who's on judge mathis today? #80

a books/snacks/softcore daily mini letter

plaintiff: tina from davenport, iowa. tina is wearing a bright magenta short sleeved button down that’s fitted but has, i don’t know, darts in the bust? it’s a very specific kind of shirt that, if you saw it, you’d be like “yeah once upon a time i had one of those!” it has a collar but the buttons don’t start until you get to the boobs so the neck is always open? i like to call a shirt like this “forced business casual.” like, it’s nice enough to wear to a board meeting (LOL A WHAT) but if you had to go to a school play afterward you wouldn’t look too out of place? anyway that’s stupid but she looks nice. but not too nice.

defendant: daniel from buffalo, iowa. daniel is wearing a charcoal grey suit with a royal blue dress shirt and a patterned blue tie, and he looks like an off-duty MMA fighter. does that make sense? i don’t know how else to describe him but i bet you immediately knew what he looks like!

the complaint: tina rented a house to daniel and is suing him for rent and late fees.

what does she want: $1400. daniel is countersuing for $500 for property damage.

how it went down: tina says she and daniel went to high school together but lost touch soon after. years later daniel found out through some mutual friends that she had a house to rent, and although she had some concerns about his past she decided to rent to him anyway. tina says she’d heard that daniel had had some drug and alcohol issues before they reconnected and she confronted him about it, and he was honest with her so she felt comfortable renting to him. they agreed that he would pay $600 on the first of every month and that if he was late there would be a $50 late fee.

that’s right, you city slickers: $600 a month FOR AN ENTIRE FUCKING HOUSE. if he owned it a mortgage would be even cheaper. every time some wiseguy asks me why i moved to michigan i’m just gonna fax them (you can still fax people, right?) the zillow listing for every house in our neighborhood and keep it moving. anyway, you can get a whole house in rural kansas for what it costs to get a large pizza in new york.

the judge asks how daniel was as a tenant as tina flips through her accordion of truth™ to find their rental agreement, and she says he was very good. she says that there was good communication between them, except for the time she heard from someone else that there had been a domestic dispute (yikes) at the house. tina said she gave daniel the benefit of the doubt after that incident; she knew he was trying to better himself and saw it as a good sign that he’d started taking anger management classes, and she felt bad for him but he still owes her that money. just gonna interject that unless this information has a bearing on the money he owes her, little miss muffet bringing that up to make him look bad is kinda foul, especially without clarifying what happened.

daniel begins by saying he did have a drug and alcohol problem, but he’s been in recovery for almost a year. he’s been unemployed recently because of weather issues (he’s an independent contractor for a utility company) and says tina has been nothing but patient with him and good to him. daniel says that the rent didn’t become a problem until this last year when he went through a breakup and spent more time at the bar than at work. then he admits that he does owe the money but just has an inability to pay because he’s not working and greg commends him for being honest. everyone applauds him! this is nice!

the ruling: the counterclaim for personal property damage is because every time it rained daniel’s garage and basement would get “massively flooded.” the entire time he lived there. for five years. uh oh the regional president of the PTA is a slumlord??? less “irrelevant anger management class” and more “reckless longterm landlord neglect,” please! daniel has brought both photographic and video evidence to court today, and it’s hard to make it out at first (can stephen spielberg do a masterclass for how to shoot an evidence video on a cell phone????) but the second time it plays you can see a whole river of mud just rushing past this dude’s car.

the judge asks how tina has responded to it and daniel said she promised to repair [whatever architectural issue is causing the flooding], that she told him had to take the neighbor who was actually causing the problem due to his yard excavation (please murder me, house stuff is so boring and i don’t understand any of it) to court. tina says she went to court but she did not win as much as she thought she would win, so it hasn’t all been fixed yet. tina also claims that daniel knew that the basement and the garage were “damp” and they were “just for storage.” i mean, i’m not bob vila or whatever but isn’t storage what you generally use a basement and a garage for? is she saying he shouldn’t get damages because he was trying to live down there and kept waking up to his bed adrift on a current of yard sludge??

greg has got tina in his trap now. as he looks over the pictures of all of his ruined shit he asks her if she’d ever cut daniel a break on the rent since there were large parts of the property he couldn’t use and she says no she didn’t. daniel gets his $500 judgment for his property, tina gets her $1400 less the $500, and the two of them have a very amicable conversation in the hallway afterward as doyle looks on, smiling.

did uncle greg say anything fucked up to anyone: “you told him, when he moved in, for five straight years ‘if it rains, watch out, get a boat?’ ma’am???”

*bangs gavel*

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