A Mesquite mother of seven sued her landlord to stop an eviction that her lawyer said was illegal because she hadn’t been given proper notice.
Chantel Hardaway alleges in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that the court that ordered the eviction against her falsified a court date notice. A Dallas County court on Wednesday granted an emergency temporary restraining order that ended Hardaway’s eviction.
Hardaway’s attorney, Mark Melton, said his client was not given 30 days’ notice to vacate, as required by the CARES Act, and someone from Dallas County Court, Justice of the Peace , Margaret O’Brien, had falsified an official notice of the woman. – set the hearing date after asking to see a copy in the court records.
In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, the judge denied any wrongdoing on the part of her court and said she was prohibited from commenting on ongoing litigation.
However, O’Brien said Hardaway received notice of her in-person court date by “hand delivery” and failed to show up, and “there is no indication of falsified court documents.” .
“My work ethic and my work are excellent,” O’Brien continued in another statement to The news late friday. “Public trust and the integrity of the tribunal have not been compromised. Judges regularly have to deal with people who make all kinds of false, misleading, misinformed, aggressive and inflammatory statements. Today is no different.
On March 30, Hardaway found a quit notice by April 3 on a table in his Mesquite apartment, according to the lawsuit. Hardaway’s initial eviction hearing on June 15 was adjourned at the landlord’s request. The court set the new hearing for July 27 and notified the owner of the new date, but not Hardaway, according to the suit.
Hardaway learned of the missed hearing Aug. 4 when she was given 24 hours’ notice to vacate after the O’Brien court issued an eviction in favor of the landlord, according to the lawsuit. A day later, Hardaway filed a motion to stop the eviction, which O’Brien denied the same day.
Hardaway had a clerk review his eviction file and found no evidence of a court-sent notice. Melton, his attorney, then filed a motion Aug. 5 to vacate the default judgment, saying Hardaway had been denied due process.
According to the lawsuit, a court clerk for O’Brien said the motion would be granted, but later that evening the clerk told Melton that O’Brien “had changed his mind and would not sign the motion.” ‘arrangement”.
Hardaway was told she would be evicted on Tuesday morning. In the lawsuit, Melton states that he received an anonymous call the same day from someone claiming to be married to an O’Brien court clerk. The caller said clerks were “extremely frustrated” with the case, alleging Hardaway’s notice of the new court date was tampered with after his lawyer demanded to see a copy.
Melton inspected Hardaway’s case on Tuesday and found notice of a new court date, according to the suit. The same clerk who helped Hardaway review her file on Aug. 5 told Melton that she “did not recall seeing this page in this file” weeks earlier, according to the suit.
The lawsuit claims that Melton inspected other new notices of hearing issued on the same date and that they did not resemble the one in Hardaway’s filing this week.
A Dallas County court will hear Hardaway’s case on Thursday.