In Gwen Smith Strikes Back at Former Sonoma County Landlord Connie Cook, I reported to you that Gwen Smith was appealing the $49,635.96 judgment against her and in favor of Connie Cook. I also told you that since Gwen failed to procure the record on appeal within the statutory time period her appeal was dismissed. Well, Gwen has more lives than a cat. On March 8, the First District Court of Appeals vacated its order dismissing Gwen's appeal. Gwen filed a motion with the appellate court claiming ignorance on her part and incompetence of the Sonoma County Superior Court.
Ignorance? Gwen has filed five appeals and/or writs with the First District Court of Appeals alone. Further, Gwen describes herself as the "unlawyer" bragging about her years of legal experience on a Craig's List advertisement.
So now that her appeal is reinstated, Connie Cook must relive her nightmare and be revictimized by her former tenant who purports to hold a law degree and master's degree. After the trial court ruled against her back in November 2010, Gwen told me in the hallway of the Sonoma County Superior Court, not to underestimate her resilience. She is making good on her statement, which is no real surprise to me. So now, Connie Cook is, once again, trapped in another legal battle with Gwen Smith that could last over 12 months, just in case losing her home and almost all of her entire retirement income was not enough.
It is worth noting, that while this appeal is being litigated, Gwen's appeal of the judgment against her and in favor of her other former Sonoma County landlord Barbara Wilt is still pending as well as Gwen's two legal suits against her two former landlords in Oregon.
Many landlords come into my office and tell me they don't think paying for tenant screening is worth it. Well, ask Connie Cook, Barbara Wilt, or Lance Hilt if they think screening a tenant is important.
There are many companies that provide tenant screening services and these services are not expensive. Especially if you consider that a simple tenant screening can avoid years of litigation. However, before any landlord screens a tenant, they should be aware of the new regulations concerning screening tenants that will be effective later this year.
The Law Offices of James V. Sansone is located in Santa Rosa, California and serves landlords and tenants throughout Sonoma County, Mendocino County, and Lake County, including Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, and Kelseyville.