I've been blindsided by a pretty nasty head cold for the past week or so, which has made court appearances more unbearable than normal. In the midst of my misery, I met with some interesting new clients, one of whom had impressively represented himself in court so far. While you can't use his tactics to collect on that super bowl bet with your wayward cousin who never actually pays up, he is still a good reminder that you can make the system work for yourself.
At the heart of his problem was a dispute with his old landlord. When he was unable to work out the issues with the company directly, he took the landlord to court to collect money that he felt was owed to him. The company hired an attorney and tried a variety of litigation "tricks" to beat the litigant representing himself. When all of those failed, he still showed up at court on the date that the case was supposed to go to trial and, when the landlord's attorney tried to get an adjournment, he stood up and told the court he was ready to proceed. Against an unprepared adversary, even a person representing himself stands a good chance and this man beat a seasoned attorney at trial and won a judgment. Not surprisingly, the landlord has refused to pay any money and that's how this individual ended up in my office.
In most of the cases I have dealt with over the years, the client comes to you with a much more convoluted story and many legal issues that cause barriers to the simple collection of their debt. This client, however, has done the work, received a judgment with interest, and just needs assistance collecting the debt. In fact, at the meeting, he even told me that he had gone to the web and downloaded forms for information subpoenas to assist in finding the landlord's assets. My initial reaction, and we joked about it, was why in the world does he even need an attorney, he seems to be on the right track. But as he pointed out, he knows nothing of collection practice and that he would rather hire an attorney and do it right so as to close this chapter of his life.
When your cousin refuses to pay up on his Super Bowl bet, you probably shouldn't go to the courthouse and file a lawsuit against him, but it never hurts to remember that a little hard work and preparation will be respected by the courts and can put you in a great position to collect on your debts.
For more information on collecting on your debt or to schedule a consultation, please call the office (718.568.0221) or visit my website (AndrewMAyers.com) for more information.