Small Claims Court is NOT Judge Judy. The pre-trial hearing is your chance to ‘admit’ or ‘deny’ a debt. It is also your opportunity to question or disagree about the debt amount or whether the company suing you has the right to collect that debt.
The problem with Small Claims Court cases is…
- The company suing you (the Plaintiff) may not be the company you owe.
- The amount they are suing you for may be incorrect.
- And often the company suing you lacks proper documentation to prove their case.
The gap between what is evidentiary and what is hearsay could be your downfall…especially if you do not question it.
A Business Record (like a document kept in the course of a company’s regularly conducted business, recording transactions at or near the time of the transactions and not for the sole purpose of litigation) qualifies as admissible evidence. However, an Affidavit signed off by the Plaintiff, of the Plaintiff, and for the Plaintiff is hearsay. We cannot cross-examine an Affidavit…even if it is notarized by Judge Wapner.
Contact your attorney or your local Legal Aid office for more information about your rights as a Defendant, the lawsuit filed against you, the company suing you, the documentation attached to the lawsuit, and/or the court process.
Just because someone sues you does not mean the case is valid. If you do not stand up for your rights, someone may stand on them.