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socallegalwork, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 104
Experience:  Attorney and licensed real estate broker with over twelve years of experience, specializing in landlord/tenant matters.
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I'm the plaintiff in an unlawful detainer suit. The judge

Customer Question

i'm the plaintiff in an unlawful detainer suit. The judge denied my case because he claimed there was no proof of service of the original 3day pay or quit in the courts file. I hired a company to do all he paperwork and filings, and they claim that this document was produced and filed. Do i have to start all over or can i appeal the decision?
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Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  socallegalwork replied 6 months ago.
Hello. I believe I can help you.When you say the case was denied, how far did the case get? Did the defendant respond? Was there a trial hearing?Are you in California? If not, where is the case located? I ask because you may not necessarily have to start from step 1. Generally speaking, if a judgment is entered against you, you can appeal. However, practically speaking, it will be much quicker and probably cheaper just to re-serve the 3 day notice. If the process server screwed up, I would lean on them to give you a big discount this second time around or consider picking another server.Another good tip I have learned over the years, because I have had issues with clerks not seeming to find filed documents in their files, such as proofs of service, is to bring my own copies of those documents when I appear in court just in case. Your process server should be providing you with copies of everything it files. So in a hearing, if the court clerk says they don't have a copy, I have a copy ready to show them so the case doesn't go off the rails.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
We went through the preliminary 'instructions" phase, a mediated session, and then the trial itself. The first thing the judge asked was for the proof of service for the 3 day pay or quit (apparently the defendants had checked every box their is in their answer to the UD.) I had been told that all of these forms had been filed and would be accessible to the Judge, so I was surprised to find that the proof of service document wasn't there. The judge did not ask me to produce the document, nor did he allow methe opportunity to do so, he simply denied the UD based on the failure to have properly filed the Proof of Service for the 3 day pay or quit. Upon leaving the courtroom I checked the online database where all the documents for the case are located (from the service I used to do the filing) and the Proof of Service was there. (the proof of service doesn't appear to actually contain any proof at all, just my signed statement that says that I posted the 3 day PoQ and mailed copies to them at the property address.) I inquired as to why the PoS wasnt in the court file and the service said it should have been and has yet to give me an explanation as to why it wasn't. FYI, the case was heard in Los Angeles Superior Court. The property is in Hollywood, ca
Expert:  socallegalwork replied 6 months ago.
Okay. The proof of service referenced online may have been the proof of service for the complaint filled out by the process server. Typically, the proof of service for the 3 day notice is an exhibit (along with the lease) to the complaint and doesn't show up as a separate filed item on the LA Superior Court website's case summary. The notice and the proof have to be attached as part of the complaint.In any event, based on what you told me, unfortunately, it sounds like your best option is to re-serve a 3 day notice and re-file. I know it is frustrating, but it will be much quicker (trust me) then appealing the judge's ruling. Plus, there is no guarantee you will even win the appeal and get a new trial anyway. Unlawful detainers can be frustrating from landlords. Best of luck to you.

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