ELI5: Why can't all these people being sued by corporations in civil court just ignore the lawsuit? (recent example: the cheaper plane tickets guy)

I have sued in small claims court. Basically I had a piece of paper that said some loser owed me money. Worthless. However, I also sued a property management company for fuckery, and they didn't show up, and I won.

It's called a default judgment.

Even if you win, technically, the other party can come back and appeal it. ("He actually showed up in court and we lost?")

I waited for 6 months before starting to collect from the management company. After six months they could still appeal, but no judge would accept the appeal. "You didn't show up to my court for your trial, and then you pissed around for six months and now you want to appeal?" That won't go over well with the judge.

So when I originally won, I asked for interest also. I was able to place a lien against the management company's property I used to rent. That meant, if they ever tried to sell it, they'd have to pay the lien, which was accruing interest. After several years, the apartments went condo. The management company had to pay me, plus interest, for everything. Yeah, I was an asshole, but they were an asshole first.

The big corporations can do this, but they have armies of lawyers who will show up in court. And if the person they are suing doesn't appear in court, then they will file liens. They have the time and money and manpower to find every piece of property and income you have, and they'd get their price, plus lawyers fees, plus interest, and whatever other stuff they could get.

If you appealed the case, well, then you're still out-lawyer'd. If you file bankruptcy, they will be there to make sure the debt you owe them doesn't get discharged. That means at the very least, you'll be signing your startup over to them, with a legally binding guarantee that you don't try it again, as a condition of the bankruptcy.

TL;DR - whoever has the biggest lawyer wins.

/r/explainlikeimfive Thread