Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 09:16 PM
Posted by Administrator
A few days before I retired, I was sitting in my office at 4:30PM, about to go over and pick up my car at the tire store. A call came in. "Mr. Bob," the caller said in a island accent (but not the islands of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Aruba, Anguilla, or the Virgin Islands) "I come over and see you. Where you located?" While, normally, I was a big fan of the scheduled appointment and I liked to limit my drop-ins to clients possessing great entertainment skills (I am partial to stand-up comedy and juggling) or exquisite beauty, I wasn't up to much so I gave the caller directions to the office.

I asked who had referrred him to me. The answer was garbled.

The caller...already in the car and on the way... gave the phone to his passenger else and I repeated the directions. They called about five minutes later and I repeated the directions. I told them they were still about ten minutes away and they called about 60 seconds later for directions. They called again "We are here at your office building." I said "But, my office is not in an office building."

Eventually two men showed up at my door. The first pointed to the man behind him as the client. The client was a short, thin man dressed in light blue scrubs. They both sat down at my desk and I asked what it was about.

"I rented from a guy and they foreclosed on his house and then the new owner came in and put holes in the walls and took out all the appliances and I signed a lease with him but he said he was going to come back with new appliances but he hasn't come back and I need your help." I asked to see the paper he had in his hand. The paper was a Writ Of Possession stamped "SERVED" and dated three days ago.

Once a landlord has won his eviction case, once a buyer at a court-ordered foreclosure sale has taken title, they are entitled to a Writ Of Possession. The Sheriff serves the Writ and posts it on the door of the residence or business and the tenants/former owners/squatters/whoever have to be out the next day or the Sheriff will come with people and put their stuff out onto the street. A Writ Of Possession is the end of the line. When you are served with one, it is over...you are done..you don't live there anymore. But there is the idea of justice and fairness and due process and feeling bad for the down-and-out.......

So, I asked the client when he had last paid rent "June", he said. It was September. And I asked the client whether he had paid the new owner rent when he signed the lease he said he signed "No", he said. And I asked the client whether he had any money to pay me. He started mumbling.

So, I said to the client, "I think you are just a freeloader, get out of my office." His friend stood up and began moving but the client sat there. I said "You need to get up and get out of my office now." I said it again. The third time was the charm...they left.

This was the first time I had thrown anybody out of my office in years. I am sure a better or smarter man/woman would have helped this guy try to continue to live where he was living for free (with new appliances) and do the legal work for him for free as well.

It just wasn't going to be me. ........ or anybody I knew who had an ounce of common sense...or anybody who didn't have a perverted sense of what we, as lawyers, were supposed to do to help people who can't afford legal fees.

But, I am not bitter about my time being wasted and my blood pressure being raised... and I would like...right now... to invite all of the people I have thrown out of my office up to see me in Northern Wyoming:
-The old man who wanted me to help him divorce his wife and then force her to be his household help.
-The young man who thought the voices on the TV were talking directly to him and who later got arrested by the Secret Service for threatening to kill Clinton.
-The crazy man who felt compelled to line up his dolls on my desk.

All of you, come on up to Wyoming. Winter's coming and all I'll have to do is chop firewood so I could use the company.

(Of course, at the first hint of Spring, all of you are back out on the street or I'm calling the law.)

Editor's Note: Bob Smith is a retired South Florida lawyer who writes for the blog from his cabin in Northern Wyoming.
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