Can I declare a mistrial?

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Can I declare a mistrial?

I received a notice for small claims court to appear on a certain date for my case. Myself and another person are being sued for damages done during an auto accident. I hit the other defendant, however I did not hit the plaintiff. My court is scheduled for tomorrow but I received a letter today stating that I was found guilty since I did not show up. I am guessing this was a typo but I feel as if the case is biased since I was found guilty with no right to trial.

Asked on March 28, 2018 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since the paperwork was apparently not properly documented by the court or served on you, so you that were not duly notified of the action and thus due to your failure to appear, you were found at fault by "default".  At this point, you need to file a "motion to vacate" the default and have the matter set back on the trial calendar.  In order to do so, you'll need to show a good reason as to why you missed your appearance date. Further, you'll need to demonstrate that you would have had a good defense as to the merits of the action.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Ok so maybe the paperwork was not properly documented by the court or served.  What I think happened was that you were found at fault by default - meaning you failed to appear.  You need to make a motion to vacate the default and set the matter back on the trial calendar.  You need to show a good reason you missed the appearance and that you would have succeeded with a good defesen on the merits of the action.  Good luck.


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