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Joseph Clark Melino

Joseph Melino’s Answers

421 total


  • Does California's homestead exemption apply in cases of fraud?

    If a California debtor is found by the courts to be fraudulent, and his debt deemed nondischargeable, is his home equity still protected by California's homestead exemption? (His only asset is his home, worth about $400k, and I'm guesstimating his...

    Joseph’s Answer

    I would think so, unless the fraud is somehow connected to the the acquisition of the residence. If the Fraud event arose from an independent transaction, then likely not, without some connection to the acquisition of the residence.

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  • Are there any circumstances where a 60 day notice to vacate can change to any shorter notice?

    I rent in room in a 6 bedroom house, where only 3 of us have paid rent every month. I refused to pay last month, because of 2 months of kitchen construction that made it not usable, and frequent problems with a non paying renter that led to a phys...

    Joseph’s Answer

    Non-payment of Rent, or other material breach of the rental agreement might begat a 3 day Notice. Another way is for you to complain to the City about the illegal room. In that instance, the landlord may not charge the rent, because possession would be stayed by the action of the City as the City might Red-Tag the premises and force you out. At that point you might be able to obtain payment of some amount for renting another place for the balance of the possessory entitlement..

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  • Must California Courts hold pro se litigants to the same standards as lawyers? What are the legal grounds for such a rule?

    "Because plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94 as cited...

    Joseph’s Answer

    Theoretically the statutes and the Rules of Court govern what must be done by a litigant in the court system, be they in Pro se or represented by a lawyer. The citation quoted is not a California citation, but one that impacts the Federal courts. The Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94 has not been cited in California.
    As a result, the comment that the Judges make an effort to give a benefit to Pro se's is appropriate, but not because of Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94.
    The issue of the delay in the civil ((and criminal)) systems is one that affects the civil & criminal justice systems and needs to be addressed. How to do that, without making Pro se's second class litigants is a vexing one. A public law office with sliding scale fees on financial qualifications could be an answer, but the law does not so provide.
    So, in California, Pro se's must follow the Rules of Court and the applicable law, they get a helping hand from the hard-pressed judges in an effort to keep the matter moving .

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  • WHAT KIND AN ATTORNEYS I SHOULD TALK TO.

    MY COMMERCIAL PARKING LOT, GOT DAMAGE FROM PG-E COMPANY BIG TRUCKS. THEY WORK IN NEXT DOOR PROPERTY , THEY USING MY DRIVE WAY INTO THEIR WORK PLACE. AND IT TOOK OVER 3 MONTHS TO DONE THEIR PROJECT, NOW I CLAIM FOR ABOUT THAT LOSS, THE PG&E DENIED...

    Joseph’s Answer

    You should be examining your deed and other legal papers regarding your land to see if PG&E has an easement across your land. Take that document to an experienced land lawyer in the Sacramento area for an analysis of your potential claim. While you search for your documents, you should get an estimate from a grading and paving contractor about the cost of repairs. That will tell you where your case will fit in the nature of actions in the court. Small claims, Limited Process or Unlimited.

    Good luck.

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  • Off-Setting or Setting Off of Funds in Construction Can General Contractor off-set funds on sub-contractor to settle a dispute.

    Is off-setting or setting-Off funds in Construction legal in Ca.? To off-set from Project A to pay dispute on Project B with same General Contractor.... If not does anyone have the law code or violation code?

    Joseph’s Answer

    In the instance of a single contract, the General Contractor can claim the rights to a set-off. and litigated the issue. But if the "set-off" is from funds paid by the owner for different and separate contract, the retention of funds may be a violation of the prompt payment provisions of the Business & Professions Code. As the other lawyers have so well said, it is a fact driven matter, and you need to review the claim and your remedies with a construction lawyer.

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  • How can I place lean on a property?

    When my mom house was about to go to forclosure I paid $116000.00 and paid off the house. She is about to sell the house now and I would like to place lean to get my money back. How I can do this?

    Joseph’s Answer

    While I agree with Ms. Martin that you should work with your mother to get security for your loan ((if that is what is was?)). That would be the most efficient way to resolve the issue.
    On the other hand, If "Mom" isn't appreciative of your help in paying off the note, and is trying to sell to take the money and run, then litigation is your only alternative -- and it needs to be done NOW!.

    I suggest you seek out the advice of a area real estate litigator to protect your interest if there is ANY INDICATION that "Mom" won't help fix your failure to obtain security for your advance of funds. A suit for the money and and attachment may be the only way to solve your problem. That could be true if there is no signed agreement between you and your Mom. Transactions dealing with real property require a writing to be enforceable.. You don't give enough facts for that to be determined.

    You need to seek legal counsel asap!

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  • Landlord-tenant question- can my friend be evicted from her trailer park if manager refused to accept her monthly rent?

    our friend has lived in and paid monthly rental on her trailer for 6-7 yrs. trailer was owned by her mother and grandmother who both died about 2 yrs ago. before deaths she was given a quit claim deed to the trailer. she never filed it w/court nor...

    Joseph’s Answer

    These described circumstances appear unusual. There is likely a defense to the eviction process, your case should be reviewed by a lawyer as soon as possible.

    Help may also be found with the State of California's Department of Housing and Community Development . . . here > http://www.hcd.ca.gov/codes/ol/ombpg-menu.html

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  • What can I do if a landlord is retaliating because of complaints made?

    I own a mobile home in California but rent the lot . The landlord is falsely accusing me of breaking many park rules and laws , but refuses to meet in person to fix the problem . He does not follow the steps of dispute resolution from the contr...

    Joseph’s Answer

    If you truly cannot afford a lawyer to examine your case regarding your California, Manufactured Home, go to http://www.hcd.ca.gov/codes/ol/ombpg-menu.html and see if you can qualify for help from the Department of Housing and Community Development.

    Your other option is to seek assistance from the Alameda County Bar's Lawyer Referral service. If that program exists, you can see a lawyer for a minimal charge ((sometimes free)) and have your papers reviewed.

    Good luck.

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  • My husband and I both filled out and had CA Real Estate PO A's notarized prior to traveling internationally .

    Now , the Title Company states that they want their form used , not the one that we downloaded and filled out . Also , they want us to use one of their approved notaries . Our lender and real estate agent are fine with the PA we used . What ...

    Joseph’s Answer

    If your Agent and the Lender approve of the form of POA used, you should change title companies.

    It may be that your seller has set the title company in your contract, in such a case, the parties should agree to the change. It may be the contract specifies the forms that can be used.

    Without a review of the transactions papers, its hard to specify what you can do. It would appear you have ways to resolve the issue. But, because of your travels they will require attention to detail and the consent of all the parties to the transaction. With that consent, the title company may be convinced that their "rules" will cause a termination of the transaction, and their potential exposure for negligence or other breach of contract.

    Good luck.

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  • I'd like to tutor and give lessons out of my home--is this legal?

    I've been told that my zip code , 91321 , has some restriction or law against having a business in your home . I only want to have people ( adults mainly ) over for lessons and tutoring for a little extra money . Is this really true ? What ...

    Joseph’s Answer

    The local city or county with jurisdiction has ordinances that might so provide. You need to go to that government website and get copies of the rules and ordinances that apply.

    If you act in a way that is in violation of the ordinances, the local government can take steps to stop your violations of the Code, if any there be. The range of remedy can run from a fine to injunctive relief or even some jail time.

    For the review of the ordinances, you don't need a lawyer -- if you plan to abide by the law. If you don't do the suggested review ((or do and don't comply)) and your activity is proscribed by the ordinances, you will need a lawyer to defend you when the local jurisdiction takes any action that is available under the law.

    Best of luck.

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