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Legal question regarding small claims court. I filed a claim…

Legal question regarding small claims...
Legal question regarding small claims court.I filed a claim to retrieve my insurance deductible for condo repairs to flooring and paint - which resulted from my neighbor’s failure to clean their a/c condensation drain pipe. The drainage from their unit into mine has happened on several occasions.I showed up and my neighbors who live out of the country (and rent their unit) had an attorney represent them in front of the judge.When the case was called, the defendant’s attorney met in hushed consultation with the judge. I only spoke to indicate I was present. It was clear that the judge and attorney knew each other.As a result of the discussion between them, it was announced the case would move to a general district court.My whole goal of Small Claims was to avoid expensive litigation costs, and to avoid having to hire an attorney.Can I challenge their being represented by an attorney? And can I ask for the reason why (and possibly protest) the judge’s decision to move the case to a General District Court.
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
3/19/2018
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 125,823
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

The defendant has the option to move a case to district court, this is a right of a defendant to request removal. So, legally, you cannot object to the removal to district court, which is a right granted to the defendant I am sorry to say.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
But in Virginia, lawyers are not allowed to represent defendantsin small claims court, and in this case, that is exactly what happened.

Thank you for your reply.

That is not ENTIRELY true. In general, attorneys are not allowed in small claims court, but there are exceptions, such as where the defendant is not a resident of VA or the defendant is a business. So, because you sued the owner who live outside the US, they had a right to use an attorney and also that is the basis for removal to general district court. .

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 125,823
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
One more please: I’d like to know if I can suffer any repercussions from withdrawing the case. Like would/could the lawyer for the other party try to countersue me? Or something like that?

Thank you for your reply.

You can dismiss the case if you want to do a voluntary withdrawal.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Maybe you could tell me the risks of going to General District Court without a lawyer. My thought is “What do I have to lose?” But that could be naive. Would be nice to know before I decide what to do. Thanks so much again.BTW, before my short experience in the Small Claims Court I’d never been in a court room before.

Thank you for your reply.

District court is a little more formal. It follows the rules of evidence and rules of civil procedure, so that means you need to get a copy of the VA rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence. It means you have to read them with regard to producing your evidence in your case in court. That really is the hardest part. In district court you can request discovery from the other party and they can request discovery from you, requests for production of documents or requests for interrogatories and requests for admissions.

But as long as you follow the rules which are fairly simple to read you should be fine.

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