On January 31, 2013, I appeared in Housing Court to support my last (I’m flexing my fingers as exercise so I can type…) Affidavit In Support of an Order to Show Cause To Restore to the Calendar for a Compliance Hearing and for Assessment of Civil Penalties (H.P.).
When I filled out the first one, I found all that language a bit confusing. But I’ve been bringing my case to Housing Court since February 3, 2012. More than a full year. So I’ve become comfortable with the routine, and with the forms and language. Here’s my very own description of all that terminology:
Affidavit. A statement of my case which I will swear to and sign before a Notary Public (or, in the case of Housing Court, a court clerk). The form I’ve been using handily breaks this sworn statement down into segments:
1. PARTY. That’s me. In Housing Court I’m called the Petitioner.
2. HISTORY: An Order of the Court directing the correction of violations was made, or a stipulation between the parties was entered into, on [I fill in the blank with the last court date when we all agreed that the work would be done at some promised time in the future. That time is now past. How do I know? Because I count the days and put a note in my calendar that it’s time to file another OSC].
3. FACTS: The following violations/conditions have been corrected: [fill in the blank]. That’s easy. Although there are spaces for nine uncorrected violations, there is only one that remains uncorrected in this case: #9330540 Sloping Floor in Public Hallway, 2d story.
4. PRIOR ORDER: ___ I have (or have not) requested a prior Order to Show Caused for a Compliance Hearing in this case but I am making this further application because [fill in the blank: in my case, I wrote “the violation has not been corrected.” And it hasn’t been corrected through quite a number of Court Orders, so I checked off the blank next to “I have requested…”].
5. REQUESTS: I respectfully [that’s the proper term to use when you’re asking a judge to sign something like this] request that:
-this case be restored to the calendar for a Compliance Hearing and assessment of civil penalties (fine) against my landlord since violations have not been corrected pursuant to the Court’s Order.
-because I am appearing pro-se, without an attorney or process server, permission be granted to serve these papers myself, by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. [And I have done so. Repeatedly. Each service costs a total of $5.75.]
-the attached Order be signed.
At the bottom of this form are lines for my signature and the court employee who is notarizing my signature.
So I’m swearing (Affidavit) that things haven’t been done and this sworn statement supports the Order to Show Cause (an Order is the province of the judge alone) which puts the case back on the calendar, i.e., into Housing Court, on the date the judge (and court deputies and clerks) pick (the whole court contingent has to look at how busy they are and slate my case into a day when they have time to hear me and my opponent). That’s the “restoration to the calendar” part.
Then we get the “Compliance Hearing,” which is, simply, a command to the opposition (in this case, my coop and the lawyers representing it) to get themselves into court on the date the judge has chosen and to be prepared either to argue why they shouldn’t be fined (“We’ve been making extraordinary efforts to get this work done”), or to agree to a fine and, maybe, another date by which they swear they’ll get the work done.
On January 31, 2013, at my last Compliance Hearing, the coop was fined an additional $170. It doesn’t sound like much—the fines roll from the last court date when the coop promised they’d finish the work to this date, and the daily fines are low—but fines accumulate. In my case, the coop has been fined four times: $870, $500, $450 and now $170, making a total of $1,990.
And although the coop’s Board of Directors, i.e., the Skush-O’Brien family (the defendants in my Supreme Court lawsuit), are apparently not aware of it, these fines and the fees their lawyers have charged them for appearing in Housing Court will land not on the coop books but on the massive and growing Skush-O’Brien Debts to the Coop Register, which I have compiled over the past eight years.
And why are these fines attributable to the Skush-O’Briens, not to the coop? Because, although the cost of remedying the violation is a justifiable coop expense, the cost of stalling around and not remedying the violation is their fault, their own expense.
So they will have to reimburse the coop for all the costs of Housing Court. And I may add onto this register all my $5.75 certified mail fees.