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OC suit: Dismissed with prejudice on answer alone! Happy but curious.


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I went to the courthouse to check-up on my court file. I noticed my answer to summons was stamped "granted" (I asked for "dismissal with prejudice" after my listed defenses). I basically used the defenses most people use on this site - nothing out of the ordinary.

Excited and a bit confused by this I asked the employee's in the records room what that meant. They said it merely meant that the judge accepted my answer and that the case is proceeding as normal (I even talked to a "supervisor"). Now deflated, I went home to ponder my next move.

Thinking about it all weekend, I went back to the records room on Monday morning and looked up at least 20 cases on their computer. None of the other cases, who had filed an answer, had "granted" stamped on any of the answer paperwork like mine. Getting my hopes up again, I paid a visit to the court clerk.

She was a bit confused by it at first. After a little further investigation, she came to the conclusion that my "answer" since it asked for dismissal with prejudice, was sent to the judge right away. He dismissed it - thus the "granted" stamp, and sent it back to be filed into the system. Nobody really caught on. The OC's attorney even filed for a "notice to set pre-trial hearing" and sent me a standard letter wanting to negotiate a settlement - at least 7 days after this thing was dismissed!

Obviously the clerk was not used to this happening. She went into the file and put all the proper notations about it being "dismissed with prejudice" and "case closed" etc.

My question is, why was this thing DWP so easily?

A few facts about the summons etc:

1. Typical summons, in my case nothing was attached as evidence.

2. (this may be reason) On the day that I answered (2 days before deadline), the Plaintiff's attorney filed an obvious cookie cutter affidavit time stamped

a few hours before my answer. Do you think this pee'd off the judge?

Anybody ever have this happen? Insight?

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I would be concerned that there was a mistake in there somewhere along the line, since there would normally be a dismissal order. Keep an eye on the court web site for a change in your cases status. I would print off anything that shows it current status, etc. just to cover yourself. If the clerk changed your case status to DWP without any notice to Plaintiff, what is to say this will not happen to you if the opposing counsel points out to the clerk that "someone made a mistake, it should be judgement for plaintiff".

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Were you dealing with F&S? We had a judge here that started dismissing cases that they filed left and right, though it was without prejudice. He was dismissing every case that he could find a rule that allowed him to dismiss sua sponte. I'm guessing that he was pissed about the volume that just a few lawyers were filing. Now they always ask for a preemptive excusal when he is assigned to one of their cases. I love it when judges pay attention to which lawyers do what.

I'm wondering if it is the same kind of thing, though I would absolutely heed KentWA's advice and continue as though this was a mistake of some sort.

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Good job! I think judges are slowly getting wise on the tactics of the collection industry. While I'm not 100% if all judges are REQUIRED to attend MCLE (mandatory continuing legal education) seminars, there are quite a few organizations that welcome and invite judges to their events. Even if you're not that familar or think you're doomed, you can often skirt by if you put the least amount of effort into your defense.

I just got back from court today in a neighboring county (san diego), where a judge dismissed a case brought by a JDB for getting the name and address of the defendant wrong. The defendant stood in court (didn't look savvy AT ALL), and when asked by the judge what their defense was, he goes (jeans, white tank with casual-chic unbuttoned green office-shirt) "I don't know who this is. This is my address, but not my name. I called the number on this paper, and they told me to come. I'm not sure if they're really suing me, because I just got this yesterday and it doesn't look right..."

The judge asked for his ID, asked him to repeat from memory the ID number, address, asked him if he had another form of ID, which he provided.

The judge then turns to the plaintiff (JDB) and asks how he was sure he had served the right person.

Judge turns to the defendant and asks if he has ever changed his name. He says no. He said something like, "I would have tried to change this or correct it, but when I asked the clerk of court, she told me to ask a lawyer and show up on the date on the paperwork."

Judge then dismissed the case for lack of proper service and lack of standing (i think this is what the judge said. No mics/amplifiers in the courthouses here, sadly)

Innnnnnteresting. I encourage people to sit in on other court cases similar to the ones they're working on to see how judges work, how the process works, and YES, how you can have your own case dismissed based only on your answers, or oral responses.

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