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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12365
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I own a Driving School for teens. I had a Lying Lawyer Father

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I own a Driving School for teens. I had a Lying Lawyer Father of one of my students win in small claims court. The family was not following the contract they just signed the day before. They wanted all the driving lessons ASAP. Our contract spreads them out for 6 months. Because they were being difficult. I cancelled the contract. I have recorded messages from him ANGRYabout the cancellation. He is threating to sue and claim accusations about me mistreating his daughter. The accusations of being mean are false. During the trial he braught up that his daughter had a phsycotic episode in the past. My bad 1 hour driving lesson made it worse. 10,000 in damages. The judge said something about minors and only 5,000 can be saught. I never got to explain my side my signed contract and $260 fee that is non refundable. I tried to play my recordings of him beiing a lawyer and he would sue me and claim accusations. I never got to tell my side. What can I appeal on. He is harassing and and intimidating me on recordings.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Can you go into a little more detail the lawsuit?

For example, why exactly were you sued? For breach of contract? For mistreating his daughter? How are the recordings a defense to the accusations? Why did the judge refuse to allow you to tell your side? What explanation was given? What was your planned defense?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Seems like 99% mistreating his daughter supposedly. The recordings show he was calling 36 hours later about the cancellation. He would add allegations of misconduct if I did not refund the money.The next mornining asking for a refund or he would add specific allegations.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My defense was he was just harassing me and intimidating me for a refund. He was going to get all the other people I have cancelled to sue me some how. He is a lawyer and owns a law firm. He would use his expertise. The judge did not like my angry tone on his messages explaining the contract they signed the day before.

Hi again.

I'm sorry to say that I see why you lost the lawsuit. If you were sued for mistreating the daughter, then your defense should have been one of two things: (1) you did not mistreat the daughter, or (2) you did mistreat the daughter, but you had the legal right to do so. Pointing out to the judge that the father harassed you for a refund is not a defense to mistreating the daughter.

As an analogy, if you were prosecuted for murder, your defense would either need to be that you did not kill the victim, or that you had a legal right to kill the victim. Pointing out that the police were mean to you after you were arrested would not exonerate you of the murder. It is a completely separate issue that has nothing to do with the victim's death. Similarly, the father's harassment for a refund has nothing to do with your alleged mistreatment of the daughter.

Fortunately, in California you have the absolute right to appeal a small claims judgment. You do not need a specific reason, other than the fact that you lost. Accordingly, you can appeal to the Superior Court, and you will be given a new trial. You must file the appeal within 30 days of the judgment. You file THIS FORM with the small claims clerk, and you will then be mailed a new court date. At the trial, you should focus on defending against the specific allegations made against you. Think about my example above and ask yourself if your defense rebuts the allegations, or argues over separate irrelevant issues. If it's the latter, then it is not a valid defense. So, if the judgment was for specific mistreatments of the daughter, then you need to argue that you did not mistreat the daughter, or you need to argue that you had the legal right to mistreat the daughter. Once again, the harassment that occurred after the alleged mistreatment is not a defense to the mistreatment.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You are very detailed in your answers AWESOME ! I see now that the face he was going to level the allegations if I did not refund his money, was a poor defense. That day his wife and daughter came out to the car. We introduced and my other student got in the back seat. His daughter drove him home on her driving lesson. We were togetherfor more than an hour. Before I dropped her off, I had her stop so I could use the restroom some where. She was alone in the carfor a few minutes. She is 17 and a half. She had a cell phone. There was never a unhappy call to me from the parents. She drove home. We discussed her driving lesson and I asked her to go into the house and bring her parents out with the signed contract. She signed it too. She came back out by herself and handed me the contract. She thanked me and I left. Only 24 hours later did I get a phone call from the Mother asking to book another driving lesson.

I have a letter signed by him saying his daughter was crying and visibly shaken right after her driving lesson. Lies, the judge never even talked to her. Her dad is an attourney. Much drama for an HOUR together. Wouldn't you think the parents would come outside ASAP. Phone call ASAP. My messages they played in court were about the contract. I never tried to defend myself against the daughter. There was no issue.

Hi again.

"My messages they played in court were about the contract. I never tried to defend myself against the daughter. There was no issue."

Even if it wasn't true, you have to remember that the judge may not know that, so you cannot assume that the judge will see through the other party's lies. The judge can only base his decision on what is presented in court. If the father alleged that you mistreated the daughter (and provides some sort of evidence of that, even if it's just testimony), then you must rebut that allegation and the evidence.

It sounds like you now have a good idea of how to proceed. However, I will point out that it would be wise to hire an attorney for the new trial (though you are not required to hire an attorney).

In any event, I wish you the best!
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