Question For The GT Lawyers Re: Small Claims Court

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by doubletap1, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. doubletap1

    doubletap1

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    A contractor working on my neighbor's house backed his truck into my garage wall. He was really sorry, told me he'd take care of the damage, then nothing. I've sued him for the $1,000 it cost me to fix it, but have not had any joy serving him (this is AZ). It's been about six months now. A certified letter showed up in the mail today from him. It's a personal check for $200 with a letter that says something to the effect that this is a "Unilateral Contract for settlement of court case #XXXXXXX" and "...cashing of this check constitutes settlement of damages." The check says "Court case #XXXXXX Paid In Full." I can tell he wrote the "contract" himself- it's pretty amateurish, but poses an interesting question. Do I cash the check and just be glad I got something out of him, or keep pressing for the rest? And, if I do cash the check, does that mean I can't get the rest of what he owes me?

    TIA :cool:
     
  2. Lyptix

    Lyptix NRA MEMBER

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    I am not a lawyer and don't claim to be...

    However pick one or the other.

    Cash the check and take his $200

    or

    Sue him for the $1000 and DO NOT cash his check
     

  3. Hef

    Hef Stop Obammunism

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    Keep the check but don't cash it. Pursue through the courts, and keep the check as evidence. Get your money.


    EDIT: I would also explain the situation to the Homebuilders Association, state licensing authority, and the BBB. Someone is bound to help you.
     
  4. Tx-G30

    Tx-G30

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    hmm... take the $200 or spend $2,000 on a lawyer for $1,000 worth of damages...
     
  5. Lyptix

    Lyptix NRA MEMBER

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    He doesn't need a lawyer for small claims...
     
  6. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

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    I would say if you cash the check you're done with him.
     
  7. Ersatz

    Ersatz

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    Depends on what your time is worth. If it's worth $800 to drag it out for longer, by all means do so, but keep the check, don't cash it. At best, I'd wager that at the end of the day you'll end up with a judgement and remain a long way from collecting. You're likely one of many that this guy is stringing along behind himself like a kite.
     
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday CLM

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    I'm heading off to Small Claims Court myself in another month to collect from someone who 'promised they would pay' (I have them saying this on a digital voice recorder, so it's a slam dunk for me and I am going to rip them in half in court).

    Me, I would not cash that check. You say it's been six months, so I'm assumng that you've already gone to court and gotten a judgment but he hasn't paid. You need to go BACK to the court, let them know he hasn't paid the judgment and file for a writ of garnishment on his wages or bank account (info on the check he sent you).
     
  9. doubletap1

    doubletap1

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    No, I don't have a judgement. I can't get him served to come to court. In AZ, he has to be served personally, and the service I hired can't get it done. I don't have anything on him....:steamed:
     
  10. geronimo509

    geronimo509

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    First, to take the 200 offer on a 1000 dollar item is like going on the show Pawn Stars(just read that thread) and accepting 200 on a thousand dollar gun you are trying to sell.

    Second, if he counterfeited a letter from the court, he should get in trouble. However, if it was just a contract that he made and you cash the check you will lose in small claims court!

    +1 to report him to the BBB or something to that effect.

    TAKE HIM TO COURT!
     
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday CLM

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    Yea, that's a problem. No address on the check or envelope he sent you? If you had his license plate you could go to the MVD and get an address, maybe call him up and have him come over to 'inspect the damage' on the garage, then get his license plate?

    Check to see if his business is registered with the AZ Sec of State here:

    http://www.azsos.gov/scripts/TNT_Search_engine.dll
     
  12. doubletap1

    doubletap1

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    This is what I really want to know. Is this "Unilateral Contract" and the "Paid in Full" on the check going to save him from paying me the rest *if* I cash the check? Geronimo says yes (thank you, BTW!). Anyone ever seen anything like this before? :dunno:
     
  13. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Not Enough Gun

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    If he's a contractor who does residential work, can't you just get a friend to call him up and ask for a bid on a job, then get him served while he's meeting with them?
     
  14. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday CLM

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    Yes, cashing that check means you've just agreed to settle everything for $200.
     
  15. doubletap1

    doubletap1

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  16. doubletap1

    doubletap1

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    Not a bad idea!
     
  17. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday CLM

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    + Lost wages for the time off work you've had to take chasing all this down.
    + Court costs.
    + Cost of the Process Server.
    + Mailing costs.
    + Mileage back and forth to Court, two round trips (one to file, one to appear, at the IRS mileage allowance)
     
  18. Eyescream

    Eyescream hates you

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    Which is 50¢ per mile in 2010. :supergrin:
     
  19. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday CLM

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    That's alright. I am driving from Phoenix to Bullhead City for my Small Claims appearance, round trip that's almost an extra $300.00 I am gonna get.
     
  20. Bado

    Bado

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    Sounds like you need these guys.

    [​IMG]