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Law Educator, Esq time no talk to, hope this finds you well.

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Hello Law Educator, Esq Long time...
Hello Law Educator, Esq
Long time no talk to, hope this finds you well. I have ADR on Nov 7th and hopefully this will end; however, I doubt if she gives up. The mediator may encourage her to settle, because they will have all the evidence, motions, etc, so I really hope the mediator will encourage her to settle, that there is too much evidence against her. Anyway, I am ready for whatever, I have done too much work not to finish it out. I wanted to ask if a pro se can ask for money for time spent, like a lawyer? I tried to look it up and find case law, but wasn't clear. It said it was up to the courts. I am requesting back rent from 2014, in the amount of $31,800.00, $20,800 in personal property, I lost more than that, but that is what I covered in Rental Insurance, 3 mold test, plus treble $2250.00,$1180.00 storage unit, vet bills $500.00, legal assistance just ask $445.00, security deposit, plus treble $1200.00, insurance deductible $500.00, and punitive damages, in which I have no idea how much to put, any ideas, I am actually thinking a total between 100,000 and 200,000, if we go to court I am going to go for EVERYTHING, with the evidence and discrediting everything that she swore to, if it goes to court, I honestly don't see how she can win. EVERYTHING is factual evidence in her own words, and with the rejection on her Insurance claim, because they already paid her VERY WELL to fix the problems years ago, I just don't see how she could win, but again, one can never tell with the courts, but with a jury, she may have to pay a lot more, especially in punitive damages. I moved in with everything and left with only my jeep and the clothes on my back, she almost killed my dog and made me extremely ill, which efforts that I still have to deal with on a daily basis. I am not trying to ruin her, I know she has 2 kids, but I deserve justice as well and to have everything replaced and some. Please give me your thoughts on this, I am kind of stuck and I have to put down a min and a max amount by Friday, but I ALSO cut myself short, but once I have a number on paper, I will not back down, but I just having difficult coming up with a reasonable number. I do believe that I will have my lawyer there for ADR only, so that will help. Thanks
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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10/4/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 124,377
Experience: Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 months ago

In general, no, a pro se cannot seek attorney's fees, but they can seek other costs incurred in bringing the suit, like money spent doing research or gathering evidence or even lost wages for time they had to miss from work. You can seek the losses not covered by your insurance. Punitive damages are not always awarded, so you need to show this was willful and malicious conduct and a judge has discretion then to award punitive damages.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I think the evidence will show that it was willful and malicious, simply the insurance payout and her not doing any work, but just pocketed the money, she has other HUD rental property, so she knows what has to happen in order to pass inspection, documents needed, etc. Doesn't the law state, known or should have known, basically playing stupid is not a defense. When I looked up the avg civil lawyers hourly rate in DC, it is $600 an hour, an hour, WOW. If she is paying for the lawyers she could have settled this case for a lot less than fighting this. I know her and it is more about saving face, than doing the right thing. So should I leave the punitive damages off, and just stick with the actual costs and how do I bill for all the research, etc. I have been on disability for several years; however, I had to put off getting my book published, even when they wanted to publish my book, and I had planned on going back to work, but this came up. I have spent an avg of 12 hours a day on this case, l should be able to bill, time is money. I just want this to end, if I make the amount to high, she will probably that her chances in court, but I also want to be paid for all that I am entitled to. I guess that I can put the min at the actual cost and then with the max, put in punitive damages or other cost associated with the case. I think a 100,000 even would be a good number, clear and fee, she paid the taxes. I think that 100,000 is MORE than fair, in light of everything. This part is most difficult for me, hopefully the mediator can help with determining a fair amount, I guess that is part of their job.
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Thank you for your reply.

Yes, $500-$600 is sadly the going rate, but for solo practitioners the rates are about $200-$300 an hour, so you need to look around for some solo practitioners for more reasonable pricing as they all set their own prices.

I would keep the punitive demand in there and keep arguing her conduct was willful and malicious, but use it as a negotiation tool in ADR, something you are willing to drop as part of your negotiation to resolve the case.

In order to claim lost wages, you must actually show you lost wages, so that is tough if you are not actually working.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you, ***** ***** what I was going to do, put the punitive damages in there, and basically state that I am willing the lower the cost, if this is settled today, but if it goes to trail, then I will request the full punitive damages in which the jury find just and fair and I will fight for even more for punitive and other damages. Hell I am still effected by the mold exposure and I have other health issues, plus I am scared for life, my skin and scalp are so messed up and the doctors can't seem to find anything to heal them with my Lupus, I was hours of killing my dog, all these things should compel the jury to add punitive damages, plus the simple fact that she is aware of the Housing Codes and Violations, and it was a choice to place me in an unsafe and dangerous apartment. I can't believe even a year later, the mold was still on the walls, when I told her, therefore, she only had 7 days by DC law to get rid of it. That's why I sent it to DOEE, because I am SO WORRIED about her kids living in that house, it is dangerous!!!!I have so much evidence against her, and her flat out lying about EVERYTHING, especially the mold issue, she know she never did a mold remedy and had me staying done there with NO VENTILATION, and under the false information that it was safe from mold. Sorry I am getting angry right now, the more I think about it the more, I feel she needs to pay, it's not about the personal belongings, it's about the totally disregard for my health, when she knows that I have Lupus, have known for 15 years. The flood was a blessing, for sure my dog would be dead, and I might as well be too, with my weak immune system, I always thought my Lupus was getting worse, because shortly after moving in, my health started going down hill, I had no reason to believe that I was in a toxic apartment.
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Thank you for your reply.

You are on the right track then. Remember settlement is going to be a number you may not be the happiest about, but it is one you can live with, same for her.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I am aware, but honestly I do not want to go to trail, I don't have the time for all of that, I will, but I am ready to move forward with my life, as long as I can replace some of my items and pay for a Ford 350 to pull my tiny house out right, then I will be happy. However, if she does choose to go to court, I will be pissed and I will go after every single dollar that I can, just for putting me through it. I am very confident with the factual evidence, nothing else, that I would prevail in court, if I had to have a case in which I had to be pro se, this is the case, the facts speak for themselves, and I am totally prepared to go to court, I just don't want to. I would have to spend HOURS learning the courts system and how to represent myself in a trail. I think their plan was smart about fighting to see if I made a mistake, which would have dismissed the case, however, that plan didn't work for them, so hopefully they will not want to take the case to a jury. I hope, but I am like a bulldog when I feel someone had done me wrong, and I will fight until the end. Thank you for your input, like always, I appreciate you.
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 months ago

I know you do not want to go to trial, nobody does. If she is going to not negotiate in good faith and she is as bad as you say she is then you may have no choice but to go to trial.

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