Last week, I lost a civil law suit for $1,881.00 An attorney friend suggested I represent myself. During the hearing the Judge told me I was at a great disadvantage because I was representing myself and did not know how to work properly in the system. As a result, I was not able to use any of my documentation. Issue Company I used fot business support claims I owe $ 1,880 and I only owe $ 440. The attorney submitted 2 bills equaling $1,100. The judgment od for $ 1,800. 1. If I appeal can I introduce information not allowed due to hear say? The information disallowed is contradictory emails from the company.2. How will this affect my Credit Report? 3. Is it too late to offer a settlement?4. What are the next best steps to take? 5. Do I appeal? 6. Jim
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Pennsylvania
Good afternoon,I'm sorry to hear of the situation.The only time that I ever suggest that a person represent themselves is when they don't want to spend the money on an attorney. I have to say that with a claim of $1,800 by the Plaintiff---you probably would have spent that much or more defending it.No new information may be used in an appeal. And the only way that you could use hearsay at the appeal would be if you tried to enter the evidence at trial, you were denied, and you proved on appeal that the denial was improper. But hearsay evidence is almost always properly excluded.If you can get the case settled before the court enters the final judgment and it is filed with the clerk, then the Plaintiff can ask that the judgment not be filed and there will be no effect on your credit. Otherwise, it will have a minimal impact---but only minimal if you immediately pay the judgment and have the Satisfaction of Judgment filed by the Plaintiff. For all practical purposes, it won't directly affect your credit score---because it won't be reported by anyone to the credit score companies---but when a new creditor---of bigger ticket items--- runs a check on judgments and bankruptcies---your judgment---albeit satisfied judgment---will appear.It is not too late to make a settlement no---as long as the judgment has not been filed by the court. If the judgment has been filed, the best you can do is have the Satisfaction of Judgment filed.Speak with the attorney for the Plaintiff and see if they will take a settlement---I'd suggest payment in full---and agree to ask the court to dismiss the suit with prejudice immediately and avoid the judgment being filed.The likelihood of winning on appeal, and the cost of an appeal, generally make the appeal of such a small judgment cost-prohibitive. I would never do it myself, nor suggest that one of my clients do so.You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please recognize that the rating system only gives me credit for working with you when you click one of the 3 stars/faces on the right (positive rating). Also, kindly rate me based solely on my service to you in understanding the law, and not based on whether my answer is what you were hoping to hear. I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation, and I trust that you can understand how it would be unfair for me to be punished by a (negative rating) ----the first 2 stars/faces----for having been honest with you about the law.I wish you the best in 2012,Doug
I am a practicing attorney with more than 27 years of experience in the legal field.
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