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I won in small claims court... what next?


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I am not comfortable saying the name of the company just yet, but I am in California and asked the company to delete my PII and they refused to (I can discuss that law if anyone is interested; there is more to the case which is debt based that I can expound if you like). The Defendant showed and I won in court (different case than my other post). The Defendant in the other case I posted about didn't show (I'll update that soon).

If you were me, how would you handle this? They have 30 days to file an appeal, but how long would you wait for a check to see if they are paying before you contacted them for payment? Where in their company would you send the request? Legal? CEO's office? Accounts Payable? has anyone dealt with this before?

The judge took a few days before entering his judgment and it was done a week ago yesterday. As of today, I have received nothing. Thank you for reading!

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1 hour ago, Ready To Fight said:

They have 30 days to file an appeal, but how long would you wait for a check to see if they are paying before you contacted them for payment?

Wait 7 days past the point for them to file an appeal.  ANY demand for payment now will be met with either silence or the statement that they are still reviewing their options with regards to appeal.

1 hour ago, Ready To Fight said:

Where in their company would you send the request? Legal?

To the CEO and copy their attorney/law firm used on the case.

1 hour ago, Ready To Fight said:

As of today, I have received nothing.

You could get lucky and a check just shows up but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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1 hour ago, Clydesmom said:

Wait 7 days past the point for them to file an appeal.  ANY demand for payment now will be met with either silence or the statement that they are still reviewing their options with regards to appeal. Thank you for your response. It's very final in my small claims if they miss the deadline to file an appeal.

If they appeal within time, they have to have strong support for their position (they do not), they can't do it to harass me, to delay payment, or to encourage me to abandon the case. They can be fined more than my judgment if they do any of the above (the amounts are outlined in the rules).

To the CEO and copy their attorney/law firm used on the case. It was small claims, so no attorney.

You could get lucky and a check just shows up but I wouldn't hold my breath.

In response to the bolded: for the reasons in red above, if they are halfway intelligent, they will send a check because when I tell you their representative couldn't have come less prepared or less knowledgeable, I mean it. I'm already ticked off because it was their lazy employees who got me into this entire mess to begin with.

I always like to check with others not attached to the situation to be sure I am not being myopic.

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This sounds like a case where work was not done when you needed it done costing you money so you did not pay the other party. Either they decided to take you to small claims court and you counterclaimed or you took them to small claims court and the judge made their decision.

First off, it is not surprising that the judge took a few days to make their decision and send it to the parties in writing. In many cases in small claims court, the parties are literally at each others throats and to avoid courtroom drama, the judge holds their decision but they had already made up their mind by the time the case ended.

As for the disclaimer for harassment, etc. in filing an appeals, Minnesota court documents are starting to show that phrase too. The problem is, this has never been tested in court and if the other side decided to do a scorched earth policy, they probably could appeal their denial of appeal in the case and quite possibly win. Showing that the filing was vexatious or frivolous is a high bar to prove for you because the general consensus of the court is that everyone deserves their day in court, even the ability to exhaust all appeals. This is true in criminal court as well as civil court. That is why Ken Lay is not a criminal even though he was convicted in court. He had not exhausted his appeals when he died. In the case of small claims court, they rules are relaxed but when something is given, something is taken away and in this case, the appeal is a trial de novo which means the case proceeds in regular civil court as if the small claims case never happened. The other side then can bring in evidence that they did not provide in the small claims case.

They have 30 days for appeal for a trial de novo under California law. I would sit and wait to see if they appeal as @Clydesmomsaid. In the meantime, start to prepare discovery as if they are going to request a trial de novo. After the 30 days + 7 for mail and service are up, then send a demand letter.

I know you feel messed over and this is dragging on forever but you must follow the process.

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2 hours ago, WhoCares1000 said:

As for the disclaimer for harassment, etc. in filing an appeals, Minnesota court documents are starting to show that phrase too. The problem is, this has never been tested in court and if the other side decided to do a scorched earth policy, they probably could appeal their denial of appeal in the case and quite possibly win. Showing that the filing was vexatious or frivolous is a high bar to prove for you because the general consensus of the court is that everyone deserves their day in court, even the ability to exhaust all appeals.

Excellent point.  It is also why many appellate courts now require an appeal bond in the amount of the verdict to file.  That way they reduce the number of frivolous appeals as the money is already in escrow with the court should they abandon the effort or lose the appeal.

 

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1 hour ago, Clydesmom said:

Excellent point.  It is also why many appellate courts now require an appeal bond in the amount of the verdict to file.  That way they reduce the number of frivolous appeals as the money is already in escrow with the court should they abandon the effort or lose the appeal.

 

But in the case of a civil case going from small claims to civil court, no bond is needed because the appeal is a trial de novo so it is as if there is no judgement.

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4 hours ago, WhoCares1000 said:

This sounds like a case where work was not done when you needed it done costing you money so you did not pay the other party. Either they decided to take you to small claims court and you counterclaimed or you took them to small claims court and the judge made their decision. Hello. Thank you for responding. Long story short, a company's employees allowed someone who wasn't me to open an account in my name. Of course, they never paid it so it went to collections and ended up on my credit reports. I contacted them a while ago to fix that and requested that they delete my personal information from their files as well; they didn't. This company has had a number of data breaches and my personal information has been compromised in them because they didn't delete my information. Per a relatively new California law (the CCPA), I asked them to again and they refused; so I took them to court (it's in the law). They barely participated in pretrial mediation, then came to court with nothing.

First off, it is not surprising that the judge took a few days to make their decision and send it to the parties in writing. In many cases in small claims court, the parties are literally at each others throats and to avoid courtroom drama, the judge holds their decision but they had already made up their mind by the time the case ended. I could tell that the judge was ticked off that the Defendant came to court wholly unprepared. I thought he would rule in my favor, but you never truly know.

As for the disclaimer for harassment, etc. in filing an appeals, Minnesota court documents are starting to show that phrase too. The problem is, this has never been tested in court and if the other side decided to do a scorched earth policy, they probably could appeal their denial of appeal in the case and quite possibly win. Showing that the filing was vexatious or frivolous is a high bar to prove for you because the general consensus of the court is that everyone deserves their day in court, even the ability to exhaust all appeals. This is true in criminal court as well as civil court. That is why Ken Lay is not a criminal even though he was convicted in court. He had not exhausted his appeals when he died. In the case of small claims court, they rules are relaxed but when something is given, something is taken away and in this case, the appeal is a trial de novo which means the case proceeds in regular civil court as if the small claims case never happened. The other side then can bring in evidence that they did not provide in the small claims case. The way it's written, I believe it's something for the court to decide. Considering the way this all went, they very well might get the harassment (especially since they haven't deleted my information), but it's more likely the judge would rule against them on the delaying payment, or to encouraging me to abandon the case angles. I am not sure that if anyone outside the litigants would know even if they filed an appeal, were denied, and were fined the extra money. Someone would have to know about the case and look it up. They certainly don't have a leg to stand on.

I'm not being hubristic when I say that; their representative actually admitted that he didn't know the laws despite 20+ years in the business even though I told him they existed during pretrial mediation. And he didn't even say the word settle; let alone try.

They have 30 days for appeal for a trial de novo under California law. I would sit and wait to see if they appeal as @Clydesmomsaid. In the meantime, start to prepare discovery as if they are going to request a trial de novo. After the 30 days + 7 for mail and service are up, then send a demand letter. I had all of that ready for small claims. I dotted every I and crossed every T.

I know you feel messed over and this is dragging on forever but you must follow the process. I know; it just sucks since this  entire situation has been going on for literal years. I was patient; now I'm ticked.

I decided to just wait the 30 days out after @Clydesmom responded (thank you!). I'll check with the court to make sure the date I have to file the writ of execution correct and get all of my paperwork ready. It's been 7 days already.

Since they only sent a rep and not an attorney, would you suggest sending the demand letter to their legal department? I'm feeling quite like Goodfellas at this point.

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You send the letter to the CEO of the company and the office of the representative. If they used their in-house legal department, send it to them. The truth is, the demand letter is proper etiquette and formality than anything else. Not legally required once a judgement is entered and the time to appeal has passed.

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18 hours ago, WhoCares1000 said:

You send the letter to the CEO of the company and the office of the representative. If they used their in-house legal department, send it to them. The truth is, the demand letter is proper etiquette and formality than anything else. Not legally required once a judgement is entered and the time to appeal has passed.

I didn't send a demand letter to the other company that didn't show for court. I'll do it for this one, however.

I have to wait until the day after November 29 to file the writ if they don't pay.

I have no clue what office the rep was from. He said he just handled small claims cases. Maybe I'll just put the Corporate office and address it to  "Small Claims Dept". I'll recheck his information on TurboCourt.

 

Thank you for all the responses!

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5 hours ago, WhoCares1000 said:

I would wait until November 29th to send the demand letter and then wait 30 days after you know they received it to start collection action. This way, you are sure everything is in order before asking the court to help you collect.

In this court, there is literally nothing they can do after the 30 days is up. That is why there is the 30 day stay of enforcement.

I'll see how the next 24 days go. The court has been a nightmare to deal with in my other case. But at least I have the experience now.

Thank you again for the advice and assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ummm, you have a judgement. This means you can levy the businesses bank accounts, have a sheriff go to the business and do a till tap (take whatever is in the register), seize their business assets at their office, and/or force the CEO to attend a deposition for business assets. All this is after the 30 days are up. You need to learn the collection process at this point and an extra 30 days via a demand letter might help you do that.

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On 11/5/2021 at 2:10 PM, WhoCares1000 said:

Ummm, you have a judgement. This means you can levy the businesses bank accounts, have a sheriff go to the business and do a till tap (take whatever is in the register), seize their business assets at their office, and/or force the CEO to attend a deposition for business assets. All this is after the 30 days are up. You need to learn the collection process at this point and an extra 30 days via a demand letter might help you do that.

I have another case that I won a judgment in, but the Defendant never showed and didn't appeal. I am learning the process through that by doing a bank levy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

On 11/5/2021 at 2:10 PM, WhoCares1000 said:

Ummm, you have a judgement. This means you can levy the businesses bank accounts, have a sheriff go to the business and do a till tap (take whatever is in the register), seize their business assets at their office, and/or force the CEO to attend a deposition for business assets. All this is after the 30 days are up. You need to learn the collection process at this point and an extra 30 days via a demand letter might help you do that.

So have you ever seized assets at someone's office? I'm going to do a search on here for that. The bank and how long it takes is dependent on the Sheriff's Department and can take a while.

The clerk told me after they receive the check, they have 21 days to turn it over to me. And that's after 10 days of the bank holding it AFTER they serve it.

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No but there are videos on Youtube about it all over the country (usually banks who did not follow the rules). The truth is that you go after the cash first and then the assets (with the new in tow) if the cash is not there.

Yes, any collection process takes time because due process in involved. The debtor has the right to argue that the funds are exempt funds from garnishment, if they have an argument. That is why I suggest that a demand letter is sent first, then you get more aggressive.

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