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Picture of Dead_Eye
posted
I'm taking a law firm to justice court in Texas. I filed the citation and the defendant has answered with "original answer and special exceptions." I received certified mail from the defendant and there's a document that is categorized into these sections: general denial, special denial, special exceptions, facts, jury demand (says by plaintiff but I don't recall requesting one because I was under the impression that Justice Court does't have jury trials) and a prayer requesting that I pay the defendant for all the costs for a trial that hasn't even been held yet.

The defendant is arguing that the firm that owes me the money is no longer in existence and doesn't have any ties to the new firm he created with his partner (and the new firm is the party I'm suing). Therefore, my claim has no merit. However, I have a solid argument that says otherwise.

My question for you is this: What is the court going to do based upon the answer the defendant filed? Is the court going to continue and schedule a court date or do I have to respond with my argument/evidence of why I am taking the right party to court? Please advise.


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Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
 
Posts: 293 | Registered: May 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am not a TX attorney and there are not enough details about the circumstances to give any opinion on the merits of your cause of action (or the defendants denials). I would be wary of going up against a lawyer or law firm as an unrepresented plaintiff.

While small claims courts are usually more "user friendly" than higher courts, the rules still apply. The guy you are suing has 3+ years of schooling and possibly years of experience in the process.

You will be on his turf. Proceed with caution.
 
Posts: 1716 | Location: Arkansas | Registered: April 14, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
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Get an attorney, here endith the lesson




I'm Rick James.
 
Posts: 35679 | Location: Around | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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An attorney that represents himself has a fool for a client. You will lose. I notice that you are not an attorney. You are being overly optimistic about your abilities, especially since your credentials indicate you do not have legal training.

Secure an attorney licensed in Texas or drop the matter.
 
Posts: 2219 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Drill Here, Drill Now
Picture of tatortodd
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"Nothing beats knowing what you're doing!" ~Jallen

In other words, hire an attorney. A year ago, I needed a Texas attorney for something and jhe888 provided a referral to a consummate professional.



Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity

DISCLAIMER: These are the author's own personal views and do not represent the views of the author's employer.
 
Posts: 14373 | Location: N. Houston, TX | Registered: November 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I believe in the
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I'm not a Texas lawyer, not even a lawyer anywhere anymore, but was for 40 years, and a judge pro tem for awhile, hearing small claims cases.

You need to read all the rules pertaining to this kind of case. You don't say what county you are in but the Harris County JP web site has a bunch of info.

The best thing you can do is prepare thoroughly. Think through what you have to prove, and the evidence of it. Have original documents if you can, and copies for the court and other parties. Have all the relevant details in your mind, so you can give your evidence clearly, in an organized way without hopping around, stammering and stuttering. Avoid wild, intemperate claims. Dress appropriately, responsibly. Stay calm. I've never seen anyone be pelted with rotten fruit in court, no matter how stupid they seem. I did see one guy led away in handcuffs for contempt of court when he couldn't keep from hollering out of turn despite many, many warnings to be quiet. You will be treated respectfully, especially if you act respectfully.

Find out what kind of entity the law firm was, partnership, professional corporation. The present one? Should the funds you claim have been in trust? Sometimes judges in small claims cases don't appreciate a lot of technical legal procedure playing.

It isn't easy, and your opponents can be tricky, if for no other reason than they are used to being in court, standing up and talking to a judge.

The trick is to have the judge understand your position quickly, without confusing, unnecessary details, and why it is right.

If the circumstances indicate something beyond a mere dispute of an invoice, maybe some trick, untoward conduct, notify the State Bar. Don't threaten this, just do it if appropriate.




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 42111 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Dead_Eye
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I appreciate the get a lawyer advice guys but that's not what I'm asking here. Justice court is a forum that is friendly to those who aren't well versed in the law and win lose or draw the justice court decision is going to be appealed by myself or the defendants at which time I will hire legal council. What I need to do is get a court date and show up to present my claim because no matter how much they argue, they hired me as an expert witness and the travel expenses, court appearances, etc. are indisputable. I've hired lawyers to review my case, write demand letters and negotiate settlements to which the defendants replied with unacceptable offers... but along with other documentation I have the lawyers I spoke with all agree that I have a solid case and should start with Justice Court before they get involved. One lawyer I spoke with thought it would be to my advantage because the judge may frown upon an officer of the law with such questionable morals and ethics to try and weasel out of paying an expert witness for services rendered. Regardless, I've discussed this enough with lawyers and rather than wait until tomorrow or the next day before I can get an answer, I'd rather know now and if need be, start drafting a reply while I'm free the rest of today.


__________________________________________________________________

Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
 
Posts: 293 | Registered: May 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I believe in the
principle of
Due Process
Picture of JALLEN
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Dead_Eye:
I appreciate the get a lawyer advice guys but that's not what I'm asking here. Justice court is a forum that is friendly to those who aren't well versed in the law and win lose or draw the justice court decision is going to be appealed by myself or the defendants at which time I will hire legal council. What I need to do is get a court date and show up to present my claim because no matter how much they argue, they hired me as an expert witness and the travel expenses, court appearances, etc. are indisputable. I've hired lawyers to review my case, write demand letters and negotiate settlements to which the defendants replied with unacceptable offers... but along with other documentation I have the lawyers I spoke with all agree that I have a solid case and should start with Justice Court before they get involved. One lawyer I spoke with thought it would be to my advantage because the judge may frown upon an officer of the law with such questionable morals and ethics to try and weasel out of paying an expert witness for services rendered. Regardless, I've discussed this enough with lawyers and rather than wait until tomorrow or the next day before I can get an answer, I'd rather know now and if need be, start drafting a reply while I'm free the rest of today.


In that case, hire a lawyer now and go right to the court court at law, which as I understand it, handles appeals from Justice Courts as trial de novo.




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 42111 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ammoholic
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quote:
Originally posted by Dead_Eye:
Regardless, I've discussed this enough with lawyers and rather than wait until tomorrow or the next day before I can get an answer, I'd rather know now and if need be, start drafting a reply while I'm free the rest of today.

I'm not a lawyer, but based on your words quoted above, you might as well get started drafting a reply. You could then either just send your reply to the court or (probably a better idea) run it by counsel for input. If you do go the counsel route, your draft may save them some time.
 
Posts: 2577 | Registered: February 23, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You seem a bit intemperate. It would serve you well to carefully read what JALLEN has written as I have the feeling you may be pelted with rotten fruit.
 
Posts: 2219 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Dead_Eye
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Thanks JALLEN, I was hoping to hear from you because I do remember you were a lawyer in TX longer than I've been alive.

The claim was filed in Tarrant County Precinct Five as the testimony was given in Federal court in Fort Worth. Should I contact Precinct Five to ask if any action should be taken on my part or if I will be able to explain and show evidence in court?

I am planning on notifying the state bar because in this answer they blatantly lied about which entity was representing their clients in court... the same clients who benefited from my testimony by helping them win their argument and accomplish what we intended to do.


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Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
 
Posts: 293 | Registered: May 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Dead_Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by JALLEN:

In that case, hire a lawyer now and go right to the court court at law, which as I understand it, handles appeals from Justice Courts as trial de novo.



I've had lengthy, expensive discussions about bypassing Justice Court and filing directly in district court. Both lawyers I spoke with believe that the first step should be Justice Court.


__________________________________________________________________

Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
 
Posts: 293 | Registered: May 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I believe in the
principle of
Due Process
Picture of JALLEN
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Dead_Eye:
Thanks JALLEN, I was hoping to hear from you because I do remember you were a lawyer in TX longer than I've been alive.

The claim was filed in Tarrant County Precinct Five as the testimony was given in Federal court in Fort Worth. Should I contact Precinct Five to ask if any action should be taken on my part or if I will be able to explain and show evidence in court?

I am planning on notifying the state bar because in this answer they blatantly lied about which entity was representing their clients in court... the same clients who benefited from my testimony by helping them win their argument and accomplish what we intended to do.


I've never been a lawyer in Texas, only California.

The clerks can't give you advice. Maybe they have a website with some of the rules, procedures etc. I have no idea about the procedures specifically here. You have more experience than I do at this point.

Why should you not be paid by the client? The documents control points like this.

Maybe those lawyers can explain these Justice Court procedures, too.




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 42111 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My apologies, I forgot about you living in California.

I'll call the clerk first thing tomorrow and see if I can get the procedures. That should detail what needs to be done next. Thank you for answering my question.

Are you asking me why I shouldn't be paid? Everyone who has reviewed the documents says I should be. Frankly, these lawyers probably know that too but are intentionally using the legal system to make it difficult for me to collect. If I could put down $4,000 with no cap on how much this will cost, I have two lawyers who would be more than happy to nail these guys. The problem is that the legal fees may eventually exceed what I'm owed and the court may not award them to me. I also have a feeling that even with a final decision, collecting isn't going to be easy.


__________________________________________________________________

Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
 
Posts: 293 | Registered: May 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I believe in the
principle of
Due Process
Picture of JALLEN
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quote:
Originally posted by Dead_Eye:
My apologies, I forgot about you living in California.

I'll call the clerk first thing tomorrow and see if I can get the procedures. That should detail what needs to be done next. Thank you for answering my question.

Are you asking me why I shouldn't be paid? Everyone who has reviewed the documents says I should be. Frankly, these lawyers probably know that too but are intentionally using the legal system to make it difficult for me to collect. If I could put down $4,000 with no cap on how much this will cost, I have two lawyers who would be more than happy to nail these guys. The problem is that the legal fees may eventually exceed what I'm owed and the court may not award them to me. I also have a feeling that even with a final decision, collecting isn't going to be easy.


Perhaps my wording was clumsy. Why are you not expecting payment from the client, which ultimately bears these costs in nearly every case?




Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.

When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson

"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
 
Posts: 42111 | Location: Texas hill country | Registered: July 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Dead_Eye
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I expect payment. However, I think they're going to make it hard to collect it. They're trying to bully me around and when it's time for them to take their medicine I'm expecting them to use every trick in the book to prolong paying me and force me to take additional legal action. I've been advised that Texas isn't the most collection friendly state however the fact that I'm suing a business and not an individual gives me more options. I could be wrong about their option to delay payment but based upon my experiences thus far, I'm unfortunately likely to be right in my assessment.

If you're referring to having the defendants pay my attorney fees, from what I understand it only applies in some instances and even then the court may not award it. This comes from both lawyers who are concerned that if their fees exceed what's awarded, I'd lose money and still have to try and collect.


__________________________________________________________________

Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
 
Posts: 293 | Registered: May 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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How important is your time? That should be a consideration as well. Pyrrhic victory comes to mind.
 
Posts: 2219 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dead Eye - I think JALLEN was asking why the client of the attorneys that you are suing didn't pay you for your testimony.
 
Posts: 360 | Registered: January 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Sig Sauer Kraut:
Dead Eye - I think JALLEN was asking why the client of the attorneys that you are suing didn't pay you for your testimony.



The lawyers who hired me represented a group of clients. I can't be certain how their agreement read but I was told that each client paid a flat rate to have their interests represented as a group. As far as I know the clients did not have any authority with regard to how the money they paid was spent.


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Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
 
Posts: 293 | Registered: May 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Am I correct in assuming that a law firm retained your services to testify as an expert witness and then refused to pay the bill? Please clarify. Thanks
 
Posts: 2219 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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