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Hello and thanks for choosing Just Answer®. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and assist you. To provide you with accurate information, could you please clarify this point:
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Hello and thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.
"Do we need a lawyer?" Yes, the most prudent move would be to retain legal counsel. Here is what I say that. In some jurisdictions (most notably California), there are many good resources for pro se (self-represented) litigants. However, unfortunately this is not the case for defendants in Virginia. There are some limited forms available for public use, but none are going to suit your particular needs at this juncture. Here is what I would suggest. The most pressing need at this point is to file a timely answer to suit to avoid risking the entry of an adverse default judgment against you. I would start by immediately scheduling an initial session with legal counsel for $35 through the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service. Alternatively, you could schedule an unlimited duration telephone consultation for $34.95 through Legal Advice Line. This service also offers document drafting and review for modest fees. The papers you received likely make mention of making an "appearance" in Court, but at this stage of the proceedings that actually means timely filing a proper answer.
"What should I take with me to court?" Truthfully, at this early stage of the proceedings that question cannot be fully answered with authority. Rather, much of the case will be framed through Discovery (i.e. Interrogatories, Requests for Production, Requests for Admissions, etc.) well before a trial date is even scheduled. In other words, you are far from even being able to know what evidence will be introduced. If and when it does come to trial, your focus will most likely be on proving that the cleaner failed to uphold her end of the agreement. This would include your testimony about the poor quality of the work performed, any documentary evidence (i.e. photographs, correspondence), along with proof that you had to pay another cleaner to do the job correctly.
I hope that makes sense, but please do not hesitate to write back if needed. I shall be signing off to attend to some other professional obligations. Please rest assured, however, that I will be sure to check for any updated posts from you when I return to this online forum.
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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.