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Ralph H. Schofield Jr.

Ralph Schofield’s Answers

307 total


  • How do I go about interviewing for a good tenant law lawyer?

    I need an attorney who is not only quite skilled on all nuance of the law but also strong and aggressive in securing my rights and I do believe I ought to have some monetary reward because of the retaliatory nature of the activity and because of t...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Use the "Find a Lawyer" function here or search on FloridaBar.org. Set up a consultation, and go from there. You can usually get a good feel for the quality of lawyer from the initial consultation, and you can also get a lot of questions answered even if you are charged for the consultation.

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  • I filed eviction papers.judge heard case, defendant agreed to move but didn't. Filed handwritten note to judge def. hadn't moved

    recd order, the case ws being transferred to circuit civil division & assigned a new case number. Along with an add'l filing fee of $215. which I paid to the court. I haven't heard a word from anyone. What is the next step

    Ralph’s Answer

    Strange that this would be transferred to Circuit unless you are owed a lot from your tenant. But, in any event, the next step in your situation is probably to file a motion requesting summary judgment and then setting a hearing to occur at least 20 days after the you serve that motion on the defendant. The motion should include an affidavit from you setting forth all the facts that justify you obtaining an eviction (in many ways, this is just you swearing to the facts as set forth in the complaint, including any specific damages incurred). You'll request a final judgment of eviction at that hearing.

    This assumes that the defendant filed something in response to your complaint, which I assume to be the case given the facts about the parties reaching an agreement. If the defendant has filed nothing, you may be able to file a motion for default and default judgment, which MAY get you to judgment more quickly and without the need for a hearing.

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  • Is this discrimination?

    I was hired for a job and was on the schedule. They conducted a background check after they hired me and I was dismissed. I am not a convicted felon.

    Ralph’s Answer

    Nothing in what you say suggests unlawful discrimination. If there's no basis for you believing that the reason for your dismissal occurred for a protected reason, such as racial or gender discrimination, you probably don't have much of an argument here.

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  • Two banks claim they own my mortgage/note, not possible correct?

    My originating lender is IndyMac and closed August 2005. Apparently they sold to Freddie Sept 2005 (according to loan lookup tool). In April 2011 MERS assigned/recorded my mortgage and note from IndyMac to OneWest. In June 2011, OneWest filed for ...

    Ralph’s Answer

    You may be correct, and you will probably want to explore that issue through discovery when you defend your foreclosure lawsuit. However, just for clarity's purpose, your loan typically has an owner and a servicer. The owner owns the debt and can foreclose on you, but the servicer handles collection of payments. The agreement between the owner and servicer typically authorizes the servicer to foreclose on you on behalf of the owner. So it is possible for two companies to both have the ability to foreclose, although they would both be doing so on behalf of the actual owner of the debt.

    It sounds as though Freddie is the owner and OneWest WAS the servicer, and therefore it was legitimate for OneWest to sue. It is possible OneWest and Ocwen have their own assignment of rights agreement as well. If so, and OneWest assigned AWAY its rights, you may be able to challenge OneWest's standing. But, again, I would suggest using the discovery process available in the lawsuit to get all of the documents that support the plaintiff's standing to sue, including all servicing agreements and assignments.

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  • In family law, what is cumulative evidence, in relation to FL Statute 90.612?

    And, what are "leading questions" in trial, and some examples of such?

    Ralph’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Cumulative evidence is not mentioned in section 90.612 but IS mentioned in section 90.403. The law generally makes evidence inadmissible if it is not reliable, unhelpful, or prejudicial (more so than it should be). In the case of "cumulative," we are talking about "unhelpful" evidence. Namely, we are talking about evidence that simply goes to duplicate evidence already presented or prove a point that's already been proven. This is not a cut and dry matter. If you have two witnesses to an accident, you probably want to put on the testimony of both witnesses as to what happened even if they testify the exact same way. If you have 100 witnesses, however, perhaps the Court would limit you to just a few witnesses testifying to save time and avoid repeating the same facts over and over (particularly if the other side agrees to the Court assuming that those witnesses are all going to have basically the same story). In relation to 90.612, if that is what you are asking, you basically need to avoid asking the same question multiple ways while taking testimony.

    Leading questions are questions that suggest the answer. Questions that begin with "Isn't it true" or "Wouldn't you agree" or "Didn't" or "wasn't" are the most obvious leading questions. Questions that seek a "yes" or "no" answer are sometimes, but not always, leading questions, whereas open-ended questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and, especially, How) are not often leading questions.

    The most appropriate way to AVOID leading questions is to attempt to ask open-ended questions that push the witness to tell his/her own story, with you simply nudging the witness along with questions like "What happened next?" and "Why did you do that?" and "How did that happen?"

    The most appropriate way to USE leading questions is to attempt to tell the story yourself, phrased in the form of questions, such as "Isn't it true that you were drunk that night?" or "Weren't you texting while driving?"

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  • QUE SIGNIFICA FILING NON-RESIDENT COST BOND ?

    ESTAMOS ALQUILANDO UNA CASA QUE SE ENCUENTRA EN FORCLOUSE

    Ralph’s Answer

    This notice complies with a statute that requires that a plaintiff that lives outside of Florida pay $100 to the Clerk of Court. This amount will be used to pay some or all of the defendants' costs in the event that the defendants win.

    Este aviso cumple con una ley que requiere que un demandante que vive fuera de la Florida paga $ 100 al tribunal. Este pago se utilizará para pagar parte o la totalidad de los costos de los acusados ​​en el caso de que los acusados ​​ganan.

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  • Statutes or rules governing length of vacation of an attorney in Florida?

    Is there any statutes or rules that governs length of vacation of an attorney in Florida? and under what rules or statutes an attorney can inquire about reasons and details on the absence or unavailability of opposing counsel or can s/he do so?

    Ralph’s Answer

    A lawyer is free to take a vacation but does so at the risk that the case will proceed without him. If you are looking at a pending lawsuit where the attorney has filed a "Notice of Unavailability," this document is not some self-executing document that prevents the case from moving forward. You are still free to file motions and attempt to set hearings. The Court will make a determination as to whether the attorney's proposed "unavailability" will interfere with the case moving forward or should be respected, as a courtesy, for purposes of scheduling hearings.

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  • How to get rid your name on an auto loan?

    It was 3 years ago that I was helping a friend out to buy a car, and now we are no longer friend and I wanted to take my name off the loan, is there any possible way to do without needing that person to refinance or pay off?

    Ralph’s Answer

    Only if (1) the loan documents allow you, as co-signer, to be released after a certain number of payments (often 2 years) or (2) the lender/creditor agrees, which is unlikely to happen (or even be enforceable) unless you put up some money to make it happen.

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  • Can a D file another FRCP 12(e) motion after the first one was denied?

    The D in a FHAA & RICO case filed a 12(e) motion for a more defined statement. I amended my complaint and the judge granted leave to amend and denied their 12(e) motion. Now they are again filing a 12(e) motion about the amended complaint. I think...

    Ralph’s Answer

    The idea that the 12(e) motion was denied AND you were granted leave to amend is an awkward outcome. The only way it would normally work like that is if the 12(e) motion was denied as "moot," meaning that, because you had amended the complaint, the 12(e) motion no longer was an issue because it was directed at an original complaint that no longer existed. That said, it is possible that a Court would deny the 12(e) motion as without merit AND allow you to amend, but I say that this is unusual because a judge would normally not try to address both motions when addressing one is sufficient.

    Regardless, the long and short of it is that, when you amended your complaint, you give rise to new challenges to your Complaint. So, if the 12(e) motion was denied as moot, as I suggest above, the 12(e) motion CAN be brought again... if the 12(e) motion was denied as being without merit, it MIGHT be able to be brought again if something new about your complaint is unclear.

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  • Can I be sued for refusing to pay someone for extra work that they performed without every discussing with me first?

    I recently hired a handyman to complete a set of jobs on a written list. The tasks were very simple ie trash removal, pulling nails out of walls, general clean up of a rental house of mine. I would estimate the amount of work to be worth much <$10...

    Ralph’s Answer

    It depends. Anything he did on your list, of course, was part of your agreement, and you would normally be required to pay for those services. Additional work MIGHT be your burden too if, say, it arguably fell within the same set of services or he began performing such services, you knew or later discovered he was performing those services, and you nonetheless allowed him to complete those services without you objecting. This theory is called "unjust enrichment," because it would be "unjust" to allow you to retain the value of the services without your handyman being paid. However, if you did not discover he was performing those services until after they were done, and those services were clearly outside the scope of his job, you have a good argument that you never consented, expressly or implicitly, and you therefore would not need to pay.

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