Thursday, March 25, 2010

Are You Receiving Me?

'Cause I'm receiving you!

Actually, I'm working as a receiver with an associate on a case 50 miles south of my house.  He has many years of experience in this field and I have very little, but I'm learning a lot every day and it's very interesting.  The only challenge is the time involved, but I'm not complaining because the pay is good.  We've taken over a Mexican market and carniceria that's the subject of a lawsuit and I'm the guy on the ground.  The store is open from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm and I'm there the whole time, every day, with two days off per week.  We've been there for two weeks and we expect to wrap it up some time in May. 

I have tomorrow off, but I have to be in the Santa Monica small claims court at 1:30 pm.  One of my judgment debtors lost a motion to vacate the judgment for lack of notice and he appealed.   He gets to appeal the ruling because the judge who heard our arguments that day was pro tem.  So we get to do it all over again tomorrow.  I'm just glad the hearing is not scheduled for 9:00 am.  After working 70 hours in the last five days (80 hours if you include the commute time), I need to sleep in.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey GP, what is a receiver?

The Grand Poobah said...

The Wikipedia definition does a pretty good job of describing a receivership. if the link doesn't work in the comments section, just go to Wikipedia.org and type in "receivership".

In the meantime, I won the appeal yesterday - or rather, the other side lost. In my judgment recovery business I have to defend all court actions brought by the judgment debtor against my enforcement of the judgment. Last month, in a judgment arising out of an auto accident claim, the debtor's insurance company had the debtor file a motion to vacate the judgment based on lack of notice. The judgment was more than two years old at the time but the judge can grant the motion to vacate if something about the situation was unfair to the defendant, notice being one of the issues. I've seen an 8-year old, $100,000 personal injury judgment vacated because in the original trial the plaintiff had to resort to notice by publication, which as you know is the weakest form of notice.

Anyway, the defendant lived in Colorado at the time and the process server did a great job of finding and serving the defendant who was trying to avoid service. The original motion was heard in February and the judge denied it, finding service was proper. The guy's insurance company appealed that ruling, the hearing was yesterday, and I again prevailed. Actually, I didn't have to do much more than show up because their argument was so weak that the judge didn't even get to me. She asked for their evidence, then, after hearing what they had to say, said service was proper and their appeal was denied. I thanked the judge, scooped up my papers, and left. The funny thing was, the insurance company's attorney thought we were re-arguing the original claim. When I told her we weren't going to get there if the judge found service was proper, she looked at me and said she didn't want to argue with me in the hall. I don't think she prepared anything at all for the proper service argument. Oh well, her bad.

Now all I have to do is convince them to write me that $9,555.25 check ($7,500 damages + $135 costs + $1,920.25 post judgment interest as of today) so I can pay the original plaintiff and put my fee in the bank!

The Grand Poobah said...

Unfortunately my fee won't stay in the bank for more than a couple of days. I'm behind on a few bills so it's the very definition of money already spent.

But it's all good! (;-)>

Anonymous said...

Are you working as a Paralegal?

The 25 year old lawyer that I write about makes
$160,00.00 a year plus benefits & all the other
frills....Her Paralegal makes $75,00.00 plus any
overtime..The Lawyer does not make overtime
so quite often the Paralegal is making more money
than the Attorney....

Many firms are looking for educated Para legals
because they can get the same level of work
from them as a first year Associate for less $$$$.

Anonymous said...

GP I'm a fan of yours but collections is a really sleazy business. I hope you're not calling people at home and harassing them.

The Grand Poobah said...

Anon 12:54: Nope. I'm in the Judgment Recovery business.

Anonymous said...

not cool work.
you are supposed to be a legal aid guy or something to gain sympathy for your struggle.
just jacking money, many times on bs judgments, is not cool.
if all you hit up are deadbeat dads, good for you.....but seems unlikely

The Grand Poobah said...

Well, Geez. Anyone in the lawyerin' business knows there are many reasons for filing lawsuits. Most, I dare say, are legitimate and some, I'm sure, are not so legitimate.

The nice thing about judgment recovery is I can take the cases I want to take and refuse the ones I don't want to take.

I don't take the dead-beat dads, the chemo patients behind on their bills, the serial bankruptcy filer, the drug-addled perennial evictee, or the little old lady with nothing more to her name than a 25-year old Buick and the house she and her husband built 50+ years ago.

I do take the judgments against people who take the partnership credit card, treat the family to a vacation in Europe, then come back and declare the partnership to be over, sticking the other former-partner with the bill.

I also take the judgment against the lady who finances a used car for $15k, totals it in the first month, then runs to Las Vegas with the check the insurance company sent to her in error instead of to the leinholder.

But since you brought up 'dead beat dads', my buddy is collecting $800k in back spousal support and equalization payments owed by an ophthalmologist making over $1-mil per year.

I don't do "Collections". I help the legal system to work as it was intended.

Anonymous said...

"GP Judgment Recovery is dedicated to the enforcement of court judgments. We purchase your judgment on a 'future pay' basis, without application fees or up-front costs of any kind. We cover all costs and expenses incurred in locating the judgment debtor and enforcing the judgment. We make our money only from the judgment debtor, at no cost to you."

This is boilerplate collections. Collection shops do both pre-lit, litigation and post judgment enforcement (get a default, proceed to wage garnishment), so you haven't raised a legitimate distinction between yourself and "collections." Yes there are legitimate grounds for filing cases but you're still in a douche-y business when you're the collections man in this tough economy and burning people behind on their bills.

The Grand Poobah said...

Anon 3:17: Well, then I guess I can forget about helping any of your former clients collect the judgments you've won for them.

I can see it now, Congratulations, I won your case for you. Here's your judgment. Whatever you do, though, don't try to collect it from the defendant. After all, he's just a down-on-his-luck kinda' guy and it would be cruel and unusual to expect him to pay you for your damages and my fees. What? You say you just want to be restored to the condition you were in before the defendant screwed you in that land deal? What kind of degenerate human being are you, anyway? You can't expect people to pay their debts. Get the heck out of my office, you're just like that rat bastard GP!"

Anonymous said...

Thank God you spelled "judgment" correctly!

Jaybad said...

I think it's great that you are getting experience with courts, in whatever way or form. What's the weight behind a judgment if there is no ability to enforce it? It may sound immoral to some, but, it is legal!!! There are a lot of lawyers who do illegal, immoral things to clients and others but folks are picking on you while you are trying to make a living and also in the process of getting certified as a lawyer in the state. Give me a break! Kudos to everything you do that's keeping you above water... Good luck with the results!!!

Anonymous said...

I'll let this article speak for itself. As with any other industry, there is a moral and immoral way to go about it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/business/economy/02garnish.html

The Grand Poobah said...

Thanks, Jaybad. I agree. And the nice thing about working for myself is that I get to pick my customers.

Anon 10:06: I'm really not going to get into an argument over this. There are plenty of examples to go around. Enough for anyone who wants to take any kind of position or make any argument either way.

The example you cite is but one reason lawyers are universally reviled. The bank's lawyers are right to expect that they should get repaid the money they are owed - money the consumer happily spent while the credit was easy.

Now that the boom times are over, the consumer expects, what, not to have to pay back the money? You might argue that it's just "the bank's" money, but that money was earned by someone else and invested in the bank for security. Should that person be penalized for the consumer's unfortunate circumstances? There are many (many, many) shades of gray to that argument, but when it's distilled to black and white the answer is 'no'; the investor should not have to pay for the consumer's poor financial decision.

I am very familiar with that experience from the consumer standpoint as I am currently behind on some of my consumer debt. The difference is that I am working my ass off to get current and get it all repaid, and I refuse to file for bankruptcy. THAT is a moral decision on my part. Having said that, however, I don't expect others to agree with me and I certainly don't expect others to expect me to agree with them. We each see a different shade of gray on the issue.

As an attorney, or a prospective attorney, are you going to do an exhaustive analysis of whether it is moral or immoral to try to impose your client's will on a defendant who is of a different mind as to the dispute between them? If you answer that question honestly, I believe you'll stop pestering me about how I've chosen to earn a living (temporarily, at least, until I get my license.)

The Grand Poobah said...

And I apologize for saying I wasn't going to argue about the issue because I obviously presented an argument. I should have said that I won't get into an extended argument over it. I really am working my ass off right now to get out of debt and I have very little time to waste on this.

So, how about we just agree to disagree?

kris said...

while making absolutely no comment on GP's business - in pre and early post qualification while working in-house at in local government I:

filed claims against domestic violence women who'd fled their government subsidised housing (and the housing officers knew they'd gone) for "rent arrears";

filed against 18 year olds for "sums owing in rent arrears" while they were in temporary hostels while they were 15-16;

sued Grandma & Grandpa nearing the end of their lives and whose daughter had recently committed suicide for statute barred (time barred) service charge arrears for works that were probably never done in the first place.

I had a word with myself one day and recalled the reasons why I wanted to be a lawyer in the first place - and suing grandma and DV victims wasn't it.

I quit. Yep, in the middle of a recession, I quit.

I now volunteer at a law center helping dv victims, grandma and kids who local government are frying to f over.

THAT's what it's about. For me at any rate.

Anonymous said...

Hey all,
Sorry to hijack the thread, but I've been checking in on this blog for awhile and realize that a lot of people are fans and might be able to give me a suggestion. I passed the bar exam in Feb 09, but had a long and drawn out moral character application nightmare, which resulted in me being denied admission to the bar. I have no history of drug or alcohol abuse and no convictions - it was all pretty much about lack of candor on my law school application for something that happened in 2003. If anyone has any experience with this and can offer any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear from you. I'm totally broke and can't afford an attorney. I have a nice job doing nothing related to law, but I am still seriously bummed out about this. I've wasted over $100k and 6 years of my life and moved across the country from a place I liked - all for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, April 12, 2010 10:09 AM:

Dude, this is the California State Bar you are talking about, you are pretty much fucked overall, there is nothing you can possibly do, with or without being represented by any CA attorney.

My advice to you is to get out of California and practice somewhere else, use the fact that you passed this monster, as a feather in your cao, if anything.

State of california is doing everything legally/illegally possible, to reduce the number of practicing attorneys instate.

Keep your other job and move on if anything, option may also be to just start another career all together.

Do not mean to be a prick about this, but you are fighting a losing battle in California.

All the best in your decisions.

kris said...

we want to know about your "lack of candor" for what happened in 2003.

I'd get some candor fast - and get a proper lawyer to advise you on your prospects of success.

Are you seriously considering representing yourself? If I'd just spent $100K, I'd be getting David frickin Boies on the case if I thought I had a chance.

Believe it or not, there is a real reason why the Bar is not keen to admit dishonest lawyers. That's what "lack of candor" means. They can't be responsible for knowingly turning a dishonest lawyer loose on the public.

Anonymous said...

I'm not representing myself - it's all over, I'm denied admission. I can reapply in 2 years but it would really just be for my own satisfaction. I have no experience in law and am not really interested anymore, plus, who is going to hire a 40something person with no experience who mysteriously didn't get admitted until 2 years after passing the exam? I have to agree with the first guy (the one who called me a dude)that I should move on and realize that the state bar is going to do whatever it wants and there's really nothing you can do about it. I actually did talk to an attorney before I went to my informal conference and thought I was prepared, but it was unreal. Medieval unreal.

Hmmm, how much should I disclose here on the internet? It was actually the internet that got me in trouble to begin with. I looked at some records at a former job which I wasn't authorized to look at and I got in trouble. I had already been accepted to law school at the time and had all the paperwork ready to go, so I thought I'd better send it off before anything really bad happens at work so that I don't have to tell them I got in trouble. So I sent off the law school stuff right in the middle of my job fiasco, but before I'd gotten into trouble. So, I never told my law school about the work incident. I really didn't know how to explain that except that I was really scared and didn't want anything else bad to happen and thought I'd better get this law school acceptance done before they decide that they don't want me anymore. That's the only thing I've ever done dishonest in my life and I totally panicked and made it worse. So I guess if you think that makes me a dishonest lawyer about to be turned out onto the public, then that's what it is. By the way, I cried like a baby the whole time during my informal conference. I've seen criminal defendants get treated with more kindness than these people showed me. It was guilty until proven innocent. They had information that I didn't have from back then that I had forgotten about, so that made it even worse. It looked like I was lying even more when I really had just forgotten some of the details. Then when they asked me why I forgot I was like "what do you mean why did I forget? I don't know, I forgot"? That was the tone of the whole deal - nothing I could say was right. It was the worst experience of my adult life. I had to sit outside on a bench for about an hour to get ahold of myself afterwards because I just couldn't stop crying. I wonder if that is a common scene outside that building.

kris said...

oh shit, you're not the guy that looked at Obama and Hillary's passport records? ;-)

I don't know what you did - my point is, there was/is a chance for a hearing and an appeal(?) and I would be represented. You got turned over by sharks. They were never going to be your friends. You could be Clarence Darrow and I'd say the same thing - get a lawyer to do the talking. Not some guy giving tips in the hallway - a real lawyer on the clock.

It costs money for a reason.

Apologies if you think I'm a bit too abrupt - but nobody should represent themselves in front of a disciplinary/standards board when there is so much at stake.

kris said...

PS

Maybe I should just shut up, but:

I don't see the benefit of high-tailing it to another state. Presumably, any other Bar will ask you the same questions California did.

I also don't see how it's fatal that you did not get admitted right away. There is a recession. There are no jobs.

Why can't a case be built (with the assistance of respected counsel) that this incident was an aberration, that you panicked and that you never intended to mislead - and have evidence of what a great, honest guy/girl you really are and that you've learned a painful lesson and are "rehabilitated".

http://calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_generic.jsp?cid=10115&id=3084

here is the test.

I would work with counsel and see if I could get my evidence up to scratch. At the very least, I'd get a respected counsel's advice on the merits of my case.

Otherwise, I think (for what it's worth) this will haunt you no matter where you go.

Anonymous said...

You can't get a lawyer to do the talking when you go to one of these hearings. The informal conference does not use the rules of evidence. You can have an attorney observe, but the attorney may not participate. So all the advice that she get an attorney to represent her is great, but that attorney will just be sitting there and can't say anything. If you want to see the rules, go to http://calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/rules/Rules_Title4_Div1-Adm-Prac-Law.pdf

kris said...

thanks for the link. The "informal" chat sounds like it was a school of sharks.

But an appeal with the State Supreme Court is available if an ap is lodged w/in 60 days.

The question really intrigued me - I'd be devastated if I'd spent the time, blood, sweat and tears in law school AND then passing the hardest Bar exam in the nation to be f-ed over at the final hurdle. Especially as I took it for granted as a formality when I signed my papers.

I found these guys http://www.calstatebardefense.com/
and it appears there is enough work out there in standards that people can build a practice around it.

NB - I don't know these guys from Adam so I'm not making any recommendation. It's interesting for me to see there are guys out there who specialize in this type of work and know the procedure inside and out.

There is a mentality that because one's been to law school that they shouldn't seek counsel. Why not take advice from someone whose been around the block a few times? I had a Criminal tutor sum it up for us. He said: "Look, all these people want it a big brother ho's going to put their arms around them and tell them that it's going to be all right"

Anon could probably do with a big brother who can sift this out for him/her. I really hope they get this sorted - and one day maybe they will specialize in Bar standards work :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments. I actually met with 2 real lawyers, one who charged me over $1000. I prepared as well as I could before going, with the help of the attorneys. Both lawyers suggested I go to the conference by myself because although you can bring an attorney, he can't do anything but sit there. After it was over, one attorney just suggested I wait 2 years and apply again because an appeal is virtually unwinnable, will be drawn out for about 2 years anyway, and will end up costing over $10,000, which I do not have. This tune from the band Metric about sums up the informal conference- be glad if you never go to one.....

I tremble
They're gonna eat me alive
If I stumble
They're gonna eat me alive
Can you hear my heart
Beating like a hammer

Anonymous said...

BTW, it's been over 60 days so I can't appeal now anyway.

Nima Gharavi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.