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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Small Claims Court Basics, DIY Wilderness Kit, Off Grid Energy

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

For Independent Minded People!

ISSN 2161-5543



In This Issue:

1.       Nuts n Bolts of Small Claims Court

2.      DIY Amp your bike, DIY Wilderness Kit

3.      Importance of Off-Grid energy

4.      The US Police are becoming more like the Stasi



"The difference between a politician and a pickpocket
is that the pickpocket doesn't get indignant
when you tell him to keep his hands to himself."
-- Joseph Sobran




Nuts n Bolts of Using a Small Claims Court


Do you have a customer who refuses to pay you for the repairs you made to her car? Or maybe your former landlord won't return your security deposit? These are just a couple of examples of the types of claims or disputes that are handled by the Michigan small claims courts.

And, now that you're ready to file a small claims lawsuit, you need to know the mechanics of what to do and how to do it. In general, you have to have to who you're suing, have the right paperwork, and file the suit in the right court.

Where to File

You file a small claims case with the clerk of the appropriate district court. In Michigan, there are nearly 100 districts, with each covering at least one township, city, or county. You have to file your suit in the city or county where the:

·         Incident, transaction, or dispute took place. For example, in the city or county where the car accident happened, or where the real property is located if you're suing to recover a security deposit

·         Person or business you are suing is located. If you are suing more than one person or business, you can file in the district court where any of the persons live, or where any of the businesses operate

If you don't file the lawsuit in the right district, the defendant can ask the court to move the case to the proper district, or even ask that the case be dismissed. This can slow things down for you. So, if you're unsure about where to file your suit, contact the clerk's office for your area for some help.

Affidavit and Claim

Lawsuits begin when the plaintiff, the person who's suing, files a "complaint." In the Michigan small claims courts, there's a special form called the "Affidavit and Claim." You can get a copy of this form from the court clerk, or you can get it online, along with detailed instructions to help you fill-out the form. If you need additional help, the clerk can give you some assistance, but don't expect legal advice about your suit.

When filling out the form, you need to give information about case in a clear and simple may. Print neatly and just give the facts about your claim. If the clerk or judge can't read the Affidavit, your case may be dismissed and you'll have to start over again. You need quite a bit of information to complete the form, such as:

·         Your name, address, and a telephone number where you can be contacted during the day

·         The name and address of the party you're suing (called the "defendant"), and whether the defendant is an individual, corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship

·         The amount of money you want the defendant to pay

·         Reasons why the defendant owes you money

·         Whether an individual defendant is at least 18 years old. If he's not, then you need to sue his parents

·         Whether an individual defendant is mentally competent. If she's not, you can't sue her

·         Whether an individual defendant is an active member of the US military. If she is, then the case can't go forward until the court appoints an attorney to represent her

In Michigan small claims court, a defendant may be sued in any name used by the defendant in:

·         Advertisement or sign

·         Sales slip, register tape, or business card

·         Invoice or contract

·         Any other communication or document published, displayed, or issued to the public in the course of the defendant's business

You need to sign the Affidavit and Claim either in front of the court clerk when or in front of a notary public. Also, you need to fill-out a separate Affidavit and Claim for each defendant. And, you have to have the right number of copies of each Affidavit and Claim. In most instances, you'll need four copies (one for you, one for the defendant, and two for the court). The court clerk can tell you how many copies you need.

Filing Fees

You have to pay the clerk a filing fee. The fee is $25 if your claim is $600 or less; $45 for claims over $600 but less than $1,750; and $65 for claims over $1,750. These fees can change at any time, so be sure to ask the district court clerk about them. Also, you'll only be charged one filing fee if you're suing more than one defendant.

Generally, if you win your case, the small claims court will order the defendant to pay your filing fee (called "court costs"). This will be in addition to any other money or "damages" the court awards you on your claim.

Service of Process

"Service of process" is when one party gives the other party notice that he's being sued. Generally, this is done by making sure that the defendant gets a copy of your Affidavit and Claim. You can't deliver or "serve" the Affidavit. You can either let the court clerk arrange for it to be served by a court bailiff or by certified mail. Both methods have a fee that has to be paid when you file suit. Check with the clerk for the fee amount because they change often and vary from court to court.

If you're the defendant and you think the plaintiff owes you money, you can file a written counterclaim against the plaintiff with the clerk. You have to serve the plaintiff with a copy by first-class mail.

After you file, you and the defendant will be notified of the trial date by mail.

Defendant's Options

Once you've filed suit, the defendant can do any number of things, such as:

·         Settle the claim, that is, simply agree that he owes you money and pays you. If you agree to a settlement, you can either voluntarily dismiss your case or get a court judgment (or decision) stating how much the defendant owes you. If you want an enforceable judgment -- meaning one that the court can later help you collect on -- the settlement agreement must be in writing and you have to file a copy of it with the clerk

·         Answer the suit. This is where the defendant shows up at trial and defends himself, or, before trial, gives the court a written and signed letter that explains why you shouldn't win the case

·         Object to your suit and have it moved out of small claims to the regular district court (this is called removal). Here, more stringent court rules apply, and both parties are allowed to have attorneys represent them in court

·         Default. If the defendant doesn't show up for trial (or "defaults"), you automatically win, so long as he was properly served with notice and you can show the magistrate that your claim against defendant was valid

·         Counterclaim, or file a claim against you



PM’s Roundup of Useful Resources…


AMP Your Ride – DIY Bike-Mounted USB Hub

The cost is about $25 and it is of moderate difficulty in creating this DIY project.  If you enjoy biking you can use it to charge USB devices during long commutes.

For full instructions on building a USB bike charger, go to:


The Importance of Off Grid Energy
How important is off grid energy and why should we all fine tune our focus in this area? Recent news events may shed a little light on just how important the concept of off grid energy really is.


DIY fanny pack wilderness kits…


7 Inspiring Home-Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms (or Dads)

Are you a stay-at-home mom (or dad)? Hoping to kick start an entrepreneurial dream? Starting a home-based business is a great way to do this. In fact, 52 percent of U.S. companies operate as home businesses. Here are some business ideas and considerations for stay-at-home moms.


Backpacker Snack…

Homemade pick me up:  Mix together raisins, salted peanuts, dried apples, shredded coconut and wheat germ and roughly shred mix in a blender or food processor.  Amounts and proportions depend on your personal taste. 

Next, melt enough chocolate in a double boiler to stir the mix into.  When well combined, pour into a buttered cake pan to about a one inch depth.  When cool, cut into two-inch squares and wrap each one in aluminum foil or clear wrap.


Add raw apple cider vinegar to your diet.  A teaspoon to your drinking water or fruit juice will relieve stress during hot hikes.


The Nanny State-We love our government


The same IRS that targeted conservative groups for punitive audits will be demanding your private health insurance records in January
(NaturalNews) By now, everyone is aware that the IRS has been caught red-handed conducting politically-motivated audits of conservative non-profit groups. Non-profits that taught the Constitution or even mildly criticized the federal government were targeted...


Oregon Man Acquitted After Arrest For Stripping Before TSA . . . TSA Responds By Bringing Its Own Charge

Transportation Security Agency (TSA) set out to create a crime never approved by Congress: the crime of making a joke in an airport about security issues. The TSA has long appeared to chaff at the notion of an agency dependent on Congress or the public for its authority. That appears the message being sent to John E. Brennan. You may recall Brennan from a story last year when he stripped in the Portland International Airport in protest of increasing invasive TSA security measures. He was cleared by a judge who found his stripping was a form of protest. However, the TSA was clearly miffed by decision of the judge, so Brennan has pulled into the administrative abyss by TSA with an agency charge. It appears that if the law will not punish a citizen, TSA will.


NSA Internet Spying Guide Made Public
This book of NSA search advice was created to help employees use Google to find valuable information online. At more than 600 pages long, it is filled with plenty of Google hacks, although so far I can't find anything that PCMag editors haven't been recommending for years. To be fair, the document was originally created in 2007 and a lot has changed. Still, there are a lot of neat details here.


More Working Households Crippled
The burden of housing costs is becoming unbearable…

The Parting Thought 


US Police becoming like the STASI

The Palm Beach, Florida police program is the first of its kind in America. The Community Partners Against Terrorism (CPAT) initiative sprang out of the half-billion dollars dropped into Urban Area Security grants by the Department of Homeland Security. CPAT's founder Sheriff Ric Bradshaw explains the purpose of the new police hot line that solicits anonymous tips: “We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor, and he’s gonna shoot him. What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’” Bradshaw wants to know who mutters against “the system” and who hangs a “Don't Tread on Me” banner on a bedroom wall. A video on his website urges local citizens to report on suspicious activity such as the photographing of a bridge.

The impact of being able to turn in your neighbor for their opinions or other peaceful behavior is well documented. It is a power that encourages the worst within human nature and rewards those people who lie and betray all trust. A network of citizen-informers not only creates the Stasi or Nazi state but also the Stasi or Nazi human being.

In his remarkable book, The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy 1933-45 (Oxford, 1990), historian Robert Gellately presents a riveting window into the three-way collaboration between the totalitarianism, a complicit citizenry, and state persecution of 'the other'.

Militarization of local police continues – and you pay for it

The federal government, through programs established within the Pentagon and various agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, are either donating, funding or otherwise providing a sizeable portion of this military-grade gear to local police who are then employing it for use more frequently to carry out routine police duties.

"We want the police to keep up with the latest technology. That's critical," American Civil Liberties Union Senior Counsel Kara Dansky said, reported the Contra Costa Times. "But policing should be about protection, not combat."
Learn more:

“Until the next revolution”, the Poor Man

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The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. The EBV is designed to open the door to business ownership for our veterans by 1) developing your skills in the many steps and activities associated with launching and growing a small business, and by 2) helping you leverage programs and services for veterans and people with disabilities in a way that furthers your entrepreneurial dreams.

The Poor Man has gotten involved with setting up this program through Mott College in MI and in securing donations and business sponsors.



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1 comment:

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