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The wheels of justice grind slowly

07/28/14

  20:05:00 by Joe, Categories: General, Miscellaneous

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but grinding they do...

Background: Back in late Sept. 2013, somebody drove into my car in the parking lot of the building where I live. My rear bumper was damaged and ultimately had to be replaced.
I thought, not a big deal, that's what insurance companies are for. As it turned out, the car's owner, the driver's mother (the driver was a minor) didn't pay the car insurance bills, so the insurance company had canceled the coverage. Talking with the car's owner proved to be useless, she was just screaming at me over the phone, and said, there are no witnesses, and it was my fault, anyway, etc.
So, I ended up filing a lawsuit against the car's owner, in small claims court. I won that case easily, on Jan. 29. The driver admitted to driving about 25 mph, and that in a parking lot. Way too fast, of course. And she contradicted herself several times, etc. It was obvious that the mother attempted to speak for her daughter (because she's a minor), but the judge shut her off pretty quickly (it would have been hearsay, and there probably had been some coaching, anyway.)

Of course, winning a lawsuit is just half the battle. Collecting the money is the second half...
The car's owner said she doesn't have the money, and even when I said, "installments are fine", she said she wouldn't be able to pay $250 a month, she could only pay $50. At that rate, it would take 1 1/2 years to pay it off, which I couldn't accept. So this went back and forth, with her screaming at me, throwing insults at me, and me staying cool ;)
At some point, out of the blue, she proposed two installments, each being more than the $250 she earlier had said she couldn't afford... She had just gotten a nice Mercedes, so she must have realized that neither I nor a judge would take her claim of "not being able to pay" seriously.
So, we sign a contract stipulating the two installments, one in mid-April, one in mid-May.
Come mid-April, she doesn't pay. I was out of town the weekend when the payment was due, I contacted her when I came back, and she promised to pay the following Friday. And she actually did, to my surprise.
Come mid-May, she again doesn't pay. I contact her via SMS, she insults me, and says "it's only 2 days late." As if that was an excuse for her insults. The following day, she sends me an SMS saying she'll pay the following Friday. Of course, she didn't. She ended up being two weeks late on that payment.

I had some additional costs, e.g., for the process server, that I had intended to pay out of pocket, in the interest of a speedy resolution of the case. But with her paying me late, and insulting me when I inquired, I was not inclined to let go of these costs.
So, I filed additional paperwork with the court, claiming these costs, as well as interest. As was to be expected, getting her to pay these costs didn't come easy, either. It took another one and a half months for her to pay that.
But finally, all got paid today, and the case is finally, after 10 months, closed.
Whew.

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