Monday, October 13, 2014

Small Claims trials can be head shakers

One of the dubious benefits of having been a licensed attorney for more years than I can count on both hands is I can sign up to be appointed a temporary judge.  This means that for payment of "resume fodder" [no monetary compensation but I can indicate on my resume that I acted as temporary judge in X county], I would be assigned to preside over traffic and small claims hearings.  [Because I am a plaintiff's eviction attorney, I am disqualified from hearing eviction cases.]

One day I was hearing small claims cases.  Plaintiffs were homeowners who had contracted with defendants to construct a concrete patio in their backyard.  I don't remember why, but for some reason defendants could not complete the job on the day they had scheduled.  However, they had already set up delivery of the cement with a sub-contractor, who appeared at the residence with one of those mixing trucks.  Defendants, not able to do the job that day, and obviously not wanting to pay a rescheduling fee, told their sub-contractor to "just leave the cement in a pile off to the side here."

So that's what the sub-contractor did.

Needless to say, plaintiffs/homeowners terminated their contract with defendants, and hired another contractor to remove the huge pile of hardened concrete from their front yard, probably with jackhammers, before completing the patio in the backyard.

Plaintiffs provided me with a photograph of the pile of concrete in the front yard -- it was nearly as large as a small car.  I showed the photo to defendants.

Me:  "Is it supposed to look like this?"

Defendants:  "Um, no."

That was one of the easiest trials I ever decided.