A landlord filed a claim for ejection and past-due rent. No judge appeared at the small claims trial, so a court reporter took down argument from the parties. No witnesses were sworn and no evidence was introduced. Following the hearing, the court reporter filled out a pre-signed form requiring the tenant to vacate the premises. Later, the trial court heard evidence on damages and ordered the tenant to pay damages to the landlord. The tenant then appealed, arguing the initial hearing held without a judge violated due process. The Court concluded the hearing did not satisfy due process because it lacked a neutral decision-maker and did not afford the tenant her right to present evidence and defend against the ejectment.
The record in this case suggested that ejectment hearings may often be conducted without judicial officers. Further, the fact that the court reporter had a pre-signed ejectment order suggests that, at least in that court, a presumption in favor of ejectment exists. The Court of Appeals explicitly disapproved of these circumstances.
Attorneys that handle landlord-tenant issues, and, for that matter, any small claims matters, should take note of this decision and ensure that small claims hearings comply with due process.
The information contained in the Barrett McNagny LLP website is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice on any subject matter. Furthermore, the information contained on our website may not reflect the most current legal developments. You should not act upon this information without consulting legal counsel.
Your transmission and receipt of information on the Barrett McNagny LLP website, or sending an e-mail to one of our attorneys or staff, will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Barrett McNagny LLP. If you need legal advice and want to establish an attorney-client relationship with Barrett McNagny LLP, please contact one of our attorneys by telephone, email, or other means of communication, and allow the attorney to confirm that the firm does not represent other persons or entities involved in the matter and that the firm is willing to accept representation. Until such confirmation is provided by one of our attorneys, you should not transmit information to us that you consider confidential. If you do provide information to us, and no attorney-client relationship is established, the information will not be considered confidential or privileged, and our receipt of such information will not preclude us from representing another client in a matter adverse to you.
Any links to other websites are not intended to be referrals or endorsements of those sites.
A representative will be in touch with you shortly.
An attorney-client relationship will NOT be formed merely by sending an email to Barrett McNagny, LLP or to any of its attorneys. Please do not send any information specific to your legal needs until you obtain approval from a Barrett McNagny, LLP attorney, as the content of such email will not be considered confidential or privileged. By sending us an email, you confirm your understanding of this notification. If you agree, you may use the e-mail links on this page to contact an attorney.