Swift Justice: Eviction, medical malpractice and DUI probation

Dear Jackie,

Could three partners all file separately against a landlord for $15,000 each on a wrongful eviction? It would be worth it if all three of us could do it because this guy took all three of us to court for protesting in front of the property. To get us to stop picketing, he locked us out with no notice, just turned off our utilities and decided that he was raising our bar's rent. We said no, and he locked our doors and kept our things! -- Blaze from Philadelphia, Pa.

Hi, Blaze,

Since the landlord evicted your business, you will need to file the lawsuit in the name of that business, not as individuals. It is illegal for a landlord to evict tenants by force, for instance by turning off utilities, changing locks and keeping property. Evictions must be done through a court procedure that involves notice and a hearing. The landlord must win a judgment in court and obtain a "writ of possession." You can check with the court to see if a judgment was obtained. If the procedure was not followed, you should consult with a real estate attorney and consider filing suit.

Dear Jackie,

My medical center failed to tell me that I had a bulging disc, and now I have three bulging discs with sciatica nerve pain. Sitting is painful. I can't walk. I wobble standing in one place. To continue to do those things would cause severe pain to where I have to lay down on my left side. I can go on and on. It would help to get compensation. I have proof that they told me my MRI was normal, not once did they say I had a bulging disc. This set me up for a relapse, causing my condition to worsen. Were they medically negligent? Please help! -- Angela from Grandview, Mo.

Hi, Angela,

Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex and costly. They are also difficult to prove. There is no way for me to advise you about your situation. The best course for you to take is to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your community. There are time limits for filing these actions, so don't wait. Do some research, find a good lawyer and set up a consultation. Good luck.

Dear Jackie,

In April of 2009, I was sentenced to 5 years of probation, an ankle monitor and an in-home breathalyzer due to a DUI. I was driving and hit a parked car, which in turn caused an injury to a person standing nearby. In the end, I was charged with three felonies. This was my first ever offense, and I have completed the DUI classes, and finished with the ankle monitor, urine testing and breathalyzer. I have paid all fines, but still have an outstanding balance to revenue and recovery. I make monthly payments and have never been late. I have not been in any trouble since this incident and have passed all tests given by probation. I would like to know how I can get these reduced down to misdemeanors. Thank you. -- Crystal from Sacramento, Calif.

Hi, Crystal,

It sounds like you have been a model probationer. Unless your plea agreement allowed for you to have your charges reduced when you successfully completed probation, I don't believe you can do it. You should go back and carefully review your guilty plea agreement to see if that was part of your plea deal. If it is not, then you should contact your attorney and ask this question. You should also inquire about the rules for sealing your record and what the time requirements are for sealing felonies. Keep up the good work.

(Jackie Glass is a lawyer and former district court judge from Las Vegas, Nev. Submit your legal questions to Jackie by emailing askjudgejackie@gmail.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @theJudgeGlass. This column is being provided for informational purposes only. It may not be relied upon by you as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.)

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