I have taken about 10 months off to work on two projects, one a cloud computing book covering Amazon Web Services and pushed that out as an e-book over on Kindle. I am also working on a compilation of Google Hacks (Google Dorks) that is up to about 10,000 known Google searches for finding cool stuff on the internet. The strange part is that as I wrote my last serious blog entry over on ITToolbox, I pretty much so knew that these two projects along with a work schedule of 80 hours a week would pretty much so consume my time. As I am winding down these two projects and getting ready to turn the Google Dorks over to a very awesome free Google dork recovery tool I was contacted by Toolbox to let me know that I was in the top 10 bloggers for 2012.
The problem then is that I didn’t blog much after April 2012, but I had 120,000 page views anyways.
Most people think of blogging as an ephemeral issue, one where we are responding to the events of the day, but I am finding that what I wrote about Hadoop, Amazon Web Services (some going back to 2008), hacking and hacking culture has retained popularity long past the events that originally spurred the original blog entry.
This is the long tail in action, but what is more surprising is that more people are not talking about Cloud Computing, hacking, and hacking culture.
How durable is your blogging?
Are you saying things and writing things that people will want to see for a good long time? Long past the original issues, ideas, and thoughts that cropped up and you were writing about?
Something to think about as you pound out those blog entries, how durable will it be? Are you going after the now, or are you writing for the decade?
But I am also getting back into blogging; I plan on serializing my cloud computing book once the videos are done for it, and talking about Google Hacking, risk, hacking and hacking culture just a little bit more than I have been lately.
I got an interesting comment from a person named Sam who visited from the K20 network in Everett about small claims court. He stated:
Believe me when I say this story is not made up.
Personally I think you are a troll, but you raise a good point that is worth discussing. Any good discussion often leads to interesting ideas and processes down the road. So even though I think Sam is a troll, this one is worthy and will help me work out the process I am thinking of doing. This is why I think I can win in small claims court over the phrase in the HOA Rules and Regulations Document, Quiet enjoyment of my home.
Let’s take this from the top, which is the rules and regulations for Small Claims Court off the King County Web site. Please feel free to click on over there and see what they state you can and cannot do.
Who Can Sue And Be Sued?
Anyone can be sued for any reason; there are two things I would be suing over, one the noise from her car radio at 1 or 2 AM which violates King County noise ordinances, the damage to the common property such as damage to the walls, the art work, and trash around the building (the HOA should do this but they won’t, they prefer to fine her every month for this). I am debating to sue over the smell of cigarette smoke up and down the entire floor of the condo building which I happen to share with the person I am planning on suing. I would be using the argument over “quiet enjoyment of my property” and using the process of trash, destruction of common area property, smells, and noise ordinances. I might only be able to get the noise ordinance to be the effective tool for this lawsuit.
At the very least I can get a no-contact order for the noise issues based on what I am reading on the King County web site for no-contact orders. Either would suit me just fine, we will be doing the no-contact order regardless of what happens in small claims court. This is specific to Washington State and other local jurisdictions will differ. But I think I have two plausible arguments here, assuming that I am going to have a judge similar to Judge Judy on this one, and that is how I am framing this in my mind.
How Much Does It Cost?
Cost is not really an issue, I can do all this for around 200 dollars between court costs, process serving, and other fees between getting this case registered and processed.
How Do I Get Started?
I am planning on going down to the court house; I will need according to them the following: It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to accurately identify the defendant, provide a proper address and, if possible, provide a phone number. All of this is public record, as she has an extensive series of records in King County. Since I live in the same condo complex, the address is not a problem.
Serving the Notice
I will have the local police department serve the notice.
How Long Do I Have To File My Case?
I have a year from the time of the first incident, since this is ongoing and I have a detailed log going back to August, and this is an ongoing issue, I think that if I file this month I will meet this criteria.
What If We Settle?
That would be awesome, as it is still a determination, although I don’t think we will settle, this is always an option, and one I would not mind pursuing. I really don’t care what the person does as long as it is not in the parking lot right next to my window at 1 or 2 AM.
Preparing For The Trial
The King County web site states:
You can help yourself by being well prepared. To prepare for the trial, collect all papers, photographs, receipts, estimates, canceled checks, or other documents that concern the case. It may be helpful to write down ahead of time the facts of the case in the order that they occurred. This will help you to organize your thoughts and to make a clear presentation of your story to the judge. It is also a good idea to sit through a small claims court session before the date of your hearing. This will give you first-hand information about the way small claim cases are heard.
I have a detailed log of everything that has happened since August that shows a pattern of behavior I am seeking to not have happen. I have records from the HOA about fines for the same behavior; I have pictures of the aftermath of said behavior, and other information to aide my case of “quiet enjoyment of my property”. Really this all hinges on what is “quiet enjoyment of my property” and I will be relying on the R&R’s from the Condo, and ordinances from King County for noise. There is actually a specific ordinance on car radios which I was surprised to find. If the “quiet enjoyment of my property” argument fails then small claims fails. This does not mean that I can’t get the no-contact order, that is a separate argument that falls more under the noise ordinances and some verbal issues that have happened in the past.
What Happens At The Trial?
I am planning on Judge Judy, I need all my data to be fair and honest and factual. So far I have that.
What If My Opponent Does Not Appear For Trial?
Then I win by default and will give the person an opportunity to pay, if not I can send this off to bill collection.
How Do I Collect My Money?
The King County site states: A money judgment in your favor does not necessarily mean that the money will be paid. The Small Claims Court does not collect the judgment for you. If no appeal is taken and the judgment is not paid within 30 days, or the time set by the court in the payment plan, you may request (in writing) and upon payment of a $20 fee, that a transcript of the judgment be entered into the civil docket of the court. At that time you may proceed with a method of collection such as garnishment of wages, bank accounts, and other monies of the defendant or an execution may be issued on cars, boats, or other personal property of the judgment debtor. Remember, the clerks cannot give you legal advice. You may need the assistance of an attorney or collection agency at this point. In the alternative, you may take your transcript of the judgment and file it in superior court for a fee of $20. Other fees may be required by the superior court clerk or county auditor. When this is done, it places a lien against all real estate in the name of the judgment debtor that is located in the county. When the judgment has been paid in full you must send written notice to the district court that the judgment has been satisfied.
Can You Appeal A Case If You Lose?
If I lose, I am not worried about it, at least I made an attempt. Personally if I lose I’ll sell the property, take out a signature loan for the remainder of the balance owed, and quit the property. While I would like the issues to stop, the ultimate and last thing I can do is simply leave, and that is on the table as an option. Since it does not look like I will be able to rent it based on what other people who live on the same side as I do because of the smell, trash, and noise, I’ll probably just short sale it and call it good. It is more important for me to be happy and healthy in my own home than it is to keep living in a place that is unhealthy for me to live in.
Thanks Sam, and even though I think you are a troll, you seem like a nice troll, and well worth having the discussion with.
It has been six months now since my neighbor went off her meds and started acting out against the voices in her head. Since then it has been an unmitigated reign of terror in the condo complex that I live in, and I want to move. But I can’t move because my condo is 120K under water and if I short sale this bad boy my credit rating will be ruined for seven years. I have talked to the police, the crisis and commitment people here in the county, the condo board has fined her thousands of dollars in damage and cigarette smoke smell in the hallway (trust me when you smoke and you gag on the smell of smoke it is horrible). I have seen real estate agents walk into the lobby and walk right back out again because of the smell. It is getting so you can’t sell the units in the condo because she lives off the lobby, and when you hear screaming and yelling or smell cigarette smoke people will and do walk away from the unit forever. I have seen people who cannot rent their condo units because of the smoke smell, the burns in the carpet from her dropping her cigarettes everywhere, the horrible sounds coming out of her apartment, the yelling, the screaming, and the 1 or 2 AM screaming and music and revving her engine in the parking circle. The screaming that she is “blind” can you help me as she gets into her car and drives off over the grass embankment.
My beautiful house has become a trap, a hell hole, a stinky filthy screaming hot mess of trash strewn about the hall way and near the garbage dumpsters. The stench of urine and cigarette smoke reminds me of some of the more horrible living situations that I have had occasion to visit. My beautiful home that I spent a lot of money on has become a tenement, the dark blot on the neighborhood, the place where no one goes because of the crazy lady who lives there.
I feel like I have to escort my family members in and out of the building because I am worried what will happen if they run into her unprotected and unguided.
I don’t have friends over anymore.
I have called the police, they can’t do anything until she actually breaks a law, being a nuisance, noise ordinances, she can destroy her own stuff, and she can throw trash in the hallway or around the garbage dumpsters. None of that is breaking the law, even if it is annoying that someone else has to clean up after the disasters she creates. The Police have been putting up with this for 20 years according to the local court records, and can’t do anything about it until she breaks a local law. It is getting dull calling the police to come ask her to be quiet, because they really do have other things to do than deal with a 50 year old mentally ill woman.
I have called crisis and commitment here in the county, and they can’t do anything until she is a true danger to herself and others. Even if she hits herself so hard she is giving herself bruises, even though I have seen her hit herself so hard she nearly knocks the glasses off her face she is still not a danger to herself and others. Even though we have heard the horrible screaming and banging and clanging out of her apartment all the way down the hallway on a weekly basis. Even though we have seen the broken pottery, the broken glass from her fire place and something else where the glass is ¼ inch think. Even though we have documented burn marks in the hallway carpet from her careless cigarette smoking (it was her own door mat, she is allowed to destroy her own property). Even though we have seen her throw messages on her door that she is blind, deaf, horrible, and using racial epithets. Even though we have seen her and called the police over her asking children as young as 11 if they want to “do her up the ass”. Even though we have seen her grabbing her tits screaming about anal sex in the parking circle, she is not a danger to herself or others.
I have talked to our Home Owners Association board, and they have fined her thousands of dollars for the damage to the condo common property, they can’t do anything either. All they can do is fine her for her behavior.
I have tried talking to her, but like most mentally ill people, it is in one ear and out the other. She simply does not get the disruption she is causing to the condo unit. She is responding to internal voices in her head, those horrible self-destructive voices that surround her daily, and not telling her to do anything other than damage herself.
Almost every day there is some new thing, mostly trash in the hallway, but on those every two weeks or every week when she is out in the parking circle making noise at 1 or 2 AM she is very quick about it. She at some level knows that this is a game, she is quick and stealthy. She excels at coming out of nowhere with radio blaring for 10 minutes, and then zooming off again. It is a disruptive game, and there is no one left on this side of building near the parking circle other than us, two Asian families, and one other family. Out of the 12 units on this side of the building, only four are occupied full time. That is eight empty units, that can’t be rented, can’t be used, can’t be lived in, can’t be sold, and are basically a drag on the neighborhood because they are empty. We lose what could be good neighbors, we lose the sense of community, we lose the sense of a beautiful home because of the disruption that one person has caused to the condo unit I live in.
There is no recourse
There is nothing I can do
The police can’t do anything because she is not breaking a law other than noise ordinances. And I agree, they do have better things to do with their time.
Crisis and Commitment can’t do anything until she is a demonstrable consistent danger to herself or others. That means she had to hurt herself so badly she has to go to the hospital, or hurt someone else so badly that they have to go to the hospital.
The HOA Board can’t do anything other than fine for trashing the common area on a regular basis.
People are getting tired of talking to me because I really just want this to stop, just stop, I want to sleep through the night, and I want my nice quiet clean beautiful house back. The Police are getting tired of me calling on the non-emergency number to report the noise complaint because she comes and goes so fast that they can never catch her in the act. Crisis and Commitment is tired of me calling because she is not really a danger to herself or others on a regular basis. She has not hurt herself or anyone else other than the punching herself in the face or asking people about anal sex. The HOA is tired of me sending pictures nearly every day about the trash and the smell and the living conditions because all they can do is fine her. As long as she can keep on cutting 1000 or 2000 dollar checks to the HOA in fines every month, they are just fine with what she is doing. At this point I am making a right royal nuisance of myself, and starting to look like I have a vendetta or I am the crazy one. So I need to stop, stop calling, stop cleaning up after her in the common area, stop complaining about the smell of urine and smoke, stop annoying the police and crisis and commitment. But I really believe that at some point she is going to hurt herself or others, or burns this place to the ground.
I really just want this to stop, and I can’t move, and I can’t sleep, and I can’t stop her, and I can’t get her help, and I can’t get anyone involved, and it will stay this way until she hurts herself so bad she goes to the hospital, hurts someone else so bad that they end up in the hospital, or burns the condo unit to the ground because of careless cigarette smoking and disposal.
Realistically I am still stuck, stuck in a hell not of my own creation with a mentally ill neighbor who has gone off their medications. There are no resources I can use, people are tired of me calling and complaining, and I am starting to look like I am harassing her because I want to sleep through the night, not have to deal with the stench of cigarettes and trash and filth spread through the hallway. I live in an upscale expensive neighborhood that is slowly turning into a tenement.
If anyone has any experience dealing with the mentally ill, please feel free to comment on this article. I am at a loss, there are no resources, there is no recourse, she is functioning enough to evade the courts and the police and crisis and commitment. She knows the game too well, and I am a new player on the board with limited resources and limited ability to understand the rules.
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