Friday, January 07, 2022

If You Want To Play With The Sharks, At Least Learn To Swim First

Having a fun case at the moment.

A quick summary: My client is a landlord that moved out of state 9 years ago.  She rented it to Tenant with a Lease that is overall ok, but could be better because of course she didn't have a lawyer draw it up so it has some important gaps. But, the Lease does specifically say that only Tenant, her mom, and son may live at the condo.

Tenant signs Lease in 2013.  In 2014, without asking the client or getting permission, her boyfriend moves in.

Fast forward to December 2020.   Lease is ending.  In December, Tenant tells Client there is a leak at the sink in the basement and water keeps dripping from the faucet.

Tenant and boyfriend move out in December 2020. Boyfriend was never on the Lease and my client didn't know he lived there. Boyfriend has never communicated to Landlord ever. Cleverly in 2017, they listed him as a resident in a single email, but had him as an emergency contact only in 2016 and again as an emergency contact only in 2018, and nothing sent later than that.

Boyfriend then sues after they move out, claiming mold from the leak in the sink makes him now unable to work.

Plaintiff is representing himself, and he doth have a fool for a client as a result. 

Likely because no lawyer wouldn't take his case as it stinks to high heaven.  The sink seems to have never been cleaned ever as there's no way that much grime and mold accumulated so quickly.  Plus, when repaired it looked like it had been leaking long before December 2020. 

So I bring the Tenant into the case as a Third-Party Defendant, for breach of contract, indemnification, and contribution, saying any damage Plaintiff gets from my client, the Tenant has to pay as it's her fault for him being there in the first place.

Tenant really does not like that and she represents herself as well, likely with her boyfriends "help".

Tenant filed a motion to dismiss and it gets dismissed almost out of hand due to it being a hot mess and without any basis and non-conforming.

Sadly, we then get a very new judge assigned to the case.  He's new and a nice guy, but unfortunately the court  (and sadly all courts tend to do this) tends to bend over backwards for people representing themselves.

Court denied my motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint on the grounds that he was a trespasser there without permission, stating the single 2017 email may have put my client on notice that Plaintiff was living there. Annoying.

Tenant then files a ridiculous motion to compel discovery when she hasn't even asked for discovery yet.    Doesn't work that way.  She also didn't know how to file it properly so it also is denied without even a hearing.

Tenant then files a bunch of subpoenas that are filled out completely wrong, including one she probably meant to be sent to my client but the "To:" area is completely blank so we ignore it, especially as she was asking for stuff we already gave her. 

She then files another ridiculous motion to compel, again misfiles it, and it is denied again.

She now files a Motion for Summary Disposition to try and dismiss our claims against her and attaches 185 pages of exhibits. The motion is a complete word salad, everything is a partial sentence, not properly formatted, and complete with underlining, bold, and italics thrown in everywhere, etc.

The court should have rejected it, and would have if an attorney had filed this garbage, but this judge lets it go and accepts it and then gives an order setting dates for me to respond and that she should file a notice of hearing with the date in February.

The 185 pages of exhibits are nuts and in most cases have nothing to do with the case against her but are her trying to fight the Plaintiff's case and lots of things that have nothing to do with the case at all.

Her problem, she filed under her motion the MCR 2.116(C)(8) standard, that our complaint failed to state a claim that could be granted as a matter of law.

But, under the MCR 2.116(C)(8) standard, the court looks only at the complaint itself to see if the claims in it are legally cognizable. The Court doesn't and cannot look at any other evidence and doesn't care.

I then file a response on time yesterday, asking for all her exhibits to be struck as a result and provide a response showing our claims against her are indeed legally justifiable, and for fun I ask for sanctions as this is her 4th frivolous motion to date. Likely, I won't get sanctions, because again, the court lets people representing themselves keep doing this stuff, but it never hurts to ask.

We will see if she files a reply, and if she actually files a notice of hearing to get the motion heard per the court's order about the motion.  She still hasn't done that. So we will see if the Court hears this on the date set, even if she doesn't file the notice as she is supposed to do.

Should be fun.

1 comment:

drjim said...

A fool for a client, indeed!