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Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10602
Experience:  30 years of corporate, litigation, real estate, estate and international law
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How to file a civil lawsuit against a business or person. Home,

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How to file a civil lawsuit against a business or person. Home, a rented condo, was in a fire, May 23rd 2012. I contacted the landlord, business owner here in Aspen, in a polite request (2nd call in past three months) in an attempt to get my deposit and reimbursements cost of repairs I spent on his home. The owner verbally assaulted me and told me that he was going to sue me. He stated that I caused the fire. He is the person that neglected to get an electrician when I told him there was sparks coming from appliances. He also told me a sauna in the home, did not work and was not connected. He had some of his things stored in there, a bed, which caught fire and was cause. He is now telling me that he expects to get me to pay for his remodel of the condo. The condo association threatened me and lied and cause much stress by telling me that they were going to throw my personal belongings (contents) out into the street the day following the fire. ECOS was hired by them to put machines in the condo while I was in hospital, day of fire. They threatened me that they would have 17 men and long-bed truck to haul off my things, day after fire. They also were dishonest in disclosing asbestos contamination. I have health issues and on-going distress, loss of work etc. While I had renters insurance State Farm has been dragging out getting me a copy of my policy and telling me I don't have certain coverages, such as business property etc. I am so stressed out I can't deal with all of this and need to find strength to act in best interest of children and self. I feel that I need to take some sort of legal action, but can't afford an attorney. I want to know how to file civil law suit. I have liability coverage, well did have before State Farm canceled me shortly after the fire. I wonder if that coverage is for me or for State Farm, in other words, it is only useful if I wait for landlord to sue me, then State Farm will help. But they are not protecting my interests and misrepresenting policy and coverages. In fact I had to hire my own fire inspector and they refused to reimburse me that expense, but used the very detailed comprehensive report to deny landlord claim against me. I am over-whelmed with suffering of all and no idea how or what to do besides seek legal help in court procedures. thank you for your assistance-
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 5 years ago.

Did the fire inspector determine what the cause of the fire was? If so what did they find? When did State Farm say they would get your policy to you? Was your copy of the policy lost in the fire? Who do you want to sue and what is the nature of the lawsuit?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, cause was the heating element that was defective, and failed to shut off when it got too hot then caught the owners bed (mattress) on fire that was stored in the sauna. The owner told me the sauna didn't work. I had no reason not to believe him as there was no visible heating element, no knobs to turn it on or off and he had things stored in there. The inspector took the wall apart and showed me that it was wired to the light switch in the hallway. There was also no instructions posted anywhere on how to use it. The property manager failed to have it serviced.
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 5 years ago.

If your total damages for all the things you lost is $7,500 or less you can file your claim against the landlord for all your damages. You can also sue State Farm for failing to honor the insurance contract. The landlord's wiring was the cause of the fire and he created an unsafe condition in violation of the lease covenant of a habitability, that is the house is safe and habitable. If you check with the local building inspector I am sure they will inform you that wiring the sauna to the electric light switch is illegal and against the building and fire code. These facts will make the landlord responsible for all the damage as well as your emotional distress from being in a fire.


In small claims court you do not need a lawyer so it is easier to operate there and the clerk can give you guidance on filling out the complaint forms.


You can sue state farm for not honoring the insurance policy in the same case.


This communication is not intended as legal advice. A local attorney should always be consulted for legal advice. No client/attorney relationship is intended or created by this communication.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The damages are far greater than $7500. My medical bills are over that. I am on an inhaler. I was also lied to by ECOS & property management who tried to tell me that they were going to remove the entire contents before my insurance company even came to inspect. They just wanted the job for cleanup $32000. I refused to use their services due to their manipulation and lies, and later they told me I couldn't go in home because there might be asbestos. This distress went on all summer.

I had a $58000 Steinway piano, and furniture and all personal belongings, it was a total loss. I have been wearing same two pair of jeans for 8 months. My children have lost their musical instruments, ice skates, clothes... and I can't afford to replace all of this.

So, it is not a small claim matter and my points to bring up the other parties ECOS (environment cleanup company) & property manager, they too are at fault. The landlord is negligent failing to have proper service on the sauna & for ignoring my pleas for electric repairs etc., and for lying about sauna; but the property management was dishonest and got paid 15% of ECOS bill so they were trying to force their services on me, meanwhile jeopardizing my health by not disclosing danger of asbestos from the beginning.

So if I am being threatened by landlord, I feel that it might not be advantageous to be on the attack side of the law as a defendant.

But I don't know how or who to file claims against?
Thank you
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 5 years ago.

You would file the complaint against the landlord for breach of the covenant of habitability as well as negligent installation of the sauna electrical system. You would have as damages injuries including emotional distress from the fire. You would file in the District Court for your County. Before you file, you should talk to an attorney that does personal injury and one that does insurance work. On your emotional distress claim you may be able to get some type of contingency arrangement. On the insurance claim against the rental insurance company you may be able to recover legal fees for pursuing that claim.


Where you can get form complaints for filing a suit for (1) breach of contract (on the lease implied covenant of habitability), (2) intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, (3) negligent installation of the sauna, and (4) concealment of faulty wiring. The forms will not mirror your case but you can use them for a template. Basically you describe the facts of your situation and state the legal theories that fit those facts.


This communication is not intended as legal advice. A local attorney should always be consulted for legal advice. No client/attorney relationship is intended or created by this communication.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The forms are available where?
thank you
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for accepting the answer. You would go to a local law library which would be at a local law school or in the court house. Ask the librarian for a forms pleading book and look under complaints. Good luck
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