I initiated a suit in maryland against my tenant and the management company. the tenant did major poor remodeling that cost me $18k in direct out of pocket expenses, to put back to servicable condition. They also removed another $11k in chattle. like appliances, metal fences, a jacuzzi and even attached items where dismantled with tools then taken.
There was also an Purchase Option to buy agreement but the management Lease agreement was very detailed in saying no work was to be done without written approval by the owners. they are out of the house, the pruchase option agreement is sign off as ended. After i repaired the house, i filed a complaint for breach of contract and theft on the tenants and breach of contract on management(non performance) to the amount of $28k keeping it in District Court. the tenants have responded with an attorney and i recieved thier 'notice to defend' .
a week later i received notice from the court saying the type of proceeding will be a 'Merit Trial'.
I am trying to go to court once becuase i actually live 1000 miles away. Will a Merit Trial proceed as a trial on that date or am i looking at a seperate trial date after 'Merit ' is determined? I do not have a lawyer(mainly cause im broke after the repair costs), do I have to respond to this notice in writting? did i state the complain right by saying the damages were breach of contract? in anybodies experince with district court, will the judge have partience with me in explaining my circumstances or expect me to be a lawyer? im probably going up against 2 lawyers. but the damages are criminal in action and clearly not supposed to have been done by the lease.
I have damages over the $30k level of district court, but i kept the number under $30k to keep this in district court, on purpose, because i thought i could present my case without a lawyer. Circuit court demands lawyer level representation I beleive or it gets throw out easily.