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Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Chen’s Answers

24,128 total


  • Does my grandmother have a conveyable ownership interest in her home despite not being named on the deed?

    Grandfather and uncle [his son] purchased a home together back in the 1970s. Grandfather was married, but the deed does not list grandmother [his wife] as a co-owner; title is held as joint tenancy with my uncle. Grandfather recently passed away...

    Frank’s Answer

    When title to real property is held by two people as joint tenants with right of survivorship, when one dies, the other joint tenant automatically gets the entire ownership interest. If title to the house is vested in your grandfather and uncle as joint tenants, your uncle becomes the sole owner of the house upon recording an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant in the County Recorder's Office where the property is located. Your grandmother does not have a community property interest nor a life estate.

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  • I am requesting a full refund for July and August 2014, is this possible. I was charged a total of $4427.50.

    July 3, 2014, I entered a lease agreement with a Property Management. I was not able to visit the state before the move. Upon arriving to California, was when the first day of school registration at Toyak High School. Which was to begin around J...

    Frank’s Answer

    It is possible to sue for breach of written contract, which has a four year statute of limitations in California and/or for fraudulent misrepresentation, which has a 3 year statute of limitations. You can bring your lawsuit in small claims court without the need to hire an attorney. At the small claims court trial, make sure you bring all of your evidence (lease agreement, photographs, police report, canceled check, etc.)

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  • Is that legal?Small claim forms do ask if the case has already been arbitrated but cannot find an arbitrator.Will mediation do?

    I signed a retainer with an immigration lawyer who promised to file for me for adjustment of status.Turned out he was not knowledgeable and he didn't know what he was doing after I consulted with other pro bono lawyers so I got scared.I expressed ...

    Frank’s Answer

    Mediation requires both sides to agree to mediate. You cannot force the attorney to mediate. In California, the client in an attorney-client fee dispute has the right to arbitration, and can compel the attorney to participate in a non-binding fee arbitration. However, as you indicate, if the amount in controversy is only $250, arbitration would not be worthwhile. As the client, you can file a small claims lawsuit without having to arbitrate or attempt arbitration. Arbitration is mandatory for the attorney bringing a claim against a client, but optional for the client.

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  • Is it legal for an immigration attorney to refuse any alternative resolution other than small claim?

    I signed a retainer with an immigration lawyer who promised to file for me for adjustment of status. Turned out he was not knowledgeable and he didn't know what he was doing after I consulted with other pro bon lawyers and so I got scared.I expres...

    Frank’s Answer

    In California, the client in an attorney-client fee dispute has the right to arbitration, and can compel the attorney to participate in a non-binding fee arbitration. However, as you indicate, if the amount in controversy is only $250, arbitration would not be worthwhile. As the client, you can file a small claims lawsuit without having to arbitrate or attempt arbitration. Arbitration is mandatory for the attorney bringing a claim against a client, but optional for the client.

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  • Is CA Sup. Court order final when judge states ruling in court, text posted on dckt, order posted, ntc of entry of order posted?

    Confused by when a California Superior Court's orders are final and appealable.

    Frank’s Answer

    First of all, you should know that not all orders are appealable. Assuming that the order in question is appealable, the time allowed to file a Notice of Appeal depends on whether this is a limited jurisdiction or an unlimited jurisdiction case, and whether there was a notice of entry of judgment and, if so, when it was served or whether there was a timely motion (for new trial, to vacate the judgment, for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or for reconsideration) that, when denied, extends the time.

    Judgment is entered when the court clerk file-stamps the appealable order or judgment. The court clerk or any party may provide notice that the judgment was entered. The clerk may do so by serving a Notice of Entry of Judgment (or Order) or a copy of the judgment or order to the person filing the Notice of Appeal; any party may provide Notice of Entry of Judgment by serving each of the other parties with either (1) a Notice of Entry of Judgment or (2) a file-stamped copy of the judgment.

    In a limited jurisdiction superior court case, if either the clerk or the party has served the notice of entry, the Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date of either (1) the court clerk’s serving or (2) the party’s serving a copy of the judgment, minutes, or Notice of Entry of Judgment, whichever comes earlier. (See California Rules of Court, Rule 8.822.) In an unlimited jurisdiction civil case (i.e., involving an amount over $25,000 ), a notice of appeal must be filed by the earliest of the following dates: (1) 60 days after either the trial court clerk or the other side serves you with notice of entry of judgment or alternatively, a copy of the judgment stamped "filed," or (2) 180 days after the entry of the judgment.

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  • Instead of doing a 30 Day Pay or Quit, can I elect just to end the tenancy and take a loss?

    I have this single family house that I am renting out. The tenant took occupancy of the place on the 3rd of Dec., 2015 and has already been late with January's rent and I don't think this person will be able to meet the rent in February due to fin...

    Frank’s Answer

    There is no guarantee that the tenant will actually move out if you provided a 30 day notice pursuant to the terms of your lease or rental agreement. In such a situation, a landlord would normally serve a 3 day notice to pay or quit, followed by an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit. Otherwise, the tenant will most likely delay in moving out or paying.

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  • What's my recourse. Do I take him to small claim or get an attorney and take him to civil court.

    I had my house remodel. the so called "contractor" was refer by a friend. Based on the friend I trusted the contractor. I didn't check his contractor status. The remodeling is about 85% done. He requested it for final payment, because he promise h...

    Frank’s Answer

    You can sue in small claims court if the amount in controversy is $10,000 or less. Otherwise, you can bring a lawsuit in the superior court (either as a limited jurisdction case if the amount in controversy is less than $25,000 or an unlimited jurisdiction case), but it will probably likely take 12 to 24 months before you obtain a civil money judgment. In comparison, you can typically obtain a small claims court judgment within 60 days.

    In California, it is illegal for an unlicensed person to perform contracting work on any project valued at $500 or more in labor and materials. California Business & Professions Code section 7031(a) prevents an unlicensed contractor from collecting on debts owed to them by consumers under contracts due to their unlicensed status. This means that a court will not enforce the illegal contract.

    Furthermore, California Business & Professions Code section 7031(b) gives consumers who have contracted with unlicensed contractors the ability to sue for restitution or reimbursement of all monies paid to the unlicensed contractor for "any act or contract".

    In short, an unlicensed contractor will not only be unable to collect against the owner but may actually be liable to pay back to the owner every penny that was already paid him. This law applies even if the unlicensed contractor completes the job and even if the work performed is otherwise perfect.

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  • The hearing on a motion is 2/16/2016. When is my opposition due considering holidays?

    There are two court holidays this month. I was served with a motion with the hearing on 2/16/2016. When must my opposition be personally served on the opposing party? I was reading CRC 1.10(b) and was figuring I had two extra days due to the two h...

    Frank’s Answer

    If the motion hearing is set for 2/16/2016, the opposition must be served and filed no later than 2/1/2016. Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1005(c), service of the opposition must be made by personal delivery, facsimile transmission, express mail, or other means reasonably calculated to ensure delivery to the other party not later than the close of the next business day after the time the opposition is filed.

    You do not indicate the type of motion. Generally speaking, if the notice of motion was served by mail on 1/21/2016, it most likely fails to comply with Code of Civil Procedure section 1005(b), which requires 16 court days notice, plus 5 calendar days for mailing.

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  • Is a meet and confer required before I bring a motion for extension to respond to discovery?

    Defendant is refusing to provide me with my requested 2-week extension. Although I already obtained a 30-day extension from him, I was served with a voluminous 5-set of discovery and I need more time to respond. They are refusing to provide me wit...

    Frank’s Answer

    What you are really seeking is a motion for protective order, which does require meeting and conferring before filing. See CA Code of Civil Procedure §2017.020.

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  • What kind of proof do I need to prove they haven't paid rent or is the burden of proof on them to prove they have paid?

    I'm evicting a couple that rents a room for me. They are on hud. I believe to terminate their lease (month to month) without cause is 90 days, with cause is 60 days. I'm giving them a 60 day notice for nonpayment of their portion of the rent that...

    Frank’s Answer

    As the plaintiff, you have the burden to prove that the tenant did not pay the full amount of rent. Your oral testimony, especially when it can be corroborated by documentary evidence, is what you need to present at the unlawful detainer trial to meet your burden of proof. The tenant as the defendant has the burden of proving defenses such as full payment of rent, defective notice, etc.

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