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Case Victory: DuPage County Small Claims Court

 Posted on April 17, 2019 in Civil law

Our firm just won a small claims case in DuPage County. The client had hired a painter. The painter was claiming that he was never paid. Our client said that the painter had been paid for the work to be done and that the work was unfinished and not up to snuff. Small claims cases in DuPage County are for disputes less than $10,000.

The painter represented himself, this is known as going Pro Se. While not as bad a decision as performing your own surgery without training, it is still a bad decision for most people.

In the small claims court the Judge can relax the rules of evidence somewhat and can provide some help to a Pro Se litigant. The painter was unable to establish any sort of argument or to tell the court what he was after. His wife was somewhat more helpful to his case.

Cross Examination

Upon cross examining the wife of the petitioner, her evidence was mostly hand written notes as to the estimate of the unwritten contract. Some key points she was forced to admit were:

  • Never giving an estimate to the home owners
  • Not having a practice of giving receipts
  • Having no written proof of any kind

In a civil lawsuit the party bringing the action (The Plaintiff) must meet their “burden of proof.” This is done by some combination of testimony from witnesses and other evidence, like documents, pictures, etc.

When the Plaintiff finished putting on their case, I brought a motion for a directed finding. This is a request for the judge to make a finding that the burden of proof has not been met, and to decide in favor of the Respondent.

The Judge granted my motion and our client won! We did not have to present any evidence to the court in order to win.

Contact Our Civil Attorneys Today!

If you have a dispute over money, our law firm may be able to help you. Please make it a practice to keep records of contracts, receipts for amounts you pay, and photos of anything in dispute.

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