Skip to main content
Jeffrey L Smoot

Jeffrey Smoot’s Answers

17 total


  • I have a judgement against my tenants and have also filed to move it to a civil case. How do I file for a lien?

    I wanted to put a lien on my tenants but that court says I have to get attorney to do it. Isn't there another way to get my tenants pay what they owed me?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Recording the judgment lien will perfect the lien as to real property only. A lien against personal property only attaches from the date of levy against the property. RCW 4.56.190. Recording the judgment won't give you a lien against personal property. You have to levy against the property by execution or garnishment. If one of the tenants has a steady job, a wage garnishment may be the easiest and least expensive way to collect. You should have an attorney assist you with collection of your judgment.

    See question 
  • Discovery in Small Claims Court?

    Can you file for discovery in small claims court? Im concerned that a former employer has created fraudulent documents to validate his reasons for suing me. If he has produced un-notorized or non-witnessed documents, what do I have to defend again...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    You should definitely be prepared to offer documents and witness statements at the small claim hearing to rebut any false documents and any other evidence that the employer may offer against you. If you lose in small claims court you have the right to appeal to the superior court. The appeal will involve a trial de novo, a completely new trial as if the original trial in small claims court had never taken place, but under RCW 12.36.055 the appeal is "upon the record of the case" so it is important to build a record in the small claims case that can be used at the trial de novo should you appeal. The superior court is more likely to allow discovery relating to questioned documents if it goes that far. Good luck!

    See question 
  • How to fill out Affidavit of Service- to serve someone

    Snohomish county District Court. I had someone served. The server didn't know what to put at the bottom for address- Their home address? Or does it need to be filled out? Bottom Right: http://www.co.snohomish.wa.us/documents/Departments/District_C...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    This affidavit of service form is not very good. As an affidavit, it would need to be notarized but no notary signature block is provided. If it were considered as an unsworn declaration under RCW 9A.72.085 it would have to recite that it was true under penalty of perjury. But as to how to fill out the form, both previous answers are correct. On line 3 you would put the address where the defendant was served. At the bottom you would put the server's address.

    See question 
  • Subcontractor filed a lawsuit to foreclose on a lien, but used it as a place holder and doesn't serve papers for months.

    The subcontractor filed a lawsuit to foreclose on a lien and doesn't actually try to serve the papers to any of the parties for several months, can they still pursue their foreclosure rights on the property? I am a home owner, I paid the contr...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Casey, you may still want to review the paperwork to see if the publication was done correctly. They are supposed to make a diligent effort to locate and serve you before resorting to publication; if they didn't do so, you could request that the service be nullified and the case dismissed.

    See question 
  • Subcontractor filed a lawsuit to foreclose on a lien, but used it as a place holder and doesn't serve papers for months.

    The subcontractor filed a lawsuit to foreclose on a lien and doesn't actually try to serve the papers to any of the parties for several months, can they still pursue their foreclosure rights on the property? I am a home owner, I paid the contr...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    As Mr. Foster states, a lien foreclosure action must be served on the owner within 90 days. RCW 60.04.141. Based on your timeline, it is possible that the sub is utilizing the court rule allowing service by mail. CR 4(d)(4). You should check the case docket to see if a motion was filed and an order entered allowing service by mail, and if so carefully check the papers you received to be sure they comply with the requirements of the court rule. A link to CR 4 is provided below. If service was not properly made within 90 days of filing suit, you would have grounds to ask the court to remove the lien from your property. Good luck!

    See question 
  • Can an auto repair shop hold a car hostage for payment?

    I took my '36 Ford in to have work done. The cost quoted was $3,200 - no written estimate. The car is ready and the shop now wants $5,700. I did not agree to this higher amount. They will not release my car until this higher amount is paid in f...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Look to the Automotive Repair Act, Chapter 46.71 RCW. A written estimate is normally required for any repair over $100, but there is an exception if you dropped the car off for repair and authorized repairs to be made. An automotive repair facility that fails to comply with the estimate requirements is generally barred from recovering more than 110% of the amount authorized by the customer, and is not entitled to assert a lien. But as Mr. Alexander says, if the shop won't release your car until you pay the higher amount, this dispute over the price difference can be resolved in small claims court.

    See question 
  • My paid parking receipt fell off window of car. Received a ticket. I have receipt showing that I paid on time. Help?!

    I paid for parking downtown, but the receipt fell off my window and I got a ticket. What's the best way to deal with this? Can I just send in a copy of the receipt or do I have to go to court? Thanks!

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    I haven't seen a parking ticket in awhile, but if I remember correctly you should have the option of paying, admitting the infraction but requesting a court hearing to explain the circumstances, or denying the infraction and demanding a hearing to dispute the ticket. You should deny the infraction, demand a hearing, and submit a letter to the court with a copy of your receipt proving that you paid for parking at the time in question and ask that the citation be dismissed. You will most likely either get a notice of hearing date (in which case you will have to appear in court to dispute the ticket), or a notice that the citation has been dismissed based on your receipt showing you paid for parking (in which case you won't have to go to court). Good luck!

    See question 
  • After occupying a unit for fourteen years, can I legally be charged for replacing the carpet, which was not new when I moved in?

    I do have my original lease and walk through

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    If the carpet needs replacement due to ordinary wear and tear (which seems likely if the carpet was not new when you moved in and you lived there for 14 years), you should not be charged for replacing it. Ordinary wear and tear means gradual deterioration resulting from use, lapse of time, and to a certain extent the operation of the elements. If the carpet is just worn out due to age and ordinary use, you should not have to pay for its replacement. However, if you damaged the carpet beyond ordinary wear and tear (such as by staining, tearing, or ripping up the carpet) that requires it to be replaced, you could be charged for replacement. If the carpet is just old and worn out, take pictures before you move out; you may need them as evidence later if the landlord wrongly tries to charge you for replacing the carpet.

    See question 
  • What is the worst that can happen by avoiding being served? Is it illegal?

    Process Service

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    It is not illegal to avoid service of process. In most cases, however, service is inevitable. As Mr. Alexander notes, if you avoid service long enough, the plaintiff may still serve you by publication in most cases. If you are being sued and are liable for attorney fees and costs under a contract or statute, the fees and costs of publication will be added to the judgment that you might eventually have to pay. Avoiding service, such as not answering the door or coming out of your office to be served, is one thing. Evading service, such as lying to or running away from a process server, is another. Evading service is not illegal either, but it could give the judge a first impression of you as being dishonest or evasive, and could be used against you in court later.

    See question 
  • What other collection options do we have if prelim lien notices are not met?

    We have a contractor that owes us for material that has been used and installed on a jobsite for over a year now. We did not originally file the prelim intent to lien, so I don't believe we have lien rights?? Our customer is a subcontractor on th...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    If you did not record your lien within 90 days of the last date you supplied materials to the project, then your lien rights would probably have expired. See RCW 60.04.091. If so, you would presumably still have the right to sue the subcontractor for breach of contract or to recover money due on account. It is possible that you have a claim against the prime contractor if they promised to issue a joint check and you reasonably relied on that promise to your detriment. You should consult with an attorney to determine your rights and decide on a course of action.

    See question