Utah Eviction Blog

Free Utah Eviction Forms and Legal Information

The Two Questions – To Sue… Or Not To Sue…

Posted by Jeremy Shorts on December 4, 2009


Evaluating a potential lawsuit can be complex, but there are two simple questions that must be considered from the very beginning.  If you answer “No” to either of these questions, you should consider cutting your losses and moving on without taking legal action.

  • First – Do you have a valid claim?
    • Based on the facts and law, you need to know how likely a judge is to agree with you and award a judgment in your favor.
  • Second – Can you collect from the defendant(s)?
    • Even if the facts and law are on your side, if the defendant is in a poor financial state (i.e. they have little or no assets to even pay a judgment), a lawsuit may not be in your best interests.

If you cannot answer “Yes” to both of these, you may want to move on.  It does you no good if you have an excellent claim that a judge would agree with, but the defendant is judgment proof and will never be able to pay you.  A judgment in this situation probably isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Evictions May Be Different…

Most lawsuits are simply based on monetary damages and the “Two Questions” above are critical.  Evictions, however, often have a focus more important than simply collecting on past-due rents – regaining possession of the property.  Obviously a landlord is harmed by a non-paying tenant.  But the landlord of a dead-beat tenant cannot even consider placing a new tenant in the property until they regain possession of the premises.  In this situation, it very often makes sense for a landlord to pursue legal action with the understanding that they might not be able to collect.

Finally, while the landlord’s attorney is in the process of regaining possession of the property, it usually makes sense to also seek a monetary judgment.  The reason is that the additional work required to also obtain a judgment is often nominal.

Visit my website for free rental contracts and eviction forms: www.utahevictionlaw.com
Contact me for a free consultation.
Jeremy Shorts – Attorney at Law
Phone: 801-610-9879
Email: jeremy@utahevictionlaw.com
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