Giving Way More Than Your Two Cents On The Situation

, , , , | Legal | July 16, 2018

(I work for a civil division small claims court, where you sue people for smallish amounts of money and represent yourself in court. An older man comes in the office and up to the service counter with a wheelbarrow. In the wheelbarrow is a burlap sack full of… something.)

Defendant: *after ranting about the case he was involved in with a neighbour/ex-friend and the judgment rendered against him* “I am here to pay my judgment BUT I am paying it in PENNIES! If [Plaintiff] wants his money, FINE, but he’s going to have to work for it!”

Me: *looking at burlap bag and realizing what’s in it* “Um, I’m sorry sir but we cannot accept that here.” *IN MY HEAD: “Never mind the fact that WE would be the ones ‘working’ for it, not the plaintiff!”

Me: “If you wish to bring them to the plaintiff directly you can see if he will accept them.”

(After grumbling a bit more, the defendant leaves. The judgement was $800 so it would have been 80,000 pennies, weighing around 50 pounds. About 30 minutes later I answer the phone and immediately know who I am talking to:)

Plaintiff: “[Defendant] just showed up at my door with a bag full of pennies! Do I have to accept them?”

Me: “Well, sir, you can refuse it but then you will have to take further proceedings to collect on your judgment, such as a garnishment, which will take time and cost money. Monies paid out for further proceedings are recoverable and added onto the judgment, but seeing as the courts are not a guarantee that you will get your money it might be in your best interests to take the pennies.”

Plaintiff: *lots of swearing and ranting about [Defendant] and the case in general*

(In the end the plaintiff took the pennies and had to roll them all by hand because change sorting/rolling machines had not yet been invented for the casual user. I thought to myself then, and still think now, that if I ever got sued and had a judgment against me, that’s exactly the way I would pay it, too!)

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