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Infolawyer, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 56534
Experience:  Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
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I filed a small claims suit against a car dealer for a car-repair-gone-bad,

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I filed a small claims suit against a car dealer for a car-repair-gone-bad, but the dealer has demanded the case be heard in the civil court. Of course this means dealing with a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo (no disrespect intended). The money involved here is small, less than $6,000. I've been told that it would cost more than half of that to retain counsel. In any event, here's where I'm at now. I've received the written answer from the defendant. Stated under the heading of affirmative defenses are things like: Plaintiff's claims are barred pursuant to statute of limitations - unable to demonstrate any damages - barred by res judicata/collateral estopped... This, franky, is hogwash. I have solid documentation that the repair was improperly performed. As I understand it, my challenge is in getting this documented evidence admitted. I don't have space enough here to elaborate further. How can we proceed?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 8 years ago.
What state are you in?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'm in Michigan. Perhaps the "Already Tried" info that I just sent will be helpful.
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 8 years ago.
Wait for the pretrial hearing. That is more of a control date and informal in that the court will try to settle the case, and schedule it for trial.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Would you mind elaborating on that please? How is this pretrial thing likely to go down? Is this an opportunity to present my story? Will I be able to present the evidence that I have that supports my story? Also, what about all of that 'stuff' in his written answer? - barred by res judicata/collateral estopped - and so forth? Is that standard template stuff that lawyers put in to cover a myriad of possibilities? Do I ignore it, respond to it, what? I'm pretty sure the defendant is not going to want to settle, so I need to know how to prepare for this pretrial thing as well as the trial itself.
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 8 years ago.
The judge or his clerk will want to hear what the case is about from each of you and find out if settlement is possible, if discovery is needed, and if not it will proceed to schedule a trial date. You should bring your evidence with you so as to impress on the judge the merit of your claim.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Can the defendant's attorney object to any of my evidence or testimony about the facts at this pretrial? For example, I've been told that they could object to my submitting repair orders/invoices as that could be considered hearsay. On the other hand, I've done research and found that 'records of regularly conducted activity' is admissible. In your last answer you referred to discovery. What might that entail? And I still don't know what, if anything, I should respond to regarding their written answer. I appreciate that you can't predict every possible contingency, but a little more clarification would be most appreciated.

Expert:  Infolawyer replied 8 years ago.
Invoices are business records and many judges will permit them to come into evidence but some will insist you have a person/witness testify concerning them to put them into evidence.

Discovery can include request for documents, interrogatories and depositions. This is optional and should only be done if you need it as otherwise case will drag on for months.

No need to respond to answer unless it includes a counterclaim.
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