Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cardnal Sin

Don't mess with this bird
I know I shouldn't do it but I really feel really sorry for some people. I mean, I sit at the reference desk and to listen to all the problems of the world and I really want to help with a a few "suggestions"  because some people are really clueless about what they can and can't do in a court of law.  

The problem is that I really can't give specific "suggestions" not so much because doing so constitutes an unlawful practice of Law (UPL) and is "technically" against the law but because the SECOND I offer any assistance other than to suggest what book people should read and try to offer a little direction on how a person should proceed in a case, I get swamped with hundreds of unrelated questions (because most people representing themselves don't know what they want/need and just want to drown you in their misery).  Maybe an example would make thing clearer.

Lady comes into the library.  Seems someone had sued her, never (properly) notified her, and now has a judgment against her.  A "friend" told her that what she needed to do was to file a Motion for Reconsideration which is found in California Forms of Pleading and Practice Vol. 33, Chp. 374 (Motions to Reconsider and Renewed Motions).

The problem is that what she really needs is a Motion to Set Aside Default (under Code of Civil Procedure Section 473(b)); found in California Forms of Pleading and Practice Vol. 43, Chp. 489 (Relief from Judgments and Orders).  Thing is, I can't actually tell her she's looking at the wrong form (UPL, and all).  What I can do is suggest that she take a look at Volume 43 hoping she doesn't ask why.  Knowing that she will, the best I can say is, "it's just a hunch - but you can trust me because I'm a Librarian."

It is a razor's edge on which your local county law Librarian navigates.  Know, though, that your local county law Librarians knows what they're doing most all the time.  When we say we have a "hunch" about something, you'd be best served to heed our "hunch" because our hunches are probably a lot better than yours when it comes to all things law and legal research (and we'll just leave it at that).