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Feel good series #1 – shopping for a car

Used car lot

In my last post, I mentioned that one of the reasons why I like being a solo practice lawyer is that it allows me to pick and choose the cases I want to take and not take. One of the kinds of cases that I generally will try and take are those in which I can help a veteran. There’s a lot of bad news in the world, so today I’m beginning a new series of posts in which I relay a good story to, hopefully, restore your faith in humanity.

Today’s story begins like this. Bob (not his real name) was in the Navy. He and his wife Jane (also not her real name) had a home in which they had raised two children. About 7 years ago, Bob and Jane — like many people — borrowed against their home. When the economy turned in 2008, Bob and Jane found themselves unable to pay back the loan they had taken out. When the bank came to take their home, Bob and Jane put up a fight. During the course of that fight, they were ordered by the court to put up a $4,000 security bond.

Sadly, Bob and Jane ultimately lost their fight and their home was taken from them. They should have been able to get back their $4,000 when they lost their house, but didn’t. It turns out that their old attorney neglected to tie up that loose end for them. Bob and Jane tried on their own for almost 10 months to get the $4,000 back on their own, but with no success. The court papers required to get the money back were beyond their ability.

When Bob and Jane came to me in February 2013, they were at their wits end. They had managed to move a lifetime’s worth of memories and property in to a small apartment, but they desperately needed the $4,000 back to buy a used car so that the two of them could get to and from work. Taking the bus and asking friends for rides was only going to get them so far.

Within two days of them coming to see me, I brought an ex parte motion seeking the return of their $4,000. After some back and forth with the bank and the judge, I got a signed order for the return of the $4,000. The finance department of the California courts ended up taking their sweet time (meaning 6 weeks) to cut a check and send it to Bob and Jane.

Last I heard, Bob and Jane had bought themselves a car.

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Andy Chen

Andy I. Chen is a lawyer licensed to practice law in California and New York. Andy maintains offices in Los Altos, California and Modesto, California. Under the New York Court of Appeals' 2015 decision in Schoenefeld v. State of New York, Andy does not accept cases from those in New York state. He does, however, know many lawyers in New York state and would be happy to make a referral.