Pro Se Help -- Put a Verification on Everything.
As a pro se party, the cards are totally stacked against you.
You probably don't have a chance in the world of being successful in your litigation, but the more tricks you know, the better your odds will be....
A Verification is a particular statement under oath that makes whatever you file serve as a sworn affidavit. So, even if you are filing a motion, if it is verified, it should also be accepted as a sworn affidavit.
Here is a Microsoft Word file of a verification that I just used. Create one of your own.
I add a Verification to everything for a number of reasons.
1. A verification turns anything that you file into a sworn affidavit, which is evidence that the court has to accept as evidence. In my lawsuits, the opposition has never filed an affidavit or provided any admissible evidence in three years! Since cases are supposed to be decided based upon evidence in the record of the court, I should always win if Im am the only one with evidence (and the cases isn't decided solely as a matter of law). So, I make sure I have evidence in the record! And I start the second I file a complaint before a corrupt judge and crooked opposing counsel have time to do something to stop me.
2. A verified complaint may require a verified response. I always include information in my complaints that I can swear is true based upon my personal knowledge. So, by verifying everything is true and making it a verified complaint, this requires (at least in many state courts) the Defendants to file their answer under oath based upon their personal knowledge. If they lie, you have perjury charges and sanctions right up front. In my cases, the defendants have never filed an answer or anything under oath. They stall, get their judge friends to give them extensions, and file motions to dismiss. Hopefully you will do better since you will not have a target on you as I do. [Note: I thought a verified answer was required to a verified complaint in federal court, but I appear to be wrong. "While the distinction between substantive and procedural can sometimes become blurred, verification of a pleading easily falls into the latter category. And, according to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a), "[e]xcept when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified[.]" Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a). Plaintiff has not pointed to, nor is the court aware of any, federal rule or federal statute mandating verification of answers. Therefore, the court declines to impose that Illinois state law procedural requirement on this federal diversity action. Indeed to do so would run afoul of Erie and its progeny. Consequently, the court DENIES plaintiff's motion to compel defendant to verify its answer." (Harris Technical Sales, Inc. v. Eagle Test Systems, Inc., No. CIV 06-2471-PHX-RCB (D.Ariz. 06/29/2007).] The attorney for your opponent may not know this and may file a verified answer, so I believe this is another reason to always provide a verification.
3. The rules may require a verification. In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, an affidavit is required to support any facts referenced in any motion. In the Fulton County Superior Court, all affidavits must be notarized. Know what the rules/laws are in your state and court. A notary may not be necessary, but it does theoretically make your affidavit stronger if you have a notary.
4. A verification may be the way to circumvent some illegal activities of judges and court clerks. In my cases, the judges enter illegal orders that block me from being able to get anything docketed. BUT, the mere act of delivery to the clerk of the court's office constitutes filing in any federal court and in Georgia. Check your state laws. This article provides an explanation, statutes, and case law citations regarding what constitutes filing. I have never found a case that indicates any judge has any right to block the filing of sworn affidavits as evidence in a case. So, since the verification makes anything that you file (send to the clerk) a sworn affidavit, no judge should be able to block it. If they do, it will be one of your grounds for appeal. You can also file a motion in the appellate court to have anything that was denied to be included in the court record. If your opponents ignore your sworn verification, they will not have anything filed in the court record to offset your affidavit. That, theoretically, could become a big advantage.
5. Better safe than sorry. I always try to do more than I should be required to because I know the deck is totally stacked against me. To have a chance at all, I feel that I need to be thorough, careful, do more than the other guys, and grab any theoretical advantage whenever I can.
I encourage my pro se friends to always add a verification under penalty of perjury to everything. Just be sure everything that you say is true. Add "Upon information and belief" before anything that you do not know based upon your personal knowledge.
Even if you have an attorney, I believe the addition of a verification still has benefits.
Ask your legal counsel.
I am NOT an Attorney -- Thank God!
I am not an attorney. I cannot give legal advice, and I am not giving legal advice. What I can do is provide help for my friends and write a book about self-help for people who do not have attorneys, offering what I have learned as a pro se party. I have been a publisher for most of my business career, so I am preparing a book.
They say "You get what you pay for," and I am not charging anything.
P.S. One of my friends, Pat, says getting things notarized could be very burdensome. Remember that you can do a verification withut a notary unless your state law or rules require a notary. Second, find a cheap and close place for a notary. I get everything notarized for free. There is a county government office just a mile from our home, and the sweet ladies there will notarize anything for free. I organize my stuff so I can take a number of things to be done at once. In addition, in the Fulton County Georgia Courthouse, there is a pro se help desk on the lower level where a notary is only $2. If you use a courier service to file documents, try to find one that has couriers who are notaries.
William M. Windsor
I, William M. Windsor, am not an attorney. This website expresses my OPINIONS. The comments of visitors or guest authors to the website are their opinions and do not therefore reflect my opinions. This website does not provide legal advice. I do not give legal advice. I do not practice law. This website is to expose government corruption, law enforcement corruption, political corruption, and judicial corruption. Whatever this website says about the law is presented in the context of how I or others perceive the applicability of the law to a set of circumstances if I (or some other author) was in the circumstances under the conditions discussed. Despite of my concerns about lawyers in general, I suggest that anyone with legal questions consult an attorney for an answer, particularly after reading anything on this website. The law is a gray area at best. Please read our Legal Notice and Terms.