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California Contracts Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: Can I seek damages via small claims court from someone selling a vehicle who is taking bids after we agreed on a price?

I'm negotiating with a private party selling a used vehicle, and we agreed on a price via text message. It's a week later, and now they say they have a higher bid and are asking me to counter offer. Can I seek damages via small claims court for any price I pay over the original agreed-upon price?

James R. Dickinson
James R. Dickinson
answered on Sep 28, 2022

It would depend on, among other things, whether a legally-binding agreement was formed by the text messages. More information is needed, so speak with local attorney. [I litigate cases. Anything posted here must not be construed as legal advice, nor as grounds for forming an attorney-client... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: Can I sell a car that will not pass smog as scrap or junk in California?
James R. Dickinson
James R. Dickinson
answered on Sep 27, 2022

More information is needed to address your specific question. As a point of general information, I believe planned non-operative vehicles cannot be driven or parked on public streets [posing issues for those who may want to test drive the vehicle], but I believe they can be sold. To get advice... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Business Law and Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Advice to sue Production company used our space without location release, caused criminal damage and harm to reputation
James R. Dickinson
James R. Dickinson
answered on Sep 27, 2022

More information is needed, but you could have a good case against the "production company." Speak with a local attorney regarding your options. [I litigate cases. Anything posted here must not be construed as legal advice, nor as grounds for forming an attorney-client relationship. You... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation and Contracts for California on
Q: Neptune Society had cremated my Dad - then an employee changed my Moms contract as to who had rights to disposition

Mom paid Neptune $2400 to cremate my Dad. I took her to their office, she signed paperwork where SHE was the surviving spouse who had rights to his cremated remains - my younger sister was asked by Mom to go to Neptune and "pick out " an urn for Dad. When she did this, she also had the... Read more »

Dan Rowan Cortright
Dan Rowan Cortright
answered on Sep 21, 2022

It sounds like there was some fraud committed in the changing of the disposition agreement. You have legal rights when someone commits fraud in such a situation. I agree that you should consult an attorney for a consultation as to what your legal rights/remedies are.

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Dear sir or Madam, I had three months left on my lease and then I sublet my apartment without telling the office.

I unknowingly breached the contract. The new tenants paid the three months, but due to Covid they managed to stay 2 years after the lease without paying. We then went to court. The judge ruled in their favor. Now, the apartment is asking me to cover the rent owed. I am not able to pay it. The... Read more »

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich
answered on Sep 20, 2022

It sounds like you are going to need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to see if you qualify to file chapter 7 bankruptcy and wipe out the debt.

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: As I am a full time student I found a home owner that asked me to paint his stucco, so he won't pay me. The remaining.

He paid me $3,000. Balance $1,500.

Plus he owes me $3,850 for other painting inside the house. I am not license. He harrassess me every day for two months. He wants all his money. What can I do.

Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
answered on Sep 20, 2022

File a small claims court action right away ... if you need any guidance, feel free to reach out to a few attorneys for that free initial consultation ...

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Divorce and Family Law for California on
Q: Is a signed handwritten contract between spouses legally binding.

My husband an I write out a contract stating that if one of us cheated then the cheater has to give the other spouse all assets, property and 1 million dallors, we both know what it says and agreed to the terms and conditions and both put our signature on it, will this hold up in court?

James R. Dickinson
James R. Dickinson
answered on Sep 18, 2022

I'd need to know more, but likely not. What a strange thing to do- you should marry someone you trust. [I litigate cases. Anything posted here must not be construed as legal advice, nor as grounds for forming an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for formal legal advice... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Contracts for California on
Q: Can a tow yard keep my leined car and remove parts or stereo equipment? ?

The car was impounded despite having a moving permit insurance and a failed smog certificate, the tow yard insisted that I could not remove aftermarket stereo that I personally installed which is detachable and not mounted to the vehicle and offered to sell back to me. They removed it. The tow... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 17, 2022

Likely not. Towing laws are fairly strict and you should have the right to get your personal items out of the vehicle, including aftermarket items.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Divorce for California on
Q: I have a question about my rights to keep a ring given to me by my ex-fiance who broke off the engagement.

We both live in Glendale, CA. He proposed to me twice, I have two wedding dresses, and he had no intentions of marrying me (as he relayed to our therapist). We lived as a married couple - bought and sold property and had a joint account. He currently has my family (estate) jewelry that I gave... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 12, 2022

Most courts consider an engagement ring as a conditional gift. The gift lapses and reverts back to its original owner if the condition (i.e., the marriage) does not happen.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Breaking lease

I signed a lease for 15 months. The lease termination agreement read if I break lease due to reasons such as out of state job offer I need to pay 1 months rent as penalty. We are breaking the lease in 2 months because we bought a house. We gave the landlord 1 months notice. The landlord asked me to... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 10, 2022

You should be able to get a recovery for the security deposit that was unlawfully withheld. A simple letter from an attorney sometimes works. If that doesn't work, a small claims lawsuit can give you a chance to get your deposit back. You may contact me if you have any further questions.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Business Law and Business Formation for California on
Q: I'm starting 1099 consultant biz. Do most consultants charge travel time from my office to their office for auditing?
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
answered on Sep 6, 2022

The answer you seek will have to come from studying industry standards for the kind of consulting you will be doing. As an IC you have the right to charge whatever you wish, and in many industries, contractors charge for travel to and from worksites.

Good luck to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Contracts for California on
Q: I am a 1099 consulting contractor. Is it proper to add a surcharge or "handling" fee to any travel expenses I pay for?

On the other hand, would you just invoice a customer and give them the receipts to the penny for reimbursement?

To be ethnical (if able to charge the fee) would a 1099 biz- would I just total an amount including the surcharge and ask for reimburse i.e. Portland office visit $1,500 OR would... Read more »

Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
answered on Sep 6, 2022

A couple of initial questions ... [1] how have you addressed this question in your written agreement for services? [2] How have you thought about your customer relationship services in noting exactly what you do and the associated charges? Feel free to reach out to several attorneys to schedule... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Consumer Law, Contracts and Copyright for California on
Q: hey I have this assignment for a criminal law philosophy class I'm taking, I need help brainstorming

I can think of a few laws that fall under this idea, but none that are intriguing enough to write a paper about. Any ideas of a law that we regularly abide by even though it doesn't directly align with personal values?

"We have respect for the law, as an institution, even though... Read more »

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Sep 2, 2022

Not sure this meets your "regularly abide by" criterion, but, I practiced in Oklahoma City for 15 years, and there was a criminal law on the books sanctioning the "Abominable Crime Against Nature" (originally passed, it is surmised, to outlaw anything that gay people might do... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Is there a contract I can create that removes my financial responsibility for repayment agreement that a co-signer owes?

I was a “roommate” co-signer on an apartment with a couple who weren’t able to qualify in their own. I have not lived at the apartment and was never given a pair of keys to the premises. 4+ years later the couple has not been able to pay rent and the property management is considering... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Aug 30, 2022

You are likely on the hook; however, if you can show that the current agreement amongst the landlord and the tenants is a new one (and one that you are not involved in), you may be able to claim that there was a contract novation.

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Contracts and Collections for California on
Q: My brother defaulted in response to my lawsuit and now is trying to settle or claim bankruptcy can he do this to me

I am suing my brother for defaulting on a loan repayment for which I had a contract with him for purposes of payment by him he has a monthly check to which I am entitled to half and he has been spending it instead of using it to repay me so I sued him and he never responded which put him in default... Read more »

Joel Gary Selik
Joel Gary Selik
answered on Aug 18, 2022

Yes he can do this.

If he files bankruptcy you might lose all the money.

But, people often claim they will file bankruptcy to negotiate a debt, but actually will not file bankruptcy or do not even qualify for bankruptcy.

Contact an experienced debt collection attorney who...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: Can there be intentional misrepresentation post-contract signature where false representations induced me to then amend?

Contract was signed, then contractor sent change orders to alter OG contract. I signed them due to the misrepresentations of the contractor. Can I assert a cause of action for intentional misrepresentation where the contractor intentionally made misrepresentations to me to get me sign the change... Read more »

Adam T. Carralejo
Adam T. Carralejo
answered on Aug 14, 2022

Absolutely. You are exactly right.

Change orders are one of the most likely areas for abuse by contractors because with the project already in progress, the owner has less leverage to deny the change order.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: What is best contract for 3 owners purchasing home in California a married couple and single person

Mortgage contract

Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
Shawn R. Jackson Esq.
answered on Aug 10, 2022

One of the best "structures" to purchasing a home would be an LLC ... with a well drafted LLC Operating Agreement that spells out the details of ownership, possession, management ... and the many "what its" that can occur in life and in such arrangements. I would suggest that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: I signed a contract in the beginning of the year for my daughters dance team. Can the coach change the pricing mid year?

There was never an updated contract presented with changes. He states he verbally told parents in a meeting that I didn’t attend.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Aug 6, 2022

Probably not. Most contracts that have a fixed term cannot increase unilaterally (by one party acting alone). There must be a modification to that contract signed by both parties.

That being said, if the contract was for a term of less than one year, or if it contained a provision allowing...
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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: If I was my grandmothers beneficiary and she had purchased 4 cemetery plots with only one remaining can I sell it
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Aug 6, 2022

It depends on what the estate planning instrument says. If it is a Will or a Trust and it specifically states that the cemetery plots are to be used for a certain purpose, the answer would be no, since you (or the administrator/trustee) would have to abide by the terms of that estate planning... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for California on
Q: I signed a contract in the beginning of the year for my daughters dance team. Can the coach change the pricing mid year?

There has been no updated contract presented or signed with new changes like the original contract. He claims he talked about it in a meeting that I was never present for.

James L. Arrasmith
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James L. Arrasmith PRO label
answered on Aug 2, 2022

Probably not. Most contracts that have a fixed term cannot increase unilaterally (by one party acting alone). There must be a modification to that contract signed by both parties.

That being said, if the contract was for a term of less than one year, or if it contained a provision allowing...
Read more »

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