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I WON A LEGAL JUDGMENT IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT; MY AWARD WAS PAID/MAILED TO THE COURT BUT THEY ARE STALLING ON PAYING ME

Beverly Hills, CA |

I was in an auto accident; other driver at fault. His insur co wouldn't pay me for injuries so I took the driver to court & won a $6K judgment on 5/3/13. Defendants insur co (Mercury) waited to pay this judgment to the Bev Hills Court because they KNEW that court was moving all their small claims cases down to Inglewood in June so my $ would be tied up for a while. By mid-June, I traced this payment to Inglewoods court but they were buried w/cases & told me they'd get around to locating my check eventually. It's now been another month & they claim to be "processing" it now yet I was due this $ two mons ago. How can I legally get my $ NOW? Should I file another case against defendant to garnish wages just so the court will pay me? I feel I need an aggressive approach to get paid.

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer
Posted

First it is important to realize that the legal systems of our country often take a good amount of time to reach a resolution, and your judgement will likely be delivered to you, just possibly not in the time frame you expect. Considering the judgment was entered one month ago, you should likely give the court system another month or two to process your case considering the transfer.

Nevertheless, due to the nature of the issue, you might try finding a local attorney who will take up the matter for you for a reasonable fee, or you might file a motion for appearance with the clerk of the court and appear representing yourself. In making your appearance you may discuss the nature of the case, and the timeline to this point.

You should emphasize that while your case was resolved the judgement has not been delivered, and further delay may encourage insurance companies and others to engage in protracted payout practices. You may argue that by not receiving your judgement you have been denied justice to this point. However, given the dates you discussed, a court will likely tell you "Were not fast enough for you? Do you think your the only one with this problem?"

In conclusion, your best bet will likely be to continue to stay in touch with the courts, and ask for a time frame for delivery of your check. By staying in touch with the courts you will keep them on top of your case.

This answer does not constitute a legal consultation, or definitive answer, nor does it establish a lawyer client relationship. Each case, controversy, or situation is factually different and requires particularized evaluation.

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

Unfortunately, there are no real appearances that can be made. Your only option would be to file a Request For Court Order and Answer (SC 105; www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sc105.pdf)

Posted

If someone fails to pay a judgment arising for a motor vehicle accident, you can request that the DMV suspend their license until the judgment is paid. For more information, go to:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/11188.htm

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

Though I agree, technically, the judgment has been paid. Receipt of the funds are being processed; which is the problem. If the asker seeks to suspend the DMV license, I believe that the defendant/debtor MIGHT have a claim for abuse of process or malicious prosecution.

Brad S Kane

Brad S Kane

Posted

I completely agree with Mr. Jaffe. If the judgment has been paid (including the full amount of the judgment deposited with the Court), you should not risk exposing yourself to an abuse of process or malicious prosecution action. I was merely responding to the part of the question requesting an aggressive means of judgment enforcement.

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

True, true.

Posted

Take your aggressive approach against the court clerk's office. The defendant has complied

Stephen Ross Cohen

Stephen Ross Cohen

Posted

The court staff in Los Angeles County has shrunk, you get more bees with honey, that being a basket case

Posted

How could you file another claim if the defendant has complied with the order, your issue seems to be with the court not with the defendant.

The above answer is for information only; and does NOT constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute, nor does it create, an attorney-client relationship between KaplunMarx, PLLC, Jonathan D. Marx and any receiver. The information provided on these pages is general only, and you should not act upon this information without consulting with a qualified attorney

Posted

As I stated in a response to one of my colleagues, your only REAL option is to file a motion with the court, wherein the judge orders the clerk to release the funds. To do this, you would file SC-105: Request For Court Order and Answer (www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sc105.pdf)

The defendant (through Mercury) has complied with the law. There is nothing, really, that you can do with them.

Should my suggestion fail to produce results, you last option would be to seek a writ of mandate from the Appellate Division. I doubt this would work as:
1) You would PROBABLY get paid before it is heard - if not because the Presiding Judge intervened or the money actually made it to you
2) Writs of Mandate are VERY RARE in Small Claims. Success would be limited to a court order requiring the release of funds.

So, then you would be left wanting to sue the Court for failing to act promptly. I doubt this would be very successful. Unfortunately, you just need to be patient.

If you have further questions about Small Claims, contact an attorney that knows Small Claims law and procedure. Try: www.smallclaimsappeals.com

Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964 www.smallclaimsappeals.com Adam@AdamJayJaffe.com This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.

Posted

Jaffe laid it out well

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

Thanks.

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