Small Claims Court 7. A “corrected” Notice of Judgment

So what happened with my effort to have the City Marshall garnish the wages of Chaz, the individual defendant? Who had failed to pay me $2736.99 which was — with interest and fees added on — what Chaz’s lawyer, Larry, and I had agreed to in March? And who had been put back onto the Notice of Judgment, according to the Small Claims Court?

I’d been honorable and had sent Larry the Lawyer a copy of my May 30, 2013 letter to the City Marshall, asking that she proceed with a collection action against Chaz as individual defendant. I’d provided her with proof of his employment and asked that she proceed to garnish his wages. This is a pretty powerful action that a creditor can take against an individual defendant.

Less than a week later I received an envelope from Small Claims Court. It contained a CORRECTED Notice of Judgment removing the individual defendant and stating, “CLAIMANT, Judgment against defendant #2 only.”

It had been a rational move on my part to take the first Notice of Judgment, with both individual defendant and corporate defendant as claimants, and use that for my submission to the City Marshall.

But I guess when Larry read the copy of my letter, he dashed over to Small Claims Court and had Chaz, the individual defendant, removed as a claimant. And on June 4 he sent a letter to the City Marshall (copying me), responding to my letter and stating that, “Ms. Fein suspiciously neglects to inform you…” that the original stipulation had dropped the individual defendant and left only the corporate defendant.

It was not “suspiciously.” I had received from the Small Claims Court an official Notice of Judgment that had both individual and corporate defendants on it. Following the instructions on the Notice of Judgment, I asked the Marshal to go after the individual defendant. As far as I knew, that’s what a failure to pay a settlement entails: all defendants were again named in the Notice of Judgment.

Larry’s use of the word “suspiciously” is very lawyerly. Lawyers always use pejorative adjectives and adverbs to make their opponent sound like an ogre. Lawyers play these language games automatically. I bet they have special modified thesauruses within their word processing programs that link certain words with certain phrases. So a lawyer never writes that another lawyer just did something; it has to be done suspiciously, or neglectfully, or (a fave lawyer word) outrageously.

It’s hyperbole.

Larry may have won a small battle there. But I never lose track of this fact: I won this case and now can proceed against the corporate defendant, a/k/a the coop, by using the other actions of which the “CORRECTED” Notice of Judgment advised me.

The bottom line is this: the coop did not repair the damage to my ceilings caused by multiple leaks in the apartments owned by the coop’s Board of Directors. I had the repairs done and paid for them myself. I then asked the coop for reimbursement. They did not reimburse me. I filed a lawsuit against them in Small Claims Court.

It was and is a righteous lawsuit. And I, via the City Marshal, will get that money they owe me.

Next: What I did in Small Claims Court to help me get my money.


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