Three of five people in civil cases are there without a lawyer. Do they all want to be there alone? No, but most have no choice. There are though many good reasons to represent yourself in court. Below are our top 10.
You’ve struggled with proper wording and formatting of your motion, and you think you’ve done well. You go to the courthouse or online and file your motion. Unaware that there’s more to do, you simply stop there. You wait for an answer from your opponent or for the court to schedule a hearing. That’s not how things work in litigation. If your case is to move in the direction you desire, you must move it. That necessarily involves scheduling hearings on your motions.
Some might say hefty court fees and high judicial salaries are necessary to the smooth running of the courts. That explanation might be supportable if pro se litigants actually got the justice they pay for. Too often, once a pro se litigant plops down their filing and other court fees, high paid judges, particularly in the federal system, don’t give their cases the time they need. So, pro se litigants have to think hard about whether to pursue or appeal their cases.
You’ve been injured. Someone tarnished your good name, wrongfully wrecked your car, painted your house the wrong color, or gave you a haircut that makes you look like their dog and not yours. You need to sue. This list of 11 things to consider before doing that will help you get all your ducks in a row. Take off the kid gloves. You’re in litigation now.
So, what happens when you have a defendant who is difficult to find? You go through a process to hunt him down. That process is longer when the defendant is elusive, but if you do it right, you get a defendant who must answer or you get a default judgment. Either way works for you.
Lawyers opposing pro se litigants want it to be one way, but sometimes it’s the other way. Few things warm our hearts more than seeing pro se litigants handle bullying tactics from opposing counsel. A Courtroom5 member shared her experience of being bullied by her opponent’s lawyer. The clapback was strong. She made sure he won’t do it again, at least not to her.
The degree to which high court fees stop people from pursuing legitimate claims and defenses in court is not known. What is known is that filing and other fees are relatively high. While most people can handle simple one-time fees for documents or copying costs, filing and related fees might influence people’s decisions about going to court. That makes them an access to justice problem.
The right to a jury trial is part of the U.S. Constitution. So why don’t most cases reach a jury? Sure, many cases are settled, and some are frivolous, not worthy of being considered. But there are enough meritorious claims to keep our courthouses busy. Or maybe not, according to the nation’s judges. They are dismissing cases left and right. You won’t believe how few cases reach a jury.
When you’re sued and you want to avoid a default judgment, one of the first things you must do is respond. You can respond in a motion or pleading that essentially says, “Yo! I’m here, and I don’t agree with everything you say,” or “You might be right, but I’m not liable,” or “You can’t sue me because you done screwed everything up.” The first is an answer. The second is an answer and affirmative defenses. The third is a motion to dismiss. Here, we’re concerned with the second, the answer and affirmative defense.
The long-awaited first book from Brian Vukadinovich — Motion for Justice: I Rest My Case — is now available at fine bookstores everywhere. It chronicles his long fight with the U.S. justice system and shines a new light on the biases, unfairness and corrupt motivations of the nation’s courts. It’s a wake-up call for anyone seeking justice in the courts.