The term "burden of proof" has been used loosely to cover two types of burdens. The first is the burden of persuasion. In a civil case, that is the burden of the plaintiff to pursuade the fact finder (the jury or judge as the case may be) that he has met the elements of his claim by a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. that his version of the facts is more likely than not the correct version. This burden typically does not shift. It is this burden to which the term burden of proof, used properly, should refer.

    The burden of production is the burden of going forward with evidence on a particular issue. Thus, the plaintiff initially has the burden of production to bring forth evidence supporting his claim (i.e. to make a prima facie case). If he does that, then the burden of production will shift to the defendant to bring forth evidence to rebut the claim made by the plaintiff."

    Apparently Mr Sleaze was able to convince the judge that your mother had the engagement ring and that it was worth $7500.

    Your mother apparently could not present "evidence" to rebut that so the judge had to run with it.

    Your mother was able to present evidence that Mr Sleaze had $4500 worth of her property and he couldn't rebut that so the judge had to run with that.

    I think you and your mother need to be prepared for the following.

    1 - Obviously, no swap is going to occur because your mother has no $7500 ring to return to Mr Sleaze.

    2 - Both parties will go to the hearing on Oct 7 and report that no swap occurred. The judge's ruling mandates that the parties explain why no swap occurred so your mother is free to bring up the correction issue and see how the judge addresses that. I think he won't make any correction. That he awarding $7500 in lieu of a ring that Mr Sleaze said was worth $7500 implies to me that the judge knows the difference between the two rings and that he didn't make a mistake despite what you thought you heard in the courtroom. I could be wrong, but that's what my gut tells me.

    3 - If, at that point, the judge finalizes the two monetary awards without addressing the correction, your mother is free to file the appeal within 30 days and hope she can get a better result in the new trial.

    4 - I don't imagine that Mr Sleaze will come after her for the $3000 because he gets to keep (and sell) all her belongings if she doesn't pay him.

    Yeah, it sucks, but I don't know what else to tell you.
     
  11. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ooops, forgot about that. My sister has a trailer we load the stuff on and I am a pretty buff guy so it shouldn't be a problem. We just have to pick a date and let my sister know so we can get her trailer.
    This is one thing that I don't understand myself. And since I will probably have a lot more to possibly ask and talk about with this, maybe tomorrow or this weekend I can scan the actual paper that was sent in the mail and put it in my Google Drive and shoot you and army judge if he would like a link to it. I grabbed that bit earlier from the court's site but the rest of it is like 5 pages long that goes into more detail. And if I recall in my mind, there are statements from the judge that don't really jive in regards to what is what.
    I wish that would be the case but like I stated earlier, he needs money since he doesn't have anyone to support him anymore. Wishful thinking though and thank you for that haha.

    If possibly we misunderstood the judge, I wonder why he would tell my mom that she has to give back the ring that was a gift which was never confirmed nor denied by the other side in order to make a swap?
    So this means that he can for the most part say whatever and my mother has to figure out a way to disprove it? He is not required to provide any solid facts as to why his claim is true? He is allowed to say: "She took this from my house so she owes me $XXX" and my mom can't say "I lived there but didn't take that item"?

    Maybe I am not understanding how this is actually playing out because I find it hard to believe that this is possible. I understand the law and life isn't always fair but I figured that something like that couldn't actually happen, otherwise people could lose up to $10K non stop.

    I know you guys are giving the best answers on the situation with what I am able to provide or have provided and I am really grateful for you guys taking the time.
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,108
    Likes Received:
    2,142
    Trophy Points:
    113

    That appears to be exactly what DID happen based on the judge's decision.

    I think you have to accept that what happened happened and no amount of armchair quarterbacking is ever going to allow any of us to understand or explain how it happened no matter how many bits and pieces of information you keep throwing into the mix.

    This is no reflection on you, or your mother, but people who lose lawsuits ALWAYS claim that the judge made a mistake and the other party lied.

    I've been on legal websites for 15 years and have seen the same stories thousands of times.

    I've written what I think is likely to happen if your mother and Mr Sleaze don't make the swap by the next hearing.

    I think you will have to wait for the results of the hearing. Nothing is going to change until then.
     
  13. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Well we have been talking about a possible appeal and hopefully we can get a much more fair shake at a hearing instead of it being more one sided.
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    32,613
    Likes Received:
    4,896
    Trophy Points:
    113


    Playing house is often used by judges to refer to those who live as if they're married, then want the courts to treat their break up as a divorce.

    I stand by original admonition, it is always better to negotiate your own settlement, rather than live with the one a judge imposes.
     
  15. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    That's what they tried but he didn't want what she was able to give. And as it stands, he may have gotten the upper hand for now.

    And yeah, I've heard the term but I just thought it was amusing to hear him say that they were not playing house and playing roommates instead which doesn't add up and he just wanted to say my mom abandoned all her belongings.
     
  16. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    32,613
    Likes Received:
    4,896
    Trophy Points:
    113


    Playing house, or even taking a roommate as an adult is very risky, and rarely works out.

    Why?

    Marriages fail at a steady 50% rate annually.

    Life's little secret, people do better on their own, living alone.

    If I outlive my wife, I plan to live out my remaining years alone, peacefully, blissfully alone.
     
  17. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Agreed!!!
    You know what the #1 cause of divorce is?

    Marriage
     
  18. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    32,613
    Likes Received:
    4,896
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Bingo. Jackpot. LOL
     
  19. KyleW

    KyleW Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Just a quick update....

    The paper work my mother submitted back to the court house about the judgment worked. Now she must give back any rings that she has of his instead of only the ring she doesn't have.

    What gets me is how even by the Plaintiff's own admission (we received the recordings in the mail as well), he even told the judge that he gave her a ring which wasn't the ring he was suing over. But glad to see that this will hopefully be over. My mom tried contacting him to set up a date to make the exchange and still no word from him.
     
  20. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,108
    Likes Received:
    2,142
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I suggest she put a demand in writing to him to start laying a paper trail and keep sending those written demands once a week.

    If the hearing date comes with no swap, she can present the written evidence of her attempts to comply with the judgment and ask that Mr Sleaze be cited for contempt.
     

Share This Page