No one forces any party to get an attorney. It’s for that party’s own convenience.On the other hand, the party litigating pro se (self represented; also “pro per”) usually does so for lack of funds to pay for an attorney.The party with an attorney saves his/her own time and effort; the party without any attorney must work full-time as his own attorney. He is required by the courts to follow every rule and meet a standard of the court’s own making. Right now the courts refuse to award any attorneys fees to a litigant operating as his own attorney with the rationale being that the pro se did not expend any money for a “real” attorney to represent him.
Why should the “wealthier” of the two parties be rewarded for paying for an attorney? Or rather, why should the person representing himself be denied compensation for all the work he had to do in a case?When a pro se litigant is a defendant in a case, it becomes even more unfair, because he is the one being hauled into court by someone else and being forced to defend himself.
Many people operating pro se work a regular job.Is one to assume that those people magically get to attend every court appearance for free or that the filing of a document in court may not require them to take time off from work?Who’s paying?I would argue that the pro se litigant pays as much as the wealthier one and that pro se litigants should be able to recover “attorneys” fees just like those who pay to have someone else represent them so they can go about their lives carefree.
The legal system is entirely unfair in this regard.Either all parties are entitled to fees or no parties are entitled.I prefer that no party get fees.Often the legal system requires that each party pay his/her own way, however, there are many statutes that allow for the award of attorney fees and costs. In many states if you simply make a motion and lose or oppose a motion and lose or you act or don’t act, you can be subject to sanctions and have to pay the other party’s attorneys’ fees.The whole process should be done away with. If the wealthier party can afford an attorney, good for him, but the less fortunate should not be penalized which is precisely what’s happening now.
A lawyer can change anywhere from $250 to $1,000 or more an hour. That’s well beyond above your average worker’s salary. That means you might have to pay those exorbitant costs if attorneys’ fees are awarded against you. And since the attorney can just claim that he spent 10 hours working on a motion, for example, you’d have to pay for his 10 hours and more in the way of costs (filing the motion, travel, parking fees, etc.).He has offered no real proof, for one thing. It’s simply his word. And if he did spend 10 hours preparing a motion, you can bet the pro se litigant was forced to spend ten times as much time on a motion or an opposition to the attorney’s motion because the pro se has far fewer resources to pull from.
If the wealthier party had to absorb his own costs at all times, maybe then they’d be a little more judicious in how they work the case. A wealthier party up against a less fortunate party will try to take advantage, knowing that the opposition can never prevail in getting his or her own attorney fee awards. They’ll just keep rolling over you.
This morning, CNN ran a report about a plethora of attorney suicides. They’re apparently #4 on the list of professionals who commit suicide the most. Although the report highlighted a bunch of lawyers in Kentucky, it did state that, in general, stress was the cause because their profession deals with so much conflict. The report forgot to mention lying and cheating (theirs). Maybe they commit suicide because they can’t stand looking at themselves in the mirror anymore.
I’d like to say I feel sorry for them but I don’t. I think more of them should bite the bullet. Maybe the entire profession would go away and only people/companies that represent themselves would be allowed in court. I also think judges should hop on that bandwagon, preferably starting with those Supreme Court bumblers, and of course Dagger Lady Judge, the highlight of my Big Bully Bank Case, may she R.I.P … well, maybe not so peacefully.
“As more and more of our people devoted themselves to the law, the law had to become more complex to justify them all.” – This quote comes from an episode of the sci-fi TV Show “Farscape” (on air in the year 2000) in which an alien described his planet’s perverted legal system.
Shit, even aliens and entertainment writers know that the legal profession is a perverted contrivance designed to efficiently aggravate people and situations and penalize those who can least afford to pay.
On April 2, 2013, I filed a complaint against dagger lady judge with the Commission on Judicial Performance. Not that I expected anything to come of it, of course, but because it was something that I really felt needed to be done. That judge was so prejudiced against self-represented parties that I simply had to say something. In my complaint, I also cited her refusal to order multiple sanctions against all the defaulting attorneys.
The Commission’s response came on May 18th saying that the judge can do whatever the fuck she pleases.
So why did I, as a self-represented party, have to jump through hoops to follow the court’s bullshit rules and the attorneys didn’t? Because the whole system is stacked against us. Judges and attorneys despise us. Well, the feeling’s mutual. It’s not the jury that’s rigged. It’s the legal system.
Starting this past April, courts have been closing down and hours shortened all around the state over the latest “budget crisis”. The courts claim they simply don’t have the money to operate. That’s because the judges don’t collect fees from the super rich DEFAULTING ATTORNEYS OF THE BIG BULLY BANKS AND THEIR GOOSE STEPPING GOONS. Insurance company law firms are earning a bundle from the big bully banks that have ruined our country and clogged the legal system with their fraudulent foreclosures.
The attorney for the two defendant big bully banks in my case, who was hired to mash me into the ground after the banks’ phase 1 attorneys couldn’t get rid of me, told the mediator judge to make sure that I knew that his services cost $90,000. I think he was on the case for approximately six months. His fees were over twice as much as the other insurance company attorneys for the banks’ goose stepping goons who were in it from the start. They too insisted that the mediator judge spill the beans on their ludicrous fees so that I’d shiver in my boots and fold like a limp dick.
Bank whores, that’s what they all are, including dagger lady judge. They have no self respect so they surely deserve no respect from the rest of us.
On March 22 we headed back to court for a final appearance before dagger lady judge to tell her that we’ve all done our parts to conclude the case. Except, not everyone did his/her part. The slimy stooge of a realtor and her peacock-strutting, bombastic, blithering, brain dead bozo attorney absolutely refused to abide by the settlement terms.
I made sure the judge knew that he was the same jerk who flouted the rules of court by not even filing the mandatory settlement conference brief which was required five days before the hearing on January 25th. But, just as predicted, dagger lady judge refused to order sanctions against him. What the hell does it take for an attorney to get bitch-slapped by that bitch? She just about laughed in my face when I brought up the subject of his infractions. All she wanted to do was to shove us out the door as quickly as possible. The only reason the case is over is because another defendant’s attorney picked up the slack to resolve the issue. Dagger lady wasn’t impressed.
The attorney for the property management company filed his brief two days before the Jan. 25th hearing and the big bully banks, who were still defendants at the time it was due, simply couldn’t be bothered to follow the law (again). They sent theirs in the day before the hearing. Not one of them got so much as a harsh word either from the mediation judge or dagger lady. It’s as if the infractions never happened. Meanwhile, dagger lady previously gave me her song and dance routine about her needing to “follow the law” when she so cavalierly ruled against me in all those summary judgment motions. I heard her warn another pro per to “follow the law” as that poor woman headed toward trial. This judge’s disdain of self-represented parties is so transparent. Such a pathetic hypocrite.
Mr. Blockhead, the bozo attorney is also the one who allowed his realtor-client to use his Bar number and pass herself off as an attorney when she filed a TRO against my co-plaintiff because he sent her some mail. The realtor also refused to accept certified mail court documents from us when she was, for a short time, acting on her own behalf, and legally obligated to receive them.
Dealing with these dynamic duo-duds was like being trapped in a clown car. “Dumb and Dumber” on steroids. At least I knew where the other defendants and their attorneys stood, like Al Pacino in “Scarface”, whipping out their “little friend” to shoot me in the back, over and over again. I kept getting back up, like “The Terminator” … or “Rocky”. But alas, now I shall walk not so silently into the sunset … after a few more paragraphs.
Depo Take 2
Right before our Mandatory Settlement Conference on January 25, 2013, the attorney for the property management company I’ve affectionately termed “PMS”, ordered a deposition for a consumer reporter who had tried to help us after the attempted break-in/threats by the local trash-out company his clients hired. Not that the reporter had any relevant information to provide, but simply because he was another person they could abuse with their bullshit bullying tactics. And, of course, when one attorney calls a depo, all the other lawyers flock to it like the vultures they are to take stabs at the poor deponent.
“Rules Are made to be Broken”
I’m guessing the first person who came up with that line was an attorney. Violating the settlement, no MSC Briefs, Discovery abuses, no responses to Meet & and Confer letters through aggressive stupidity and inability to understand the English language. Imagine an attorney who claims not to understand the term “legal” and a realtor who can’t comprehend the word “foreclosed”.
There was so much wrong about the circumstances in our case and so much harm caused to me, but it didn’t mean anything in the long run. The courts don’t give a rat’s ass about the truth. I wonder who came up with the phrase “rat’s ass”. I mean I wouldn’t want anything to do with a “rat’s ass” whether truth was involved or not. Speaking of a rat’s ass, I would be inclined to allow dagger lady judge to enjoy the company of one in a locked cage for 20-to-life.
I’m having a supply of voodoo dolls made up for each of the defendants and their attorneys. I’ve “independently contracted” with a Haitian group in Miami to represent my interests and send out the voodoo dolls. That way I won’t be held liable if some horrible accident befalls any of them. I hear the Haitians are starting a Voodoo Doll of the Month Club, in fact.
The trash out slugs still work for “PMS” and “PMS” still works for the banks; as far as I know the elephant noise making realtor is still in the mix too and all of them seem to be supremely happy over their existence together no matter how many lawsuits come their way. The attorneys right now are doing a jig knowing they’ve put one over another pro per.
A Farewell to Arms
There will always be a special place in my heart for all the defendants and their henchmen. “Goodnight and Good Luck” and good fucking riddance. They’ll certainly have no trouble finding other poor innocent folk to foreclose, rob, attack, then fuck over and make “A Fist Full of Dollars” in the process. That’s the way big bully banks and their idiot mortgage serving companies operate in America.
Remember: coming soon to a bookstore near you: “Home Sweet Home-Foreclosed, A Satirical Look at Bastard Bankers, Foreclosure Forging Fiends and the Goose Stepping Goons That Support Them”. In the meantime, see you at the cinema!
Once the court sets a trial date for your case you can be sure you’ll have to run an obstacle course to get there.
The defendants don’t want you to go to trial and neither do the courts. That’s why, after the summary judgments, they have the MANDATORY Settlement Conference. Anyone left standing after summary judgment is now hauled before a mediator judge then blindfolded and shot. Just kidding.
Our Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) was scheduled the same day (Jan. 25, 2013) as the summary judgment hearing for “PMS”, the property management company. “PMS” had won. So, it was a little hard going into the MSC after really being shot … down.
All that remained to negotiate were just one issue of trespass against the trash out company and our entire case against the realtor, oh, and whether or not we were going to appeal all the summary judgment/adjudication rulings. I’m pretty certain at that point I had every intention of appealing but since it was a mandatory conference and I had little choice but to attend, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
No So Great Expectations
I didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised when we were escorted into the judge’s chambers and allowed to spill our guts about what had happened and what we’ve been up against with the “vicious”, “abusive”, “nasty”, “stupid”, “arrogant”, “rude”, “blockheaded” defendants and their attorneys. The judge listened. Hey, I like this guy! Finally, someone was listening to us. Of course, he was being paid to listen to the “vicious”, “abusive”, “nasty”, “stupid”, “arrogant”, “rude”, “blockheaded” defendants and their attorneys, also.
I liked that this judge was wearing a suit and not that stupid black robe. He came across as a regular guy, someone I could relate to and who could relate to me, unlike that devil-robed lady trial court judge with the tats of a bloody dagger that snaked around her neck and the letters “f” and “u” under each eye.
The only parties not present at the MSC were the banks, the entities that started the whole mess, but were clever enough to have kept a distance from the legal fray by simply hiring goose-stepping goons to do their dirty work. When I gazed out the window from the judge’s chambers I thought I saw the banks’ attorney waving at me from what looked like the official “Bank Mobile” but it was just a taco vendor in his elaborate food truck.
We made our case to the mediator judge, even showed him some evidence like this warning sign we had displayed in our window at the time the trash out company showed up.
I forgot to mention earlier that another one of the trash-out company’s versions of the incident was that they thought the home was vacant which, according to them, would have given them carte blanche to break in.
After we finished imparting our tales of woe, we all broke for lunch, after which the judge began meeting separately with the defendants and their attorneys. I was really pissed that they got to sit in the same chairs in his nice office that we had. He should have taken them down to the dungeon. I’m sure the court has one. From what I heard from the bailiff, it’s called the “cafeteria”.
The judge finally got through the lot of them and when he met with us again he told us that we were his favorites. Just kidding. It’s just that after having been so abused by the defendants, their attorneys and then the trial court judge, it was nice to have someone on our side, at least that’s how I imagined it.
By the end of the very long day the judge had managed to hammer out some kind of agreement palatable on some level between all the parties only to have the lunatic realtor and her blockhead attorney throw a monkey wrench into it. How much more damage was the banks’ bimbo bitch going to inflict upon us?
The judge announced we had a deal albeit with a “wrinkle” that definitely needed ironing out. I wondered if perhaps we couldn’t just borrow the giant dumpster from the trash-out company to roll over the wrinkle and bury her body under the pine cones.
We were ordered back the following week to continue hashing out a settlement. You know what they say about settlements? … ‘the only good settlement is one in which no one is happy’. Bullshit, again. Big bully banks and their big goose stepping goons get exactly what they want and they’re happy as pigs in a blanket.
Feb. 1, 2013, Day 2 MSC
So here we were again waiting in the courtroom for the judge to call us in. The courtroom temperature was very chilly to match the atmosphere of the parties forced to attend the mediation. Every party “allegedly” wants their disputes to end. “Allegedly”, I love that word. It holds myriad meanings, such as “maybe”, “supposedly … or … “not a chance in hell”.
This time our case was not the only one being negotiated by the judge; he was juggling at least four others, running back and forth among the parties like a whirling dervish. Good exercise for him. By the looks on some of those attorneys faces, I figured they were in the “not a chance in hell” category.
While we waited the bailiff regaled us court-sitters with dining suggestions and cell phone charging options and helpful products. I wanted to regale them with excerpts from my legal blog.
The realtor’s second attorney made a big issue of not being allowed to bring her cell phone charger through courthouse security. The bailiff cited security reasons. They have a point. You could use the cord to strangle your opponent. By the same token, laptops are heavy enough to whack someone effectively in the head. Still nothing works better than papering someone to death. It’s slow and methodical, just the way those guys like it.
Just the week before, Ms. Slime’s main squeeze attorney told a joke loud enough for everyone in the court to hear, outside the presence of the mediator judge, though. It had to do with a drowning kid and a molester priest. It would have been something I’d expect to hear on “Real Time With Bill Maher”, not in a courtroom. Chuckles all around the realtor’s camp.
It once again came time to break for lunch. The judge was obviously keeping our jolly bunch for last. Bore people to death – torture by mediation. I knew what he was doing.
Then, after the break, the judge ensconced each party in my case in different rooms; we plaintiffs had to stay seated in the shitty courtroom while the others were in his chambers or in the jury room. I’ve never seen a jury room. I felt deprived. The judge had strapped on his roller skates and was breezing from room to room, looking like he was having way too much fun, while the rest of us, no doubt, were suffering upset stomachs from the cafeteria food.
We were all playing a version of “Let’s Make a Deal” and one was indeed struck. The judge popped on his devil robe to make it official. I hated that part. It’s when you have to agree to the deal .. which always seems to be a slightly different version than what you thought it was going to be.
A second realtor wrinkle reared its ugly head. She actually sat there in front of the mediator judge and lied repeatedly and we plaintiffs seemed to be the only ones who noticed. The banks’ bimbo bitch couldn’t tell the truth if she were being waterboarded by “24”‘s Jack Bauer himself.
We were all given until March 22, 2013 to seal the deal. That’s when we have to appear in court to tell dagger lady that we’ll be out of her hair for good.
Why am I worried?
Just one day after posting the above, I get a letter from the realtor’s blockheaded attorney saying “there will be no settlement”. They’re pathological liars. I just can’t figure out if it’s the dog wagging the tail or the other way around. Does the realtor approve of her attorney’s belligerent nonsensical tactics? What I do know is that they should all be institutionalized, preferably at “American Horror Story: Asylum”. Maybe “Bloody Face” can set them straight.
About a week after the banks sent their motions for summary judgment/adjudication, the attorneys for the local trash out company sent their motions and within a week after that came the one from the property management company. Actually there were two MSJs from “PMS”. They sent separate motions against each Plaintiff. This is what’s referred to as “MSJ gang-banging” in the legal trade.
When the defendants file their papers, you get a chance to oppose them. This consists of no less than 8 or 9 separate documents encompassing at least a hundred pages, depending upon the complexity of your case, exhibits and all. From legal commentary I’ve read about the procedure, the judge doesn’t even bother to read everything you’re forced to prepare. And from experience, I’m positive that is indeed true. The courts say about summary judgments that you don’t have to prove your whole case. Bullshit. Yes you do. You’ll never make it to trial if you don’t.
In their motion papers, the trash-out slugs argued that they have high standards of operating procedure so they couldn’t possibly have done the things I accused them of doing: trespassing, refusing to leave when ordered to do so, menacing, making threats, trying to break into my home and invading my privacy, refusing to identify themselves to me or the sheriff. They claimed that the property management company “PMS” ordered them to do everything (except for the menacing and attempted break-in actions; that they did all on their own). But, just in case they do break in, “PMS” tells its contractors how to proceed – “re-secure” the property and run away. The “PMS” work order states in no uncertain terms that contractors must take unauthorized photos of homes known to be occupied. Presumably that is what prompted the trash out slugs to plow through me in their rush to get to my back door and take more photos. Obviously missing a photo opportunity is not their standard operating procedure. Maybe in future when they see a woman screaming from her front porch at them to STOP, HALT, CEASE & DESIST, they’ll take her seriously.
The trash out guys claim they just came to the property, said “hi” and left. Evidence I had showed that the V.P. for the property management company said they told her they couldn’t get near the house because they saw some woman screaming at them. Another version has the president of the trash out company telling “PMS” that his guys saw an open window and tried to lift it further but were caught in the act by a screaming woman.
Sounds like one of those “He said, She said cases, right? Well, during the hearing on January 24th for the trash out company’s MSJ, I suggested to the judge that we let a jury of reasonable people sort out who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. But that was not something she was willing to entertain. We little people apparently just don’t deserve a trial.
The outcome was that the judge let stand only one issue, trespass, and only within the narrowed margin of them not leaving from the time I told them to get the fuck out of there, which was done as soon as I appeared on my porch and BEFORE they threatened and menaced me, plowed through me, took photos, moved to the back of the house, took more photos, tried to break in, moved to the side of the house, took even more photos …
When an appeals court overturns a trial court, it will say that “the trial court erred in granting the motion.” I don’t have to be so polite. The judge didn’t just err, she turned logic into the same manure pile I cited in earlier posts.
The Big IF
IF the cause of action for trespass was allowed to stand, even within that narrow margin, then everything the trash out slugs did from that point forward was a legitimate and actionable claim, deserving of a jury trial. That means the invasion of privacy, the negligence and the emotional distress were all valid based on the allowed claim for trespass. But, not with this judge. I imagine she doesn’t do well with those connect-the-dots games either. What if she had been the little alien guy in “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial”? Why she would never have discovered those Reese’s Pieces or Elliot and she would have died a horrible death, abandoned on a strange planet.
“PMS”: Talk About Pain, Gas, Bloating and Aggravation!
The very next day, on January 25, 2013, we had the MSJ hearings for the two motions by the property management company, one against each Plaintiff. Going in, we knew this was going to be one big fucking farce. We slowly made our way through the halls of (in)justice to “Stalag 17″, I mean Department 17 …
The attorney for “PMS” stood up and told the judge that he needed to file two separate motions against us because the circumstances were “so different” (no, they weren’t, it was just to make more work for us) and the judge nodded in sympathy saying “I agree” with this pathetic sad-sack look on her face as if to say “oh, you poor guy, it must have been just awful for you.” I nearly puked.
In his motion papers, the “PMS” attorney called me ignorant not once but three times. Did that judge really need any more convincing? Obviously she already thought I was simply too ignorant to have drafted anything in my own name to effectively prosecute my case because she didn’t read a thing I wrote, otherwise she would have “liberally construed” everything I said and I’d be home free … or at least on my way to trial. But no. This judge decided that the property management company also had no responsibility for anything even though they clearly tell their contractors to invade people’s privacy, trespass and instruct them on how to proceed when breaking into a home that’s later discovered to be occupied. No responsibility; no negligent hire; and lying and concealment are all A-OKAY because they owe no duty to you, no duty NOT to be negligent. I take it all back, the trash out company guys aren’t slugs at all; we’re the slugs. Innocent people minding our own businesses can be menaced and threatened because the courts have ruled that someone can shit all over us everyday of the week. When Rodney Dangerfield said he gets no respect, he was speaking for all of us without even knowing it.
Liability in General & Legal Citations
Here are a few things I quoted in my opposition papers to the various defendants’ MSJs.
Barron’s Law Dictionary defines ejectment as “a legal action brought by one claiming a right to possess real property against another who possesses the premises adversely or who is a holdover tenant who remains beyond that termination of a lease but who is not merely a trespasser.” UTTERLY USELESS. The judge ruled that the second a property is foreclosed everyone still occupying it is automatically a trespasser. Fuck Barron’s Law Dictionary, I say.
California Civil Code 1714(a) establishes the fundamental principle of negligence liability, providing: “Every one is responsible, not only for the result of his willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his want of ordinary skill in the management of his property or person, …” FORGET IT – doesn’t mean a thing.
Far West Financial Corp. v. D & S Co. (1988) 46 Cal.3d 796, 812, 251 Cal.Rptr. 202, 760 P.2d 399 [“there are many instances in which a defendant who is vicariously liable for another’s acts may also bear some direct responsibility for an accident, either on the basis of its own action—for example, the negligent hiring of an agent—or of its own inaction—for example, the failure to provide adequate supervision of the agent’s work”. DON’T BOTHER with this one either. The judge sure didn’t.
“An invasion of privacy occurs where one intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude, seclusion, private affairs or concerns of another in a manner that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.” (Schulman v. Group W Productions, Inc. (1998) 18 Cal.4th 200, 231), also (Marich v. MGM/UA Telecommunications, Inc. (2003) 113 Cal.App.4th 415, 421.) NOPE! The judge ruled that menacing, threats, attempted break-in and unauthorized photo-taking don’t count.
“The person entitled to stop a wrongful and unauthorized entry is not necessarily the fee simple owner or the owner’s agent, but the person in possession of the property – who could be the fee owner, a tenant or even a person in wrongful possession. [Allen v. McMillion (1978) 82 CA3d 211] The occupant of the property, who might be other than the fee owner, can recover money damages for his injuries resulting from a trespass. Conversely, damage to the fee owner’s property caused by a person who is in rightful possession, such as a tenant, is not a trespass, it is waste.” [Smith v. Cap Concrete (1982) 133 CA3d 769] HELL NO!
I even tried these to show that laws DO EXIST in California to protect people despite foreclosure. Gross v. Superior Court, 171 Cal. App. 3d 265, 217 Cal. Rptr. 284 (Ct. App. 1985) Court of Appeal held that: that statute which allows eviction by unlawful detainer proceeding where property has been sold through foreclosure did not preempt rent stabilization ordinance which limited the grounds for eviction; that purchaser of property at foreclosure proceeding, as successor to the landlord, was subject to rent stabilization ordinance; that purchaser failed to demonstrate that it had grounds under rent stabilization ordinance to evict the existing tenants. A tenant under a subordinated lease who remains in possession after the foreclosure sale does so as a holdover tenant, that is, a tenant at sufferance. Aviel v. Ng, 161 Cal. App. 4th 809, 74 Cal. Rptr. 3d 200 (2008). NO FUCKING DICE!
Tell me again how the courts are required to “liberally construe” my evidence and I’ll tell you where to shove it.
The trash out guys hide behind the property management company (“PMS”) and “PMS” hides behind its contractors. Why it’s a virtual daisy chain. And who’s leading this conga line fuck fest? The big bully banks. OOMPAH!
MSJ stands for Motion for Summary Judgment. It’s a way for a party to an action to claim that there are no issues at hand thus no need for a trial. What it really is the legislature’s and court’s way to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial. From my perspective as a non attorney litigant, I’ll break this down the way any reasonable person would, that there is absolutely no justice in this so-called “justice system” and it should never be referred to as such. It’s simply a legal system and a poor one at that. Still, you shouldn’t compare it to some of the more medieval systems you see around the world. We are, after all, a civilized nation, even though we allow big bully banks and some of our largest corporations to get away with murder literally and figuratively. If you’re just popping into my legal blog with this chapter, I urge you to go back to the top starting with Part 1 to understand the issues of my case.
As promised, the banks’ attorney filed his motion for summary judgment against us mid October 2012 which was about a month and a half after the ludicrous deposition grilling of me and my partner plaintiff by all the attorneys in this lawsuit. And just as he promised, he would win. The hearing took place on January 14, 2013. Here’s how this debacle played out no thanks to the judge at one California Superior Court.
First, throughout my chapters on these motions for summary judgment, keep in mind this important legal citation: “If the plaintiff opposing summary judgment presents evidence demonstrating the existence of a disputed material fact, the motion must be denied. Throughout the process, the trial court “must consider all of the evidence and all of the inferences drawn therefrom.” The moving party’s evidence is strictly construed, while the opponent’s is liberally construed. It comes from Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co., a case that’s supposed to be some kind of legal bible when it comes to summary judgment matters.
In my case the two banks were the “moving parties” … the pushers of the papers. I like to think of them kinda like drug pushers … because they don’t care who they hurt: seniors, veterans, the mentally ill … I’ve read about foreclosure situations involving all these categories of people. “Get off my property you old, retarded, PTSD-afflicted veteran, TRESPASSER!” — That’s the wording they use in a letter the banks now include in every mortgage modification denial they send out.
Matter of Fact, Matter of Law
The defendants kept proclaiming that as a “Matter of Law” they were entitled to summary judgment in their favor without benefit of trial. A legal dictionary explains this concept: Matter of law is distinguished from matter of fact. All questions concerning the determination of fact are for the jury, though a judge may determine the facts if a jury trial is waived or is not permitted under the law. Further, ‘courts rule on all matters of law, including pretrial motions. Their decisions are based on statutes, rules of evidence and procedure, and the body of relevant case law. When the facts in a civil action are NOT in dispute, one or both of the parties may request a court to make a summary judgment. Summary judgment is purely a matter of law; the court accepts the relevant facts as presented by the party opposing (in this case, ME) summary judgment and renders a decision based on the applicable legal principles. But, do matters of fact ever interpose themselves upon matters of law such that a trial becomes imperative?
The defendant banks kept saying I was a “trespasser” the second they foreclosed on my landlord. Apparently case law supports that contention. Apparently, also, the courts are not the least bit concerned with the particular circumstances surrounding a case. That’s like someone saying “You shot the Sheriff” to which you respond “NO, I DIDN’T.” and you explain why and the court then rules, as a “Matter of Law”, that anyone who shoots a sheriff should be hanged by the neck until dead because that’s what the penal code and relevant case law says.
Issue 1: Trespassers versus Tenants
According to the banks it doesn’t matter if you had a lease and lived on a property for 20 years. It’s as if you just walked in off the street and set up camp on their property and interrupted one of their foreclosure gang-bangs.
The banks cited one case that supported that contention and I cited others to support my claim that I had been a tenant with a long-term lease who had no knowledge of foreclosure and was never ordered to leave by anyone.
Even though there’s a federal law, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, that attempts to safeguard some rights for tenants, and numerous California laws protecting tenants and citizens in general from invasion of privacy and trespass, the trial court judge sided with the banks. Now, that I was an official “trespasser” and there are no laws in the entire state of California to protect any of my rights, according to the banks and the court, my case fell apart like a stack of dominoes. Didn’t see that coming. Shit, even illegal immigrants in this country have more rights than I do.
Remember, I didn’t own the property; I wasn’t privy to mortgage and foreclosure actions; there was no unlawful detainer against me; there was no notice to vacate; the big bully bank didn’t perfect its title to the property until nearly two months after acquiring it at an auction sale. I pointed out all these facts in my opposition papers, of course, but being a mere pro per (self represented party), the great unwashed that dare enter the hallowed halls of (in)justice, I was ignored and derided.
The judge seemed more interested in what was on her computer and what the two attorneys at the back of the court room were saying to each other rather than listening to me while I made my oral arguments against the motion. I kept waiting for her to admonish those idiots for speaking while she was on the bench. After all, there’s a big “Keep Quiet” sign for all to see. But it never happened.
When I got home I wanted to kick myself for not having the guts to have said something myself. I’m confident that one day I’ll get to play one of those kick-ass attorneys on TV like James Spader did in “Boston Legal”. Maybe then I’ll get some tiny bit of revenge by tearing that actor-judge a new asshole. I may have to write myself a show, but I’m game. I’m already planning a book on this whole case. Any literary agents out there reading this? It’d make a good movie too. I think Meryl Streep would be excellent playing me. I’m “Legally Blonde” and loving it, but we blondes only have more fun when we go into kung fu mode.
By the way, as if being fucked by the judge’s rulings aren’t bad enough, I checked the court’s website for confirmation of the Jan. 14th hearing and saw this little tidbit: “PARTIES STIPULATE TO WAIVE THE CLERK TAKING DOWN THE STIPULATION VERBATIM AND WILL RELY ON THE REPORTER’S TRANSCRIPT.”
I called and pointed out to the judge’s clerk that at the hearing, I was never asked and never stipulated to anything. She swore up and down that both parties had. Now I see that same statement appears on the Jan 24th MSJ hearing for more of my defendants. I don’t know what kind of game these people are playing, but as I said pro pers get no respect. I got the defendants lying; I got the attorneys lying and now the court clerk. Christ almighty.
Throughout my case, I’ve argued that I was menaced and threatened by some of these defendants who also tried to break into my home, after trespassing and invading my privacy … and that all defendants engaged in a series of negligent and intentional acts (lying, concealment, harassment, termination and interruption of utilities), all resulting in severe emotional distress. Yet in his motion and in oral arguments before the judge, the banks’ attorney said ‘the only thing Marin claims is that someone came to her property, a few words were exchanged and then they left.’ Huh? What’s this, part of the blooper reel from “While You Were Sleeping”? Maybe I should have used sign language and semaphore to get my points across.
Meanwhile, the little wheels in my head keep coming back to those cute little phrases: Throughout the process, the trial court “must consider all of the evidence and all of the inferences drawn therefrom. The moving party’s evidence is strictly construed, while the opponent’s is liberally construed.” Oh, please … it’s bigger bullshit than what I faced during Discovery.
Issue 2: Liability:
The banks argued that everyone they hired was an independent contractor responsible for their own illegal actions and the banks could not be held liable for anyone else’s behavior. Not true. Principals can be held liable under certain circumstances. It has to do with how much control the principal has over the contractor, thus making him or her an agent/representative, or if the hiring of that contractor was negligent. I had laid out a bevy of charges against my defendants and stated in my complaint that if defendants had not sent the trash out company to my home, Plaintiffs would not have suffered severe emotional distress. Apparently the court was unable to “liberally construe” that the sending of menacing and abusive, privacy invading scumbags constituted negligent hiring. She ruled that the banks had no responsibility for them or the realtor who was under the complete control of the banks as to when to offer and how much to offer for a cash-for-keys arrangement to get us to vacate quickly.
Issues 3 and 4: Negligence and Infliction of Emotional Distress: Because the court ruled we were trespassers and that the bank had no liability for the actions of the scumbags they hire, the banks therefore were not negligent for having our utilities interrupted and terminated or for the threats, menacing, invasion of privacy and trespass. And because all these causes of action were sunk in the biggest pile of manure I’ve seen since my days as an equestrian, I couldn’t have a claim for punitive damages (Issue 6) left standing even though these two banks do the shitty things they do on a daily basis. There is no punishment for their standard operating procedure. They are free to bounce around the country, kicking people out of their homes, suing them, rolling over them with dumpster driving thugs and lying realtors.
If YOU feel your home is in danger of being invaded such as mine was, do not, I repeat, do NOT, under any circumstances, set booby traps on your property to catch the goose stepping slugs they send. If the slugs get hurt because you’ve dug a deep, deep hole and covered if over with pine cones, you’ll be the one carted off and imprisoned. Here’s what you should do instead — write a blog!
What else should you do?
You must immediately scream at the slugs to “HALT” (or “I’ll shoot”) and “LEAVE” the second you see their tank and dumpster roll onto your property.
What else could you do?
After consulting with experts in the field of home protection against goose-stepping slugs, I was told that you could set up video surveillance to catch the slugs in the act. They also suggested that you take down the slugs’ license plate number, bring your camera and take pictures. Of course, if you really feel threatened and if you’re in a remote area like I was, calling the sheriff or police and expecting them to show up in time is usually not an option. These experts then suggested that you sic your German Shepherd or Doberman on them. Even tiny yappers may do the trick. They pointed out that the dogs will be considered independent contractors so you won’t be held liable for their actions. And since you didn’t actually negligently hire the dogs, they can’t get you there either. And when all else fails, they suggested that you throw the very same pine cones at them that you were thinking of using to cover over that deep dark hole you almost dug.
Make Room for Yogi (on the left) I wanted to bring my cat Yogi to the hearing in a little travel bag reminiscent of “Legally Blonde”’s Bruiser but Yogi’s a Siamese and very vocal. He might have disrupted the proceedings with howls of protest as the judge ruled against me.
The banks’ summary judgment motion was adjudicated in their favor originally on all issues except for negligence with respect to its hiring of the property management firm I affectionately refer to as “PMS”. I pointed out to the judge that the bank attorney, in his oral arguments, had conveniently left out the fact that the banks had simultaneously hired the realtor to determine occupancy of my home. The judge then said she’d take the issue of negligent hire under advisement and get back to us. When her ruling came down a week and a half later she proclaimed that the realtor was an independent contractor and there was no mention of the property management company at all. The banks hired two parties simultaneously to do the same thing and neither knows or cares what the other one is doing and the banks hold no responsibility?
Not only did the judge declare that the realtor was an independent contractor but she managed to totally ignore my evidence which showed that the realtor was supposed to have overseen the actions of the property management company. The banks hired one negligent “independent contractor” to oversee the actions of another. So much for liberally construing my evidence that the banks were negligent in their hiring. Maybe this judge has ADD or something. I mean I wouldn’t want to be in her courtroom for anything really “serious” such as the murder cases she tries. I pity the poor felons whose lives are on the line.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: “Home Sweet Home-Foreclosed, A Satirical Look at Bastard Bankers, Foreclosure Forging Fiends and the Goose Stepping Goons That Support Them” will soon be coming to your neighborhood bookstore (if there are any left) and your favorite tablet device.
Although it’s not been written yet, the book is anticipated to be on the New York Times bestseller list for 24 straight months.
You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll spit your guts out over the gross stupidity and farce that is the American legal system. Featuring a cast of characters including, Big Banks, slimy supporters and last but certainly not least, Kern County Superior Court.
But wait, there’s more …. if you pre-order your book today, you’ll get the famous Kawasaki Ginzu knife so you can cut your own throat after reading it.
Proceeds from the book will help fund a docudrama which will be a serious look at … Bastard Bankers, Foreclosure Forging Fiends and the Goose Stepping Goons That Support Them.
I’ve mentioned these guys in my prior posts but they deserve a 21-gun salute. If it were not for companies like the nationally operating property management company, the banks could not effectively mismanage the properties they acquire after foreclosing and throwing people into the streets. This company advertises itself as a property preservation or property management company working on behalf of banks and mortgage servicers like my bully bank defendants. I have affectionately named this company “PMS”. All women of child-bearing years will recognize the level of my affection for them.
“PMS” is the go-to guy if you want a home “trashed out” fast. That’s the term being used to describe cleaning out a foreclosed property so the banks can resell it quickly.
The way they work is that they hire local cleaner-uppers and property maintenance “specialists” to show up at your house to clean it out. Here’s the problem: you could still be living in the home or not. It just so happened that I was and therein became the grounds for my lawsuit.
Not only was I still living legally in the house, but I was home at the exact time the crew showed up with their giant trucks and multiple men to do their dirty work. I confronted them which was a harrowing experience particularly since I was a woman at home alone.
I’ve previously mentioned that some of the defendants in my case thought it was funny that I was actually upset over what had happened to me. Other defendants argued that the event never happened, that it was a figment of my imagination, and good old “PMS” told me God did it. I love that one. I really do. It’s made a believer out of me. It was always a running gag to say that bad things happened because “God hates me.” Now, an officer of the court has confirmed that to be true. I am both happy and sad. Happy that I was always right (because everyone wants to be right about something) and sad that God truly hates me and that there’s nothing I can do about it. You can’t change first impressions. I remain bummed over this realization but determined to go forth and live a life that’s worthy on some level. Maybe HE will forgive me in the end.
Anyway, the local crews that show up don’t have keys to your home. They certainly didn’t have one for mine. My local trash-out company defendants admitted it. They’re expected to break in through the side or back doors or even through a window to gain access then they change locks and put lock boxes on the front door. These local crews will clean out the house of your belongings and then proceed to do whatever it takes to make the house presentable and ready for resale. One poor man down south, as alleged in his lawsuit against the same property management company, had everything he owned stolen when a crew broke into the wrong home while he was on vacation.
Imagine coming home to find your property so vandalized. Think about it. If a crew broke into your home to clean it out and found your cash and jewelry, do you really believe the workers would just pop your stuff into a baggy and put it in a safe for you to claim? Or is it more likely that the workers breaking into your home would just pop your stuff into their pockets and onto their trucks for redistribution to themselves? My goodness, it’s your neighborhood “socialists” in action.
The local crew that “PMS” hired said they came to my home, a few words were exchanged and then they left “without incident”. The evidence supplied to me tells another story … no, a few other stories. The crew told “PMS” alternately that they couldn’t even get close to my house because some lady was screaming at them (that would be me) and the other tale was that they saw an open window that they decided to pry open wider … and then some lady caught them and was screaming at them. The only consistency in their stories is the bit about the screaming lady. “PMS” denies that the local crew did any work for them, yet everyone admits that the local crew was ordered to and did take photos of me and my home which constitutes work for “PMS”.
“PMS” refuses to take responsibility for anything, even though they actually tell their contractors how to proceed if they mistakenly break into a home later “discovered” to be occupied – “re-secure” the house and run away without telling anyone you’ve been there. I’m lucky I wasn’t in the shower when these creeps showed up. Oh, well, what’s a woman to do? We all know by know that God’s calling the shots.
From now on, instead of lying awake at night praying for God to help me, because he’s already made it clear that he hates me, I’m going to just curse him for giving me the determination, without the requisite education and money, to prosecute my lawsuit to the fullest extent possible. AMEN. On the other hand, if I get a good acting job soon, I’d like to say, Thank you, Jesus!