Look Before You Charge – California Unlawful Detainer Actions

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Recent case came up, not a criminal one, a civil. A client called me on a Thur night with a default judgment entered against him. He was very distressed. Possibly the other attorney he had hired had dropped the ball. (This guy changes attorneys more often than some people change their underwear)

Anyway, I charged gung ho into my work for the weekend, preparing motions and being all in all very lawyerly, polishing up my motion to set aside default judgment and motion to stay execution of a writ of possession, getting his declaration, writing my own, preparing an answer, and two proposed orders for the court.

Then on Monday once the opposing counsel would be in his office I made the mostly pro forma call asking if he was willing to stip to a set aside and agree to try the case on the merits. I had even written two different versions of my declaration, one saying he had not agreed, and one not mentioning it depending if I got ahold of him Monday morning.

And then he took me quite by surprise and very casually and agreeably consented to the stip. So I wrote one up, met him in court the next day and the default was set aside for my client and our answer was filed.

My client was happy, I was happy (I’d accomplished what I’d been hired to do, get the default set aside) but I couldn’t help thinking I could have saved myself a lot of work if I’d called first and wrote the motions after….

Hence the importance of looking before you charge ahead…

You have to understand after dealing with Steve Silverstien, the Red Baron of Evictions, professional courtesy has been a distant memory.

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