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Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Chen’s Answers

23,783 total


  • I was told by voicemail that plaintiff dismissed the case, don't show up to trial tomorrow. Should I have signed something?

    I am the defendant pro per. Plaintiff is a lawyer and he filed a request for dismissal without prejudice late thursday. Our 9am trial set for tomorrow morning has been removed from court website calendar. This is a civil limited case. I filed an a...

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, he is allowed to do this. Your consent is not required for the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the case without prejudice prior to the commencement of trial. See California Code of Civil Procedure section 581.

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  • I was late in by 1 week with my answer to an unlawful detainer. How do I proceed? Is there a specific form to file.

    The property I live in is borderline uninhabitable, bugs, water leaks etc,. What are my options?

    Frank’s Answer

    If a default has already been entered against you, then you will need to file a motion to set aside default (and possibly also vacated default judgment). There is no form for this, it has to be specially prepared.

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  • Unlawful detainer(s) served on all 4 tenants...Do all 4 have to answer and/or appear in court?

    my roommates and I were served UD paperwork today. Do all of us have to 1) answer the summons 2) file for fee waivers 3) appear in court or can one person be designated spokesperson for the other tenants

    Frank’s Answer

    All four must each file an answer to the complaint if each of the four is not an attorney and desires to represent himself or herself in pro per. Each must also file for his or her own fee waiver. Each should also appear in court at the time of trial to testify and present evidence as to why he or she should not be evicted. A non-lawyer cannot represent other tenants/defendants in the case.

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  • Can the default of a defendant still be requested after 10 days deadline in Cal rule or is too late after that?

    If the ten days limit to file the request for default is missed as stipulated by California Rule of Court, will the request for default be rejected after that or is there any other recourse ?

    Frank’s Answer

    So long as the defendant has not filed an answer, demurrer or motion to strike, the default can still be entered (assuming the request for entry of default form is correct, and assuming there is a proper proof of service of summons on file).

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  • I received a 3 day pay or quit, a pre judgment claim of possession notice and a summons from my landlord's attorney.

    All had a case number but no court stamp. I checked with the court website and no case with that number was found, Is this legal? I haven't responded yet, should I?

    Frank’s Answer

    It would be usual to receive a 3 day notice to pay or quit AND a summons and complaint for unlawful detainer (unless the 3 day notice was an attachment as a exhibit to the complaint). You will not find unlawful detainer case information online because unlawful detainer cases are "masked" from public view for the first 60 days after filing. See CA Code of Civil Procedure section 1161.2. Yes, you need to respond to the summons and complaint within 5 days after you were served.

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  • Can a defendant's attorney in small claims, file a civil case for the same case and have the two cases consolidated?

    We sued a woman we did a bunch of work for, and won the small claims case. She (or rather her attorney) counter sued, accusing us of breach of contract, elder abuse, etc. We won our case and the defendant's case was "thrown out". The defendant's a...

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, it is possible. A small claims court case (i.e. the Defendant's Claim) can be reclassified as a superior court case, and the two cases can then be deemed related and consolidated. See CA Code of Civil Procedure section 116..390(b) which provides:

    "(a) If a defendant has a claim against a plaintiff that
    exceeds the jurisdictional limits stated in Sections 116.220,
    116.221, and 116.231, and the claim relates to the contract,
    transaction, matter, or event which is the subject of the plaintiff's
    claim, the defendant may commence an action against the plaintiff in
    a court of competent jurisdiction and request the small claims court
    to transfer the small claims action to that court."

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  • Valid reasons for 60-day notice?

    I've been a tenant at a house for about 8 years. This year, I decided not to renew the lease and it has been month-to-month since February 2015. The owner wants to move back into the house and decided to present a 60-day notice to me to move. T...

    Frank’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If you are a month to month tenant (and have been for more than 12 months), the landlord can terminate the tenancy by serving you with a 60 day notice to terminate. (Civil Code section 1946.1(b).) The law does not require the landlord to provide you with any reason for the termination.

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  • Do all the Defendants have to be served a copy of opposition to Demurrer of one Defendant, even if voluminous with exhibits ?

    In an action wilh many defendants, must all the Defendants, who have appeared, be mailed a copy of the voluminous Opposition to demurrer of one particular Defendant ?

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, every party to the lawsuit must be served with the complete opposition (including exhibits which are attached thereto).

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  • Can a non lawyer office assistant serve defendants for federal lawsuit?

    I am a defendant in a federal lawsuit and I was just served with the summons/complaint by a legal assistant from the plaintiff's attorney's office. Is this valid service or does the service need to be by a certified messenger service or sheriff's...

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, certainly. Anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the lawsuit can serve the summons and complaint. Therefore, this alone would not invalidiate the service.

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  • Can a landlord just tell you that they are going to conduct a home inspection

    also a pest inspection

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, provided you received advance notice. California law states that a landlord can enter a rental unit only for the following reasons:
    -- In an emergency.
    -- When the tenant has moved out or has abandoned the rental unit.
    -- To make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or other improvements.
    -- To show the rental unit to prospective tenants, purchasers, or lenders, to provide entry to contractors or workers who are to perform work on the unit, or to conduct an initial inspection before the end of the tenancy.
    -- If a court order permits the landlord to enter.
    If the tenant has a waterbed, to inspect the installation of the waterbed when the installation has been completed, and periodically after that to assure that the installation meets the law's requirements.
    (See Civil Code Section 1954).

    The landlord must give the tenant reasonable advance notice in writing before entering the unit, and can enter only during normal business hours (generally, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays). The notice must state the date, approximate time and purpose of entry.

    However, advance written notice is not required to respond to an emergency, or if the tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry. Advance written notice is also not required if the tenant and landlord have agreed that the landlord will make repairs or supply services, and have agreed orally that the landlord may enter to make the repairs or supply the services. (But the agreement must include the date and approximate time of entry, which must be within one week of the oral agreement.)

    The landlord or agent may use any one of the following methods to give the tenant written notice of intent to enter the unit. The landlord or agent may personally deliver the notice to the tenant; or leave the notice at the rental unit with a person of suitable age and discretion; or leave the notice on, near or under the unit's usual entry door in such a way that it is likely to be found; or mail the notice to the tenant. The law considers 24 hours' advance written notice to be reasonable in most situations.

    Pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1954(c), a landlord cannot abuse the right of access allowed by these rules, or use this right of access to harass or repeatedly disturb the tenant. Also, the law prohibits a landlord from significantly and intentionally violating these access rules to attempt to influence the tenant to move from the rental unit. If a landlord's violation of these rules was significant and intentional, and the landlord's purpose was to influence you to move from the rental unit, you can sue the landlord in small claims court for a civil penalty of up to $2,000 for each violation. (Civil Code Section 1940.2(b).)

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