Small claims trial

If the parties cannot settle their disagreements at the settlement conference, they go to trial. In a case dealing with a request to examine a condo records should be pretty straightforward.

 I strongly suggest that prior to the trial date, you consult with an experienced lawyer who specializes in condominium law. The lawyer does not have to present the case for you at the trial but he or she should review your case and look over your arguments.

I would not hire a paralegal. Before I started my small claims case, I looked up paralegals on the Internet and telephoned one asking how much she would charge to handle my case. She said that she would charge $4,000 if it went all the way to trial but most cases get resolved at the settlement conference. Her estimated fees shocked me. At those prices, you can get a real lawyer.

I took my case up to the settlement conference for a total of $100 tops. Of course I was lucky as an experienced condo law lawyer looked over my case and signed my affidavit for free. Even if he charged me a couple hundred dollars, the $500 I would collect from the condo would still give me a healthy profit. (Although I would have included the legal fees in with my claim.)

A word of caution
Do not be hot-headed when starting a small claims case. As I stated above, have an experienced condominium lawyer review your facts and arguments. If you lose your case and the judge finds that your case was without merit, depending on your condo's by-laws, you may be liable to pay the condo corporation's full legal costs.

The information on this chapter is to be used only as guide and is not intended to be taken or understood to be legal advice. For legal advice, consult a lawyer that is experienced in condominium law.

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