John Roska

John Roska

John Roska: Getting payment after judgment, Part II of II

Q: I sued and won in small claims court, but the other person still won't pay. How can I make them pay?

John Roska: Getting payment after judgment, Part I of II

Q: I sued and won in small-claims court, but the other person still won't pay. How can I make them pay?

A: This requires a two-part answer. This week will cover some basics, and how to get started.

Next week will cover wage and bank garnishments.

John Roska: No right to smoke-free environment when renting

Q: My downstairs neighbors are heavy smokers. Their smoke comes up into my unit, and really bothers me. They ignore my requests to do something. The landlord says there's nothing he can do. Do my neighbors have the right to smoke so much that it causes me problems? Is there any solution to this problem?

John Roska: 'Fair use' is copyright exception

Q: A recent column talked about how to register a copyright. I want to know if it's legal to make a few photocopies of a book or picture that I own. Some copy shops won't make copies of things like maps. Why not?

John Roska: Appearance fees are common but can be waived

Q: I got sued in small-claims court. I went to court and asked for a trial. The judge scheduled one but told me I had to pay an "appearance fee" before that date. If I don't, I lose. Is that right? Why do I have to pay, if I didn't file anything?

John Roska: Change in law allows convictions to be sealed

Q: Years ago I was told I couldn't expunge or seal my felony conviction. Now somebody told me I can, because the law changed. Is that true? Can any felony be expunged or sealed?

A: Yes. The law changed. Before, you couldn't seal much — just misdemeanor convictions and a few felonies. Now, you can seal almost anything.

John Roska: Giving up parental rights

Q: My children's father won't pay support or visit them. He says he'd sign papers to give up his parental rights. Is that possible? Does it just take his signature on some form? Do I need a lawyer?

John Roska: New state law prohibits 'as is' sales of used cars by dealers

Q: I bought a used car that broke down. The dealer won't do anything because it was sold "as is." How can they sell something that doesn't run? How do I get an "as is" sale?

A: Illinois law prohibits "as is" used car sales. Since July 1, you get 15 days or 500 miles before a used car can be "as is."

John Roska: Appeals mean navigating a tricky legal system

Q: How do I appeal a judge's decision? Can I do it without a lawyer?

A: Appeals require filing different paperwork, by different deadlines, in two different courts. You can do it without a lawyer, but you'll have to navigate a tricky system not many lawyers know well.

John Roska: Registering a copyright

Q: I want to know if I need to copyright something. Some people tell me anything I create is automatically copyrighted, and others tell me I have to register my copyright. If I have to register, how do I do it?