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  1. #1
    dreamreality is offline Junior Member
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    Defendant did not show up in court twice now, judge keeps allowing for continuance...

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    I am suing my previous landlord for a return of our security deposit for wrongfully withholding it for the past 9 months and failing to send any documentation for the damages and repairs it was supposedly used for.

    On the first court date, the real estate agent that represents the landlord showed up at the court hearing because he thought that he could represent the landlord without him being there and without verifying with the court first. The judge ruled that it was not allowed and called for a continuance and pushed the court hearing another month, requiring the landlord to be there in person for the next hearing.

    On the second court date, the defendant did not show up AGAIN. The real estate agent showed up again to notify the court that the defendant was on vacation and would not be back for another week. The judge then called for another continuance, pushing the court date back ANOTHER MONTH.

    This is very irritating and inconvenient for me. I already took the day off from, missing a full day's pay from work, and I have to take ANOTHER day off of work to come back for a THIRD time. Why is this allowed? Can I do anything about this? Can I file some sort of motion? I don't understand why I should be taking time out of my schedule to meet the convenience of the defendants, even though he knew of the new court date A MONTH in advance and he still decides to go on vacation during the week of the trial.

    Any advice would be great. Thank you.
  2. #2
    Willlyjo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by dreamreality View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    I am suing my previous landlord for a return of our security deposit for wrongfully withholding it for the past 9 months and failing to send any documentation for the damages and repairs it was supposedly used for.

    On the first court date, the real estate agent that represents the landlord showed up at the court hearing because he thought that he could represent the landlord without him being there and without verifying with the court first. The judge ruled that it was not allowed and called for a continuance and pushed the court hearing another month, requiring the landlord to be there in person for the next hearing.

    On the second court date, the defendant did not show up AGAIN. The real estate agent showed up again to notify the court that the defendant was on vacation and would not be back for another week. The judge then called for another continuance, pushing the court date back ANOTHER MONTH.

    This is very irritating and inconvenient for me. I already took the day off from, missing a full day's pay from work, and I have to take ANOTHER day off of work to come back for a THIRD time. Why is this allowed? Can I do anything about this? Can I file some sort of motion? I don't understand why I should be taking time out of my schedule to meet the convenience of the defendants, even though he knew of the new court date A MONTH in advance and he still decides to go on vacation during the week of the trial.

    Any advice would be great. Thank you.
    I find it strangely odd that a judge would continue your case twice because the Defendant failed to show up! He should have allowed you to win by default and force the Defendant to appeal. I'd try to get another judge.
  3. #3
    dreamreality is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willlyjo View Post
    I find it strangely odd that a judge would continue your case twice because the Defendant failed to show up! He should have allowed you to win by default and force the Defendant to appeal. I'd try to get another judge.
    Well, I'm wondering what I can do between now and the next court date. There will already, most likely, be a different judge at the next case. Can I do anything in the meantime? Can I appeal the judge's decision for a continuance?
  4. #4
    las365 is offline Senior Member
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    I found this which may be informative if you haven't already used it - I was interested by the "Small Claims Advisers" - perhaps that would be helpful. http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

    You could take with you to the next hearing a Motion for Default Judgment and proposed Order so if the Defendant no-shows again you can hand it to the Judge. I don't know the rules or limitations in CA small claims court, but you may also be able to ask for sanctions against the Defendant - in essence, a fine that the Court orders the opposing party to pay to you because he didn't follow the rules and it cost you money. That would be the way you might be able to recoup your losses from missing work (which would not generally be damages you could get under your actual claim). So I would suggest also preparing a Motion for Sanctions and proposed Order to use at the hearing.

    If I am wrong about sanctions in CA small claims court, someone will come along and say so.
  5. #5
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by las365 View Post
    I found this which may be informative if you haven't already used it - I was interested by the "Small Claims Advisers" - perhaps that would be helpful. http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

    You could take with you to the next hearing a Motion for Default Judgment and proposed Order so if the Defendant no-shows again you can hand it to the Judge. I don't know the rules or limitations in CA small claims court, but you may also be able to ask for sanctions against the Defendant - in essence, a fine that the Court orders the opposing party to pay to you because he didn't follow the rules and it cost you money. That would be the way you might be able to recoup your losses from missing work (which would not generally be damages you could get under your actual claim). So I would suggest also preparing a Motion for Sanctions and proposed Order to use at the hearing.

    If I am wrong about sanctions in CA small claims court, someone will come along and say so.
    Ok, I say so.

    Like most Small Claims courts, California has a very simplified process geared towards the non-legal professional (since they don't allow attorney representation). That also means that many of the motions and discovery procedures are eliminated (because many of the laypersons may have such a difficult time maneuvering through them). Specifically, that means there is no formal motion for default, no presenting proposed Orders, and no sanctions against the defendant for not showing up. The judge allowed them not to be there and continued the case twice already, so if anyone is at fault for the continuances, it would be the judge for allowing it to keep being continuing.

    It really does sound like that LL is jerking OP around, hoping that they will just give up coming back to court. I would personally appear for the 3rd time, and if the LL does not show up - for WHATEVER reason - I would insist that the case NOT be continued and that a default judgement be entered on the spot.
  6. #6
    Proseguru is offline Member
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    In theory, the judge can issue a continuance over and over and over. So, twice I can see; 3x no. Be ready to object and note that the defendant did not comply with 2 orders of the court.

    I would think that the defendant WILL be there for the next hearing date.

    Don't like this? Then don't file. It's all part of the excellent judicial process in this country.
  7. #7
    latigo is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamreality View Post
    Well, I'm wondering what I can do between now and the next court date.
    I suppose continuing to do what you are doing now. Becoming increasingly and uselessly agitated and impatient as if ones life span was measured in days and the world will end between now and then.

    Can I appeal the judge's decision for a continuance?
    No!

    First, it is not an appealable order.

    Second, the plaintiff has no right of appeal out of California small claims court.

    So you might wish to bear that fact in mind in considering just how far you want to push and irritate the system.
  8. #8
    dreamreality is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by latigo View Post
    I suppose continuing to do what you are doing now. Becoming increasingly and uselessly agitated and impatient as if ones life span was measured in days and the world will end between now and then.



    No!

    First, it is not an appealable order.

    Second, the plaintiff has no right of appeal out of California small claims court.

    So you might wish to bear that fact in mind in considering just how far you want to push and irritate the system.
    Awesome. Thanks for your snarky and useless reply.

    Impatient? Having the court hearing pushed for 2 months is being impatient? Am I wrong for being annoyed about this? I understand the first time there was a misunderstanding about who could be there to represent the defendant. But the 2nd time, he blatantly decides to be a no-show and be out of the country on vacation without giving the court proper notice to reschedule.

    I don't think this is being "uselessly agitated." I was simply just wondering why this would be allowed for the defendant to be a no-show with no proper notice to the court. Now I understand that it is completely up to the judge.

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