Fairfax County General :
Welcome to Fairfax Underground, a project site designed to improve communication among residents of Fairfax County, VA. Feel free to post anything Northern Virginia residents would find interesting.
I lost a case on a technicality in Alexandria general District Court. I was pro se but ironically it's the lawyer I dismissed a week before trial who failed to inform me that a written objection to the Bill Of Particulars was needed. Some say I have a case against my former lawyer but that's not my current agenda. I need advice if anyone knows how to go about asking for a new trial or a void judgment? I will not appeal cause in VA I would have to post bond for the full amount 10,000. It's upsetting cause I honestly felt I was winning my case until the plaintiff lawyer pulled out his ace in the hole and the judge took the easy way out. I have since been told that the supreme court has ruled that judges and the courts need to give pro se special latitude given they can not be expected to know all the ins and outs of the law. I have tried other lawyers but they just don't grasp my defense. I also learned that I would have to convince the same judge who ruled against me for a new trial. Any suggestions?
The courts usually won't accept a motion to re-hear unless there's some reason for it, like a witness didn't show or something. If you just don't like the outcome of your trial, they'll usually direct you to file an appeal.
if it's a gen district court that you are being tried in than you have the right to a trial de novo (new trial) if you appeal to circuit court. (you will have to wait till this trial is gen dist is over though) You will have your entire case vacated as if it never happened. but there is no garuntee that you will get the same sentence (or even a lesser sentence) than the first trial. Depending on the circuit court judge you may get more time of a higher fine.
I am not a lawyer and I don't know enough about Virginia civil procedure to help the OP, but I know enough that the poster above me is way off. It appears that this is a civil case and not criminal for one thing, but an appeal does not automatically vacate the original judgment. An appeal of a legal issue gets reviewed de novo by the appellate court which could be remanded for further proceedings at the trial level. Doing all of this pro se would be a long, complicated process so you'd be better off hiring an attorney.
Further to the above post, you cannot introduce new facts into an appeal. The record from the lower court is used to debrief the judge on any deviations of civil procedure. I don't know all the details, but it seems that you could have filed for continuance while you lawyer shopped. I'd start by hiring a lawyer, then instruct him or her look for legal loopholes in your judgment. -§
I would love to hire a lawyer but I can't find one to grasp my defense. I have a debt collector suing me on behalf of Discover Card (I highly doubt the debt collector has a client I think they bought my account). They claim they paid merchants on my behalf but I have no record of the charges. So I asked them for some proof other then the billing statements which I believe to be incorrect. Show me a cc receipt with the referencing account # and my signature, or show me where you stroked a check on my behalf to the merchants, or show me ledgers or account history where transferred money on my behalf to merchants. I asked for any or all of this info administratively and all the plaintiff ever sent to try and verify the debt are more statements. Hello the statements are what I'm disputing! Yet I can find no lawyer who has the balls to argue this. If someone says they paid a debt for you do you not have a right to ask them for proof? Like I said in my first post I the judge bailed out the debt collector by ruling against my on a technicality. I would like to ask for a new trial or void the judgement. Does anyone know of a lawyer with enough guts to take on the establishment? Again my case involves a bank, so their has to be traceable evidence of performance on their part. Unless they keep records on memory
I'm beginning to wonder if the lawyers that haved turned you down are concerned about fee collectability themselves. Even pro se, you are entitled to discovery so long as you ask for it. You needed to file a request for production of documents with a motion to compel. -§
On the topic of discovery. Alexandria general district court where my case was heard does not compel discovery. If I appeal to a higher court I am allowed discovery but I only had ten days to file an appeal and that time has passed. Plus as I stated in my first post I was not willing to post a $10,000 bond to have my appeal heard by another spineless judge.
As far as being able to pay an attorney I do have the money. This case is a matter of princaple now. Even though I have a judgement against me it still a hard pill to swollow when plaintiff never proved I incured the allege debt.
I will try that website. Thanks
Is there a reason you didn't dispute the debts before the account was sold to a collection agency? I suppose what I'm asking is why did you wait so long before attempting to correct the situation? Certainly you were contacted many many times about the situation.
I've never heard of any Federal, State or Municipal court that does not allow for discovery during pre-trial of civil matters. You are entitled to review or compel any exhibits the plaintiffs will or intend to use against you. It's your right and due process.
Paperpusher makes a good point above. Why let it get that far? -§
Mad Max would be correct about an appeal vacating a lower court judgment in most states except Virginia. In Virginia, the General District Court is a court not of record (there is no transcipt of the trial) and review from the litigants have a right to appeal for whatever reason, even if they won and are just unsatisfied with the judgment. Even though a court would be rehearing the case it is not an appeal in the traditional sense of the word, because the Circuit Court would rehear the case in its entirety. However, if you want to have your case reheard in Circuit Court you have to note an appeal within 10 days of the decision.
I sent 4 dispute letters to discover bank certified mail in march, april, may, and june of 2005. I also sent one when the collection agency entered the picture in july 05. I requested proof in those dispute letters. all they ever sent me were the same billing statements I was disputing.
Check it out for yourself. There is no discovery in General District Court. Even worse it is not a court of record. meaning there was not even a court reporter present or jury for that matter.
I'd still argue that you are denied due process without proper discovery unless the disputed amount is petty. If the amount in dispute is large, you could try for federal jurisdiction if the amount is at the cap (I don't recall what the cap is I believe it's $75k) but would be costly and will take more time. Was the DMO from VA? -§
Not sure what DMO stands for.
The dispute amount is $10,300. My first choice was always to hire a lawyer but I have yet to find one who can wrap his head around my defense. Which I think is a pretty simple one, you say (discover) you paid merchants on my behalf, I say prove it. They won't because they can't. Truth is they never risked an asset (money) on my behalf. They cannot prove they were damaged by me. They won on a technicality. I would LOVE to find a lawyer who sees the absurdity of this judgement. The time has lasped for an appeal, hopefully a competent lawyer can help with any other options availble to me.
In VA, General District court does not allow trials by jury. Furthermore it is not a court of record. And you can not compel discovery. All of the above are allowed if had appealed but as I said VA requires defendants to post the full amount in dispute. I have no intention of making the debt collectors job easier by handing over the money in question to the court. The only way to get that money back is for me to win my appeal. I'm not taking that chance out of fear of getting another crocked judge. I agree with you it does sound backwards. The whole damn system is backwards. If a credit card company sent you a billing statement and the only thing you recognize is your name and address. Would you pay it? For a year now I have requested in writing from Discover Bank proof they made payment on my behalf. They haven't because they can't. Yet a judge would not even give me the chance to make amends for my technicality mistake. Why? My guess is that there all in bed together. And that's why I can't find a lawyer to take my case.
You could probably settle for $5K to $7K and be done with it (in 7 years). If you look hard enough you can find a lawyer who will take your money but in the end you lose (money) anyway. My suggestion is you should attempt to settle and move on with your life.
Well fuck coming back to VA to practice after school. I can see if they worded the complaint properly and asked for restitution rather than damages they could get away with denying you a jury trial. Must have something to do with the limited jurisdiction of VA General District court. I hate the law.
DMO is based in Rockville but their attorney's also practice in VA. Honestly I'm not sure who really is suing me. My account with discover has a zero balance and is charged off. Which means they can now balance their books by writing my account off as a debt and turn it in to uncle same for a right off. Once they do that it would be fraud to sue me for the money since the irs gave them the right off. Which leads me to the debt collector. They claim they represent Discover. But do they? I asked in writing for proof of a retainer from Discover in this case and they failed to provide it. By law a third party debt collector can not sue you, only the original debtor can. What probably happened in my case is the debt collector bought my account for pennies on the dollar and is now trying to sue me for the whole amount on Discover Bank's name. Which is highly illegal as well. They can only sue me for what the bought the account for. But I have no way of proving all this. And all the lawyers I talked to are cowards.
I think the lawyers you've tried to retain are seeing a wash with this one. DMO matters are costly from a research and follow-up perspective (beyond the initial letter to the DMO for clarity - which you can handle for free) and would most likely exceed the $10k you owe. You could start by writing to the General Counsel's office of either the DMO or Discover to see if they could provide more information and possibly discuss a settlement. Whether they answer you is really a crapshoot since they probably only respond to such letters if 1) you have an account in good standing or 2) it's in re: to a subpoena or countersuit. Discover should have a good in-house law office that's competent, but I wouldn't count on the DMO. It's a shady industry. While your appeal may have expired, you can always sue them in another venue (to compel discovery process) and see how that goes. In theory, this is the way to go, but in practice, I'm afraid it'll cost you more than $10k. -§
File for bankruptcy. Seriously. Pro-se its only ~$340 filing fee. I know because I did it myself.
Got discharged March of this year.
Now have a 20k car loan with capital one, a capital one rewards card, and another major credit card.
As long as you keep a job, you will have NO PROBLEM getting credit after. Literally 30 days after my discharge capital one mailed me an offer and I took it!
The banks don't want you to do this because they lose out- donald trump filed how many times and is still rich? So there you have it- file and get on with your life. You'll sleep better without the collectors calling you anymore.
And yes, I still have my job and they KNOW i filed bK so it is no big deal.
My credit score has gone from a 520 to a 645 right now- since march. SO DO IT!!!!!