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Questions Answered by Gerald Barry Dorfman
1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Civil Rights for California on
Q: What law can I research to defend against a false State Bar of CA accusation of UPL assisting an ADA Plaintiff for free?

An IFP, mentally incompetent plaintiff ADA case was filed in federal court. The 9th Circuit reversed and remanded for me to be appointed Guardian ad litem and the case is moving forward. The State Bar's policy prevents due process and equal protection for those requiring ADA assistance to... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Apr 17, 2022

A Guardian ad Litem can not act "in pro Per", but must be represented by counsel. This policy is not something invented by the State Bar. See, for example, the admonition contained in form MC-050, regarding substitutions of attorney. ("NOTICE TO PARTIES APPLYING TO REPRESENT... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents and Small Claims for California on
Q: Hello good afternoon, i had question regarding porperty damage as a result of a automobile accident.

On may of 2019, i was struck by a dodge challenger who failed to stop at a stop sign in a 2way intersection. Driver fled on foot and my insurance had to foot the bill for my vehicle. I was traveling northbound in my infiniti when i was hit on my front right passenger door which made my vehicle... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 22, 2022

You need to turn the papers over to your insurance company immediately. You, as an individual, are the correct party to be sued, but your insurance is there to protect you. Because you have been served court papers, you must act right away.

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: My Mom is 82 w/mild dementia and able to make decisions. Can she change Power of Attorney & choose where to live?

Her oldest daughter has Power of Attorney,

placed her in a facility without asking or talking to her about other living options she has available to her. She doesn't want to live nor need to live in a facility. She also has a Living Trust. She has options to live with relatives or... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 21, 2022

So long as she has the "capacity" to make her own decisions, she can make her own choices, including revoking a power of attorney. If a contract was signed with a valid power of attorney in place, that will have to be looked at. You should have your mom see an estate planning attorney,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Is there an easier way than probate to transfer real estate, clear title and owned outright, to an established heir?

My brother, never married, died intestate with no debt, a savings/checking account, a 10 acre parcel owned solely, and one half title on a house held as community property with our mother.

My mom, being first in succession, received the cash assets, his union pension and SS benefits after... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 20, 2022

Probate will almost certainly be required, unless the house title with your mother allows. It is possible the house jointly owned with your mother can pass without probate, if it is held in joint tenancy. (Your post says "community property", but that would not be correct for a couple... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Contracts for California on
Q: Can a Company request for Payback for incorrect/double payment after signing Mutual Release Agreement

Signed a Contract for a Vehicle Purchase - but was double charged for it , and requested refund of additional payment which was reimbursed after a long time.

In the meantime the Vehicle had some issues - which the company settled by making me sign a Mutual Release agreement - that absolves... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 17, 2022

Like many contracts and releases, it really comes down to the specific wording of the document. They can always threaten to sue, or even file a lawsuit, but to understand whether their action is realistic you need an attorney to review the documents.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I have been in a relationship for almost 25 years, not married. We are splitting up, can I get 1/2 the house?

My name is on the deed as a joint tenant, the house is paid for and my significant other says I'm not entitled to any of the house because he paid for it. We had a co-mingled account for 1/2 of the time we have been together. I have contributed to the household with my income. He has been... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Feb 15, 2022

An attorney will need to fully review the facts to give you a specific opinion in your case. Generally, a joint tenant is entitled to one half the property. If court action is required, an action for "partition" will force the division (usually by sale) of the property, with the court... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Civil Litigation, Collections and Small Claims for California on
Q: Can I hire an attorney for limited services?

I wish to hire an attorney to help with preparing an "opposition to motion to deem matters admitted". Is it possible to hire for only that, or will attorneys require they represent me throughout the entire case?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 11, 2022

You can hire an attorney to provide "limited scope" services. If you want them to actually appear in court, just for a single motion or hearing, that can be done. You can also have them just write the papers and coach you on how to represent yourself. See, for example: LimitedScopeCounsel.com

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Criminal Law for California on
Q: neighbor hired a fence repairman who cut down my very large 16 year old shrub. What are my options?

My situation involves a neighbor who hired a fence repairman to remove the last section of fence separating our properties under the guise of installing a new fence post where there wasn't one prior for the neighbor, instead the worker destroyed and uprooted a large shrub on my side of the... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 6, 2022

You may be entitled to up to three times your damages plus attorney fees. Obtain an estimate of the replacement value of the shrub and set up a consultation with a real estate attorney. Your options are to either settle or sue. There are various methods of negotiating settlements. You... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Can dismissing a civil suit result in fees?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 30, 2021

Yes. A prevailing party is entitled to their "costs". Depending on the case, these can be quite significant. In some cases, such as when a contract or statute allows them, attorney fees may also be assessed. Some costs are automatic and are awarded after a "memorandum of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Tenant filed their response to UD on 12/16. They were served w/ complaint on 12/27. Is response valid or invalid?

The tenants were served the complaint and summons on 12/27. Yet they filed their response on 12/16. Is their response valid? It seems that they are putting the cart before the horse.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 29, 2021

Generally, when a case is filed a defendant can file a response without being served, if they so choose. Not clear from your post how they knew about the complaint, but the response would not be invalidated just because they were served afterwards.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can a buyer sue a seller for train noise that was disclosed?

We just closed on the sale of our house a month ago. We just got an email from our agent. The buyer's agent says the buyer wants us to compensate them for new windows. They are complaining about train noise which was disclosed. They are also claiming dogs barking which we never had an issue... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 23, 2021

It sounds like you would win the case, just based on what you have written here. That doesn't mean they can't sue you. Review the sale contract to see if mediation is required before bringing suit, whether attorney fees are available to the prevailing party, or any other terms that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: My landlord wants to inspect the house, can we deny entry to her for fear of covid?

There's a new born baby at the house and a new mom that cant get the vaccine so we don't feel safe letting her in at this time.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 18, 2021

The answer to your question is going to be governed by Civil Code section 1954, along with a careful analysis of the facts. First, read Civil Code section 1954. It discusses specifically the situations under which a landlord can enter the rental premises. If the "inspection" your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Rental termination fee

I need help with a rental termination fee. I used to live in San Francisco. I was unable to pay my rent and came over to Chicago to seek affordable housing and good schools for my kids. My previous landlord sent me an invoice of around 12,000$ because of finishing my rental prematurely. What should... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Dec 16, 2021

You need an attorney to look at your rental agreement in order to properly advise you on the specifics of your case. Generally, a tenant is responsible for the full term of the lease. However, the landlord is required to "mitigate damages", that is, try to re-rent the unit once the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Requesting information about being a non-spousal beneficiary on the life insurance plan of my deceased ex-partner.

Resolved.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Nov 19, 2021

This is the type of detailed information you should not be posting on the Internet. Just by way of example, assume you have a right to both, but there is strong possibility one or more relatives may file suit. One good outcome would be to disclaim the 401K in exchange for a release for all claims... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: How to move Grandpa in our rental house if we have tenants on a lease until Feb 2021???

Our Grandpa needs care, my brother and I live on the same block as the rental house we have, and we love our Grandpa! The tenants we have are there until Feb, but Grandpa needs housing by the end of November. How do we get the tenants out? They are good tenants, but Grandpa is way more important... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Nov 1, 2021

If you have a valid lease with your tenants which runs through February, 2022, you can't force them to leave before then. A lease is a contract. Your best course may be to try to negotiate a buyout.

2 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents for California on
Q: Is it worth getting a lawyer if a family is sueing me for crashing into them when they had said they were not injured.

I crashed into them when they had breaked checked over exaggerated when they had enough time to slow down, they’re rear bumper was the only thing damaged and my hood, bumper, and fenders were damaged, therefore I checked and asked if they were okay and they said that they were and when my dad... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Oct 28, 2021

Turn this over to your insurance company right away. They will provide you with a lawyer and defend you. If you did not have insurance, you will have to defend yourself, and risk having a very large judgement against you, as well as having your license taken away until you pay the judgement. It... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Commercial tenant abandonment/early lease term. Are they legally responsible for remainder owed on lease (10 mos)?

Our tenant wrote us a letter stating they can no longer operate their business on our property and mailed it to us along with their key. Their lease agreement doesn't end till July 2022. On the lease it states all parties will not seek court action and will seek mediation /arbitration to... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 23, 2021

Generally, a tenant is responsible for the full lease term, BUT the landlord must reasonably attempt to "mitigate" the damages. That means the landlord should try to rent out the space once the tenant has left. IF (the language in the lease is very important) the parties have agreed to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Utility company has equipment on my land w/o proper easement. Can I get rent for space or make them move said equipment

The water utility has 3 large water tanks on my land. They own 1/2 acre above me on the hill but their land is very steep so I assume the last owner of my property allowed them to use his land. I know the utility has an easement on my land to access their equipment for repairs but no where did I... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Aug 27, 2021

Theoretically you can. Unfortunately for you, there are other possible explanations for the location of the tanks. Some first steps: If you have not already done so, read the title report very carefully. Review the written disclosures given to you in connection with the sale by the seller.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My husband will not set up a trust, our assets are about 1.75 million. What happens if he should suddenly die?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 24, 2021

Generally, and understanding the details matter: Assuming all your property is community property, and he has no will, his estate (his half of your community property) will go through probate. Probate is a court process. You will receive the property, minus costs of administration. If there is... Read more »

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