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Maverick, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6423
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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I am located in West. My landlord filed for eviction and

Customer Question

I am located in West Virginia. My landlord filed for eviction and sued us for the remaining amount of the lease (1o months) in two seperste courts. We attended our hearing for eviction, the plantiffs did not show up and the case was thrown out. Two weeks later the sheriff showed up at the house to show notice of immediate eviction by the end of the day. Apparently, the plaintiff's had the judge reopen the case and she approved eviction without notifying us. In the separate case for the remaining amount of the lease, because the eviction was thrown out, we did not file answer, the judge granted their petition and we were ordered to pay $25k. With the immediate eviction we were forced to leave all of belongings. The landlords refused to return any of our property and filed an amended motion for 90k for damage done to the house. We hired a lawyer and are set for trial in three weeks. It has been over a year, we have had a number of hearings, for each hearing the judge does not let my lawyer speak at all. In one hearing the plaintiffs were ordered to file an inventory of property left in the house. The inventory was missing significant items. We filed a counterclaim for the missing items. The judge refused to rule on the motion for counterclaim for 5 months. Finally three weeks before trial he rejected our counterclaim. What are our options. It feels like we are being railroaded by the WV CircitnCourt. Their petition for 90k has damage that does not exist, the prices for repair are overpriced ( the are charging us $8k for a front door, new kitchen cabinets when there is no damage to cabinets, $3200 for 4 screens) my lawyer tried to bring up in hearing that contractors they hired for estimate are not licensed and located 4 hours from rental property but judge won't even let my lawyer speak. I want to file complaint with WV Judiciary Committee and call the newspapers. What are my options?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: West Virigina
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: What do you mean?
JA: What confuses you?
Customer: What would be filed or reported? They filed the 90k property damage complaint and we filed for counterclaim but other than that I am not sure what you mean.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: When we were given notice for immediate eviction we filed an appeal. We had a hearing where we agreed to pay $5k to stay for 30 days. One condition was plaintiffs were able to come to house day of hearing and do a walk through. Two weeks later and two weeks till we agreed we would move, they filed and had another emergency eviction hearing but no one notified us and they were granted another immediate eviction. The sheriff came to house at 4:45 and we were ordered to leave by 5:00 pm. We had 15 minutes to leave. Two times they had a court hearing without notifying us.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

Welcome to Just Answer! My name is***** give me a few minutes to review your inquiry. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

It appears to me that the LL's attorney has much more influence over the judge that does your attorney. This may be due to a personal relationship or due to that lawyer's law firm having donated money to the judge's campaign or for other similar reasons. This type of things are not supposed to happen, but in reality they do; and now a days it is the norm rather than the exception. Your options are: (1) file a complaint with the WV Judicial Investigation Commission using this form. and (2) to appeal the judge's orders that were granted without notice to you or that are otherwise legally erroneous for abuse of discretion.

HERE is the code of judicial conduct that the judge should live by.

Note: Just Answer’s site disclaimer apply to all services including premium services. This information may not be correct, complete or reflect current legal developments for your specific jurisdiction. Please do not act or fail to act based on it alone. Most follow-up questions are answered within 24 hours. Please assign a feedback rating when we are done so JA will compensate me for this answer. Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have considered filing a complaint with the Judiciary Committee previously but am unsure if that is a good idea to do before the actual trial. Should I wait or file now? Also, is there anyway to appeal the counterclaim and have it granted before the trial date. When the landlords were granted permission for walk through before the 2nd emergency eviction they took many pictures of my property. They were opening drawers and boxes and taking pictures of our personal items. I was confused and demanded their lawyer call the judge to clarify if they were entitled to focus on our personal property rather than the actual rental house. That would be documented with the court. In WV a company must have a license to conduct business. Once I received the estimate they filed with court for the $90k I did some research and found out the contracting company did not have a license for residential construction. The estimate was from a company licensed to do low voltage work. We brought this to our lawyers attention but he refused to address the issue. I have multiple emails were our own lawyer is telling me to drop the matter and it they do have a residential contracting license. I finally called the labor board and filed complaint resulting in the estimated company to lose their low voltage license. Only then did my lawyer acknowledge that they did not have a license. He tried to bring it up in a hearing to dismiss the lawsuit being it was a fraudulent estimate and the judge would not let my lawyer talk. My concern is all very expensive items are missing (my wedding ring, other jewelry, my husbands tools of trade, electronics), what happens with that? Because the judge dismissed our counterclaim, do we just lose those items. I am also concerned because their taking of our property shows motive for them giving such a high estimate. It would help the jury understand why they are doing this, to keep all of our remaining property.
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

The judiciary committee has no power to change the judge's decisions; only the appeals court can do that. So, there is no harm if you want to wait to file the complaint later.

The denial of your counterclaim has to be appealed once there is a final judgment issued in your case.

If your lawyer filed a motion to dismiss and that was denied [even though he was not allowed to speak at the hearing] then the judge's order denying the motion would also be the subject of an appeal.

If you sued the LL for the missing items and that is the counterclaim that was denied, then you will need to appeal the order denying that counterclaim. But, you could still independently sue the contracting company for civil conversion.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** want to clarity one thing. You said I need to file an appeal once there is a final judgement. That means there is no way to get the counterclaim in before the trial date in three weeks? Also, what happens if they judge just denies the appeal. Does that mean we just lose the property that is missing? Also, how does an appeal work. If we wait until after the verdict and it does get approved, would this be the same case or does our lawyer file a whole other case. He is clearly bias and I fear we will not get a anything we petition for.We have a lawyer but he doesn't answer any of my questions or respond to any of my emails.
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

That means there is no way to get the counterclaim in before the trial date in three weeks? CORRECT.

An appeal is filed with the next higher court which is usually termed as "the court of appeals". There, normally a panel of 3 judges decide the case and can reverse the lower / trial court's decision on one or more illegal orders. So, if the appeals court reverses the lower court, then you may be granted a new trial in the lower court.

I think you would greatly benefit from a phone call with me; but there is an extra fee for that.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I would like to speak to you but want to update my husband before calling. Is there a way to you directly after I speak with my husband or do I have to accept the offer pop up now? If call later do I have to write in and go through the whole thing again before the call in option?
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

You can accept this offer at any time. It should remain open and you can always come back to this thread. Once you accept the offer, I will be notified and I usually respond within 5 hours if I am not on-line ; but sometimes it can take up to 24 hours.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok. I appreciate your time. I am going to speak to my husband and see if he has any questions then accept the offer.
Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

Sounds fine...

Expert:  Maverick replied 5 months ago.

P.S. Please remember to assign a positive feedback rating on this so that Just Answer will compensate me for this answer. Thank you.