Why Is Settlement On The Day of Trial a Good Option.

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Why Is Settlement On The Day of Trial a Good Option.

Often times clients will wonder why I recommend settlement in their unlawful detainer case. This post is to clarify why, in most cases, I believe professionally it is usually the best case to settle an unlawful detainer rather than take the case to trial.

Settling cases saves my clients money and time in th majority of evictions that I handle. On the day of trial my clients have already (usually) paid me for one half day of trial. If I don't settle the case before trial begins my clients as well as myself may be stuck in the court all day waiting to be heard. If trial begins, in certain instances, it could last well over a day. My client is often times missing valuable work time and I must bill for an entire day of trial being that I have spent an entire day of my time waiting to be heard by the honorable judges presiding in our over crowded court system.

With a settlement of the case I can ask for a larger money judgment than a judge can allow and I can give the defendant tenant an incentive to pay the back rent over time. This ensures that my client gets their rent back as well as the premesis. If I take the case to trial the judge will issue a judgment and getting a tenant defendant to pay will take extensive collections work.

Sometimes the tenants want to stay an extra week. Great! They can pay for it. The sheriff NEVER comes in a week or even two these days. Call any sheriff department in Los Angeles or Orange County and ask how long it is taking perform lockouts. They won't lie. The courts are crowded and so are the Sheriff's departments who serve this great state. Unfortunately, even in the worst eviction the Sherriff's department does not have enough deputies to process the number of evictions coming in. Settlment does NOT delay the eviction at all with how backed up the sheriffs are at enforcing the judgment by going out to post and then remove the occupants.

Also, settlment lets me get back to my office to prepare the application for writ and writ of possession. This is the document that I send to the sheriff to enforce the eviction. By settling I can have it prepared the same day and enforce the eviction much quicker. If I get back to the office once court has closed. Lockout will be delayed another day. In my large commercial cases this one day delay could equate to a loss of thousands of dollars.

When a case settles it prohibits continuances. Few things are worse than when a judge allows a tenant a continuance. Continuing the case costs time and money. I never ask for a continuance. Tenants always ask for a continuance based on the "evidence" they left at home. Some judges grant them. By settling, everyone can go home knowing that no further court hearings are necessary.

Settling the case also stops motions for new trial, appeals, and stays of execution. If I settle a case for my client the defendant tenant has agreed to leave by a certain date. If I take it to trial the tenant likely will either move for a new trial or ask the judge to stay the execution of a judgment (delay the eviction based on hardship). I have personally had a judge stay execution of a judgment after the sheriff had already posted for one entire month without having the tenant pay any rent. In that case the tenant was a convicted felon who was damaging the property. Neverthless, when the judge decides your case he or she can do what he wants. If you don't like that, you can appeal it but that of course would cost you more time and more money.

Settling also prohibits bizarre jury or judges verdicts. I had one case where the tenant raised the implied warranty of habitability as a defense. When it was her time to testify she showed a broken light bulb to the trial court. My client and I looked at each other and laughed, both logically believing that the light bulb did not constitute a substantial breach of the implied warranty of habitability. The couort however disagreed! The judge ordered a rent reduction of $50 based on the alleged breach and ordered the tenant to pay the reduced back rent of over $2000 in open court in 5 days. My client and I came back to court five days later. The tenant failed to appear because the real reason the tenant was being evicted was because they couldn't afford to pay the rent in the first place, the residence was pristine. After the tenant failed to appear and pay the judge reversed the ruling and my client won. Neverthless, it was a waste of time and another 5 days delaying the lockout costing my client valuable rent money.


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