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In small claims court, if the plaintiff knows what the defendant will likely say, should the plaintiff address these in the initial application? This makes sense to me because usually someone going to court has tried (and failed) to resolve the dispute with the other party.

For example my ex-landlord owes me my damage deposit. He said he won't give it back because a hallway was left messy. I disagree with this because 1) the hall way was shared 2) the landlord never mentioned this during the inspection 3) cleaning the hallway can't possibly be worth the entire damage deposit. Should I bring this up or in my initial application should I just say "landlord hasn't returned my damage deposit".

A lot of what I'd like to submit as evidence is the landlord claiming that I did x so the landlord retailiated by doing y...though I don't necessarily agree (or at least have a different interpretation of) that I did x, if I was to submit the whole email thread as evidence it would sort of be like submitting evidence against me at the same time. Hope that made sense.

Additionally, should evidence be submitted if the claim is not yet being disputed? For example I could include photos of my room being cleaned, but the landlord never claimed that it wasn't.

  • "Should" is legal advice, which is off-topic (and possibly illegal) here. But if you choose to submit the e-mails, you absolutely must submit the whole chain. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Jun 16 at 8:52
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    @TimLymington "you absolutely must submit the whole chain" what makes you say that? Even if some is irrelevant? – dutyanalysing Jun 16 at 9:58
  • Yes, because otherwise nobody can tell whether what you have omitted is relevant; submitting only the messages that help your case is misleading the court. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Jun 16 at 22:05
  • You don't have to submit the entire email chain – A.fm. Jun 24 at 15:35
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should a plaintiff preemptively refute the other sides defense?

If that helps narrowing down or presenting more concisely the scope of your claims, then it is a good idea. This differs from guessing all possible allegations the adversary could present as defense.

if I was to submit the whole email thread as evidence it would sort of be like submitting evidence against me at the same time

In that case, you need to realistically ponder the convenience of submitting it at all. Regardless, nothing prevents the landlord from filing in court the email(s) between you and him. He will surely do so if he reasons that that evidence favors his legal position.

Apropos of your reply, the landlord will protest alleging that your evidence omits material facts, at which point the court will either (1) order you to submit the full string of emails, or (2) make you choose between producing the full string of emails or your entire waiver of that evidence.

should evidence be submitted if the claim is not yet being disputed? For example I could include photos of my room being cleaned, but the landlord never claimed that it wasn't.

That seems pointless and it contributes to obfuscation of matters. If leaving your room clean is undisputed and plays no role in the landlord's failure to reimburse you, mentioning it is not going to earn you any points in court. If anything, submit that evidence to refute the adversary's attempt (if any) to prejudice you with the notion that you failed to deliver your room clean.

  • So if only submitting parts of an email thread could be seen as omitting material facts, what about a large group chat (i.e. Whatsapp) where the vast majority isn't related? If the landlord alleges I omitted something why wouldn't he be responsible for providing the omission (considering he was party to the email/Whatsapp etc.) – dutyanalysing Jun 16 at 16:44
  • @dutyanalysing "why wouldn't he be responsible for providing the omission (considering he was party to the email/Whatsapp etc.)". He can --and very likely will-- do so if, like I said, he reasons that that evidence favors his legal position. Even if he has deleted the emails, he can still obtain persuade the court to order you to supplement the records or to order the email service provider to produce the communications in their entirety. And even if the vast majority is not related, the adversary will most likely pursue the missing portions that he considers relevant. – Iñaki Viggers Jun 16 at 17:01

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