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Non-jury trial coming up this week; I'm in MI.

For anyone who's been there already, can you offer any insight on basic step by step what happens?

When the plaintiff offers something into evidence, do I object right then and go into why or do I let them present their case then argue mine?

Thanks for any advice-

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provided to you in discovery. This would stop them from introducing evidence they have not given to you.

The key target is their affidavit, without it they have no case. I hope that you tried to subpoena the affiant, if you have time get one out next day to the address listed on the affidavit. Then in court argue that they have no personal knowledge. use the questions from this thread for questions:


adapt some to your situation and grill them.

use their discovery mistakes to your situational advantage.

It goes like this on trial day.

If they have a weak case they will either dismiss without prejudice(so they can sell the account) or no show in court.

If they think they have some case, They will show. They will attempt to get a settlment in the hallway. They will try to get the affidavit in. you will have to argue that the affiant is not a percipient witness. that the affidavit is not made in accordance state law(find something) that the evidence is not accurate and was improperly maintained. Basically everthing that the affidavit leaves up to the judge to ASSUME needs to be attacked.

the trial starts when the case is called and both register their appearance, the plaintiff if you have no motion in limine matters. makes their opening statement. Now Collection attorneys and the court go into abbrieviated proceedings alot of the time. so if they try to submit the affidavit object on the grounds that they are typically objected to. I would save opening remarks until after the plaintiff rests.

after the dust settles and the plaintiff rests Move for a directed verdict this will show you where the court is leaning. They may rule against them at that time. If not then you have to lay out your case. reiterate your objections and the reasons why. If you are citing out of state authorities and cases make sure you have a copy of those for submission to the court.

attack the standing of their bills of sale(point out everything wrong withthem), attack the credibility of the affiant by showing how they couldn't possibly have personal knowledge of the ALLEGED account. attack the steps that the JDB took in the run up to litigation.

Take the attorney out of their comfort zone by informing the court that conduct violating the FDCPA, state equivalent, is not protected by the litigation priviledge.

Then look up several cases in the local area where other judges ruled against the JDB's based on lack of knowledge and such. cite these in court and submit the case summary and the statement of decision(if you can get it) for the cases. this will show that other judges have ruled for defendants. it will also show if he rules against you that he committed an abuse of discretion.

The key is look up recent cases from the judge and see how he ruled on those. That will help you to help him rule your way. also see any tentative rulings from other local courts against the plaintiff. repeated losses for the same behaviour proves specific attempt to mislead the court.

sorry so long but will help all I can

any other help you need do not be afraid to ask.

Edited by Seadragon
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Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I appreciate the advice on printing out the documentation if I take case law from other states.

This may sound like a stupid question but how do I find the court docs on them? I have caselaw from googling and researching but when I take the cited case and plug it in I can't always find the full set of docs. Should I print out the full case or just the pertinent parts? I would hate to show up with an armful of printouts the judge has no interest in.

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and don't have it, it could throw your whole game.

Most opinions are on the appellate courts websites. These are the official opinions. the local court cases you might have to go down there and get the statement of decision or go on the local courts website and track down the case summary to find out what the ruling is.

Also you can google the case and see if there was an appeal. also look and see if your out of state case was already cited in an appeal on google scholar or find it in your states appellate or supreme court websites. They sometimes have search capability. If you have some time go to the nearest law library. they sometimes have lexis nexus on the computers there.

You will have to kick out the legs for their arguements. so list their weak points and their strong points. The judge is going to expect you to attack the weak point first. They will be very surprised when you chip the strong point and tumble the whole thing by pushing the weak stuff.

Have a definite plan:

affidavit (because all the evidence is attached to it) find all reasons to get rid of it.

affiant (discredit credibility, attack foundational knowledge, just a hearsay regurgitator) Subpoena this guy to court and question him/her long time.

Evidence (Bills of sale not specific, billing statements not actually kept properly, all the other things) Get into computer records authentication In RE: Vinhee

Dig up dirt on the Plaintiff(violations,fines, improper tax reporting, anything that shows disregard for statutes. Manager past lawsuits, employee HR lawsuits.) Subpoena former employees if you can after talking with them to see if they will break it down for the judge.

Sounds like alot but if you go into court with all documents tabbed in a three ring binder for the case. one for out of state cases. one for all the applicable statutes you cite then carry it into court with a bankers box they might get scared. Judges like the organized pro per and organizing it allows you to review for trial. make a table of contents for your binders and use numbered tabs that will force you to slow a little and give you an in court breather. Believe me You are gonna need those breathers.

Think of the judge and research any appellate decisions from when he was a lawyer. check recent rulings for him. compare how he rules with 2 lawyers vs. pro per versus lawyer. go watch a trial or two in his court room. find out anything that annoys them and don't do that.

Having your trial golf bag will help you win. dont be afraid to lay out your binders and use the space effectively. also try not to stare at the judge. look at P's counsel then address the court for questions concerning objections and such.

You will feel nervous but pretend the case is 2 kids explaing their side of an arguement.

Hope that helps

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