Legal ethics - lying on court documents to bring charges

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Latest post 11-17-2011 2:39 PM by Drew. 5 replies.
  • 11-16-2011 7:49 PM

    Legal ethics - lying on court documents to bring charges

    I am a landlord and am being sued by a tenant for a security deposit.  The entire premise of the legal argument against me is based on a lie.  In Virginia, certain landlord/tenant laws only apply to landlords which own more than 4 units.   I only own one unit and have never owned anything more than that.  My tenant is suing me based on laws that do not apply to me.  And in her bill of particulars it states "upon information and belief, the landlord owns at least 4 rental units".  I do not and never have and they cannot have any information.  This is a blatent lie which is the entire basis for their lawsuit. So, the lawsuit is completely frivolous and she and her lawyer are trying to extort money from me by threatening punative damages and turning a $2900 security deposit issue into a $10,000 case.  They are forcing me to defend myself against a blatent lie.  I feel that this is fraud and extortion by my former tenant and her lawyer.  My tenant is also a lawyer. Can I bring charges against my former tenant and her lawyer for this lie?  Is this fraud, libel, and or extortion?  Can my former tenant and/or her lawyer be disbarred for doing this?  

    Thank you for any help you can give

    Ted

  • 11-16-2011 8:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Legal ethics - lying on court documents to bring charges

    Ted Bujewski:
    They are forcing me to defend myself against a blatent lie.

    So you prove the lie in court and you win the case.

    Ted Bujewski:
    Can I bring charges against my former tenant and her lawyer for this lie?

    You can't bring criminal charges but there might be civil penalties against both the lawyer and the tenant for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.

    Ted Bujewski:
    Is this fraud, libel, and or extortion?  Can my former tenant and/or her lawyer be disbarred for doing this?  

    No and no.

    There's just one thing that you have to understand.

    The statute might not apply to you but common law does.

    Which means that the court would likely apply the same standards to the security deposit issue as the statute does.

    So if you didn't handle the security deposit in accordance with the statute even though the statute doesn't apply to you, you might be in for a very unpleasant surprise.

    If you want to explain the security deposit issue, you might get some comments about your side of the case.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 11-16-2011 11:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Legal ethics - lying on court documents to bring charges

    Ted Bujewski:
    And in her bill of particulars it states "upon information and belief, the landlord owns at least 4 rental units".  I do not and never have and they cannot have any information.  This is a blatent lie which is the entire basis for their lawsuit.

    No, it is only a lie if they know for certain that you don't own four or more rental units. You, of course, know what you own. They may not. For example, the tenant or attorney may have done a record search and found other properties ownd with the same or similar name as yours. In that case, they'd have reason to think you may indeed own at least four rental properties. The attorney would then plead that in the complaint based on the information he and his client have at the time. You might prove it not to be the case later. But the fact that they got that fact wrong won't make the lawsuit frivolous and subject the tenant and/or attorney to sanctions by the court. If you can prove they knew at the time they filed the suit that you didn't own the 4+ properties AND that they had no claim if you didn't have the 4 properties, then you might get sanctions for filing a frivolous claim. So unlses you can prove that, don't jump to the conclusion they lied. They may just not have the right information to know what the deal is.

  • 11-17-2011 2:21 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,587

    Re: Legal ethics - lying on court documents to bring charges

    Retired LL's guess:

    Plaintiff has burden of proof  but so far we are missing what is the case law or common law in VA as to security deposits where the LL does NOT fall inside the scope of VLTL due to the 4 unit clause--case law most certainly is out there-dig it up and report back --its critical!

    1. If the plaintiff has built a house of card and 4 or more units is a mandatory part of the foundation of the issue raised then you have a clean shot at blowing down the house and your major decision may be when to blow. 

    2. If  there is an entire body of case law or common law as to how  a smaller Ll must address  security deposits and the plaintiff properly raises the issues in this contect you are going to need to address the merits as raised.

    3. My experience in other DJ courts is that tenant gets the benefit of any possible doubt especially if they raise an equitable matter --however there are still important proceedural rules and if one side has counsel and a clear rule is brought up the odds quickly shift to one must address the rule ( I blew a case or two pro se because other side knew the rules cold--and I did same to enemy when I had a clear rule in my favor --but with care--big bad LL is unwise to try to cram a hair split rule down some routine lay tenant with an equitable problem--judge won't like the LL! )

        If you stiffed a tenant on security and seek to defend on a technicality I do NOT give you good odds in round #1.  



  • 11-17-2011 2:26 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,587

    Re: Legal ethics - lying on court documents to bring charges

    PS having gotten into a fight with a lawyer puts you into arena with a skilled gladiator armed with a Glock 9 mm  --now if you blindly walk into HIS playgound with a rubber knife  the outcome is predictable.

    That said, does not rule out that lawyer outsmarted himself on the application of the 4 unit rule --so tell us the VA case law status of small LL's and security deposits.



  • 11-17-2011 2:39 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,587

    Re: Legal ethics - lying on court documents to bring charges

    One of my less fruitful events was a case where the attorney fees exceeded the amount in question 10:1

    I suspect attorney fees which are included in VRLTA are going to be the hidden point---ordinarily in a civil contract dispute each side would shoulder its own costs ... But if tenant thinks he holds winning cards he has his well paid legal buddy sit next to him and drone on for as long as the Judge will listen?



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