Saturday, May 27, 2017

Judge Millian Schools a Clueless Landlord on Yesterday's "The People's Court"

I listen to podcasts and play YouTube videos in the background sometimes when I'm doing paperwork. One program that works well for this type of passive viewing is "The People's Court." I rarely get to watch this show in person, so it's nice that others upload the program regularly.

Yesterday's program was a great episode. Not only did the defendant try claiming the cost of a pot-deal in his counter-suit(!!), but the best case happened in the middle of the show. This couple was moving out of their apartment and found that $1005.50 of their security deposit was withheld due to cleaning expenses. Basically, the landlord spent 64 hours cleaning the stove and the toilet and charged a rate of $20 per hour for the cleaning.

The plaintiffs disputed that their place was that dirty and provided an exit video as proof. The were gently chided for recording everything quickly so that the judge couldn't see much detail, but the place looked pretty good.

Meanwhile, the defendant didn't have any pictures, but he had 60 years of experience as a landlord and a checklist that his cleaner (AKA his girlfriend) completed while she cleaned the place. The defendant was incredulous that the Judge Millian brought up the fact that he didn't provide any proof (such as pictures) to back up his damage claims and that she didn't automatically trust his experience or his word. He also told her that it was inappropriate to ask if the cleaner is his girlfriend and disagreed that her credibility here might be more skewed if she was romantically attached to him instead of just professionally attached to him.

It came to a head when the cleaner/girlfriend was explaining the state of the apartment to Judge Millian. The defendant began chortling during one of Judge Millian's interjections. It went downhill from there:
Judge Millian: Are you mocking me?

Defendant: No. 

Judge Millian: It looked like you were. 

Defendant: I'm amazed at the questioning.

Judge Millian: Why? Why are you amazed? You think you're beyond having to prove your case in court? You're being sued? Why would you come in without a single picture? I don't mind that you didn't come in with a single picture. It's not good for you, but I don't mind that. 

Defendant: I'm a successful landlord and I've never...

Judge Millian: "I'm a success... I've been doing this 60 years..." And what? I'm an idiot? I'm the trier of fact here, pal. And you need to prove your case or you lose. That's how it works. It's so simple. What I am not used to... I'm used to litigants coming unprepared. I'm not used to litigants mocking me for asking you, "where's your evidence?" That I'm not used to. 

Defendant: Well, you repeated it several times, ma'am.

Judge Millian: I repeated what several times? 

Defendant: The pictures.

Judge Millian: Right. 

Defendant: *Shrug*

Judge Millian: That's right. 

Defendant: I don't think that's appropriate. 

Judge Millian: You don't. You know what I don't think is appropriate? I don't think it's appropriate for you to keep $1005.50 without proof, so I'm ordering you to return it to them.
You can watch the entire delicious court case here.

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