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A landlord that managed her own rented out property, leased one of her Montgomery County properties to a tenant. After several months of living in the property, the tenant started alleging Mary did not remedy issues on her property involving the presence of lead paint, and that she did not have a viable, legal lease. Mary then hired a property management company to manage the property for her. In attempts to resolve the lead paint issue, the property management company was not allowed access into the property by the tenant for 3 months until law enforcement officials said it was okay for property management to enter the property. Mary was therefore sued by the client in the amount of $17,500.00 for compensation for the alleged issues with the property and the lease. However, the tenant had also missed several monthly payments during her tenancy in the property, and was ultimately living on the property for free for a duration of several months. This was not the first time that the tenant had missed out on payments: the tenant was sued by Mary previously, and was ordered to pay Mary for the skipped rent payments. In an aim to avoid paying Mary for the missed monthly payments, the tenant vacated the property but left substantial damage including holes in walls, a broken appliance, and an overall filthy property. To complicate the issue, it was discovered that Mary did not have a rental license which is required by law to rent out properties as a landlord.
In the Montgomery County Circuit Court, our office defended Mary through a series of hearings, depositions, and mediations leading up to the trial. We also went through the process of discovery in which we were able to prove the tenant’s basis for the lawsuit was frivolous. The case proved to be grueling as there was little to no cooperation from the opposing party, and the courts were lenient about the lack of cooperation. A year and a half of civil litigation resulted in a fair outcome for Mary: Mary was ordered to only pay $2,500.00 of the original lawsuit amount, and dismissal of the case with prejudice.
Had recently passed away and had assets from her trust wrongfully distributed by the trust’s co-trustee, the defendant, to people and organizations not named in her estate planning documents. There was a significant amount of mismanaging and discrepancies in the distribution of trust funds because Ms. Smith’s estate planning documents stated that all funds in her personal, retirement, and security accounts be distributed to the trust and this was not executed the way it was supposed to be. To further complicate matters, there were discrepancies in Ms. Smith’s trust document that were made by attorneys who drafted the trust.
With all the actions that had already been taken by the co-trustee in this trust matter, we assisted our client in opening a case in the Circuit Court to have the co-trustee removed from the trust and replaced, and have the assets of the trust traced and recovered. The co-trustee, now the defendant, denied the allegations and the case was to undergo the discovery process. After going through civil litigation, our office was able to have the court order the co-trustee resign as the co-trustee of the trust and forfeit any of their future interest as a beneficiary in the trust. We were also able to complete an inventory of the personal property involved in the matter, a re-possession of family heirlooms and animals, maintenance of half the insurance proceeds from repairs on the property, and a repossession of the defendant’s personal property from storage.