IT’S NOT ABOUT MONEY IT’S ABOUT JUSTICE Pro Bono Cases Still Need Passionate Representation
the house for quite some time, a lawsuit stemming from a $200 outstanding balance was served. My client scratched her head because she never received any bills. Now, any reasonable person would probably just think to pay the $200 and move on. Well, we were not dealing with reasonable people. HOAs in Arizona have the power to foreclose on your house if you don’t pay your dues, so this became a serious matter very quickly. The opposing legal team came out of the gate asking for $8,000. That was for just two missed payments. They cited attorney fees and other costs associated to jack up the price. We tried to be overly reasonable. At one point, we even offered around $2,500 to clear the whole thing up. Again, this is for $200 in missed HOA dues. But rather than pursuing the peaceful route, the other party kept pushing to the point where a trial was needed. Except now, the opposition was asking for $65,000!
2. All 11 of those bills got returned to sender, and no one thought to just knock on my client’s door. When we put the 85-year-old HOA president on the stand, he had no idea what was going on or that this was even an issue. This is because property management companies and HOA law firms handle all past due assessment and fine issues. This case became a personal vendetta for me. It was a clear example of someone trying to use the legal system to exploit innocent people. The defendants took advantage of the situation and attempted to extort my friend of her hard-earned money. When it came down to its conclusion, the jury quickly awarded in our favor. Some of them spoke with me afterward and said it was the most ridiculous case they had ever heard. I spent over $35,000 in attorney time and three years of my life fighting this case, and I wouldn’t take a minute of it back. Our entire team at Alex and Saavedra shares this same ethical approach. It’s a huge reason why I love being a part of our boutique firm, and it’s also why you’ll love working with us. –Trysta Puntenney “We are sincere about helping people who really need it.” 3.
One of the primary reasons I got into law was to help people. That may sound cliche, but it’s true. In many firms, taking on pro bono cases is deemed a waste of time and resources. Thousands of hours are spent investing in a case, and when it’s all said and done, you don’t get paid. But for me, it’s not about getting paid. It’s about being an instrument of justice against everyone taking advantage of our legal system. I was working a couple of pro bono cases when I was looking at joining Alex and Saavedra. Unsure of how they would react, I brought this up with them, and they didn’t bat an eye. As a matter of fact, they started making any resources I needed immediately available. This approach is why I agreed to join our firm, and it’s why I haven’t looked back since. We are sincere about helping people who really need it. One of the wildest pro bono cases I worked on was against a homeowners association (HOA) a few years back. A friend of mine had recently closed on a house in a subdivision that had pretty marginal dues — $100 a quarter. When she bought the house, the first two quarters were lumped in with her closing costs. After living in
A few significant occurrences played into how the prosecution unfolded:
The HOA had been sending bills to my client’s old address. Yes, the HOA for the neighborhood was sending bills to a house that wasn’t in the confines of the community.
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