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Thread: How would Grok handle small claims disputes? page

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    PrimalHunter's Avatar
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    How would Grok handle small claims disputes?

    I'm guessing Grok would use a spear, but do we have better methods available today?

    I went to court this morning as the plaintiff in a small claims case. This guy owns the condo above me (but doesn't live there), he had a leak in his bathtub and pipe that damaged my ceiling, our condo docs specify that our pipes are part of our unit and we're responsible for damage to other units, he hired a handyman to make some of my repairs, and he just didn't finish the job. I'm asking for $300 to cover the rest of the repairs.

    The defendant's response has been a strange mix of cooperation, denial of responsibility, and silence. I got a letter from his insurance company - apparently he filed a liability claim, which they are investigating because he may have violated the terms of his policy by voluntarily making some payments. Anyway, his insurance company hired a lawyer to represent him. (How much will that cost them? Surely more than $300, right?)

    Today I finally went to what I thought was going to be the trial, but all that happened today was that the judge set a date for the trial 3 months from now. Now I have to fill out a Bill of Particulars by stating all the reasons why I think the defendant owes me money, then he responds, then we have the trial.

    Since he really has no case, I thought he was just not going to show up and I'd win a default judgment. Now he has a free lawyer with who knows what tricks up his sleeve, and the trial could keep getting pushed out or appealed. Any tips to make this deadbeat pay?
    "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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    Nope. Not worth it anyway- to enforce any court judgment and actually get any money, first you have to pay the sheriff about $400 out of pocket to do their job and enforce the court's ruling. Small-claims court is a scam.
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Perfidy View Post
    Nope. Not worth it anyway- to enforce any court judgment and actually get any money, first you have to pay the sheriff about $400 out of pocket to do their job and enforce the court's ruling. Small-claims court is a scam.
    But doesn't an unpaid judgment kill their credit score? And doesn't the interest accumulate over the years? You might not even want to get paid off if they're being screwed over.
    "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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    Mr.Perfidy's Avatar
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    None of that helps you fix your ceiling though. Who is "you?" (as in "You might not even want to get paid off if they're being screwed over.") I thought that you were suing...

    What did you pay to file the suit? $30 or so? What do you lose in a day's wages by going to court instead of work? Then add to that the sheriff shakedown fee. It's totally not worth it; you should just break into his house and steal anything of value, if he doesn't even live there. If you get caught, say that you are having a water emergency and are up there to investigate dangerous flooding. A trespassing fine is probably less than what you'd pay the court for justice.
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    Mr.Perfidy's Avatar
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    I would just break the lock and then tell hooligan gangs of neighborhood kids that that guy had to move away because he is being charged with child molestation
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Perfidy View Post
    None of that helps you fix your ceiling though. Who is "you?" (as in "You might not even want to get paid off if they're being screwed over.") I thought that you were suing...
    My ceiling is fixed; the issue is just the money. And the money doesn't really matter to me; the issue is really just bringing this fucker to justice. Yes, "you" is me in this case, but I was saying that in general, one might not want to get paid off immediately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Perfidy View Post
    What did you pay to file the suit? $30 or so? What do you lose in a day's wages by going to court instead of work?
    $46 in court costs plus $12 to serve him. You get this back if you win though. I lose a vacation day, but no money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Perfidy View Post
    Then add to that the sheriff shakedown fee. It's totally not worth it; you should just break into his house and steal anything of value, if he doesn't even live there. If you get caught, say that you are having a water emergency and are up there to investigate dangerous flooding. A trespassing fine is probably less than what you'd pay the court for justice.
    It's a thought, but his tenant is very nice. His willingness to cooperate is the only reason I even got the owner's contact info. Do you know how to pick locks?
    "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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    What state are you in. Please put your location in your profile.

    It depends upon the state you're in, courts below the Supreme Court operate in State laws.

    If you were in CA, no lawyers are allowed in Small Claims Court. From here, it sounds like your are doing well.

    grok was very cooperative with the others in his band, and hesitant and watchful towards those he did not know.
    "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase

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    Small claims court in each state is different and it has been years since I was one of those evil attorneys for an insurance company. Back in the olden days (2005), attorneys could not represent people in small claims court in CA and I assume that is still true. That was the point of it. I would help people being sued prepare their defense as appropriate or help them settle the case. Usually if the money was owed and I was involved, payment was made prior to any court case. Keep in contact with the insurance company and their attorney as you may be able to resolve this short of going back to court.

    My advice is to document every expense you have. Originals receipts are best and make a copy of your documentation for the other side. Keep copies for yourself. Document the fact that he has made partial payments since that shows he had accepted responsibility for the damage. Document the by-laws/ccr/condo rules that show he is responsible. Document the heck out of everything and prepare it neatly for the judge. Prepare a summary of what happened, when it happened, who said what and when. Continue to keep this summary/log as you deal with the insurance company. I would also include lost wages (vacation time) but understand that you may not get it. Again this is not specific to your state and most small claims courts have a clinic or advisor you can talk to for more information. Some courts also have pretty detailed instructions and articles online.

    Also, in the future you can have your insurance company handle the damage and they will pursue the reimbursement of the cost of the damage plus your deductible from the other party's insurer.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by vh67 View Post
    Also, in the future you can have your insurance company handle the damage and they will pursue the reimbursement of the cost of the damage plus your deductible from the other party's insurer.
    My insurance company would not go after the other guy because it was not costing them anything (i.e., my deductible was higher than the damage).

    Good advice on the other stuff. I have records of everything.
    "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

  10. #10
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    Not sure, but John Locke said that government's primary role was to resolve disputes of property, which began to arise with the start of civilization. And by extension, to regulate the market, making it un-free.

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