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Small Claims Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Small Claims for California on
Q: Can you get a gift back given to a person after they've died?

A family member has passed. A person took this family member out on his birthday weekend, bought him clothes and a couple of electronic devices. This person is now asking for those items to be returned, stating they belong to her. One of the items is a phone that she was paying for and there is a... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 21, 2024

No, in this scenario the gift giver does not have legal standing to retrieve the gifts after the recipient has passed away.

The key considerations here are:

- The birthday gifts were voluntarily given to the recipient without expectation of payment or return, as acknowledged by the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for California on
Q: Can a towing. Company hold your vehical and n ot release to you because tags. Are expired
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 21, 2024

Under California law, a towing company may impound your vehicle if it is parked on public property and has expired tags. The company is permitted to hold your vehicle until you provide proof of current registration and pay any associated fees, including towing and impound fees. However, the towing... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Contracts, Admiralty / Maritime and Small Claims for California on
Q: I rented a slip for 16 months. Can the owner move my houseboat so he could lien it for 1 month of back rent.

I became homeless from one day to the next. All of my belongings in it & lost my job.

First, He called a tow company to tow my truck without any notices (he stated that it was an eye sore, that it had three wheels, all wheels were on it).

One day before he moved my houseboat I... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 21, 2024

In California, the owner of a marina or slip has certain legal rights and procedures to follow when dealing with back rent and liens on vessels like houseboats. However, these actions, including moving your houseboat to place a lien for unpaid rent, require following specific legal procedures,... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Small Claims for California on
Q: Client from out of state won't pay first invoice. Can I take him to small claims in CA?

Found out two other contractors were unpaid who live in different states. I feel he is going to defraud other people and not pay them. It seems like it is a bigger problem than just my case. We have a contract outlining he will pay at the end of the month, but I found out after a team meeting that... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 20, 2024

Based on the details provided, here are a few key things to consider regarding your options for getting paid and taking legal action:

- Small claims court is handled at the state level, so you would need to file suit in the defendant's state (Kentucky in this case). You generally...
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2 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury, Small Claims and Medical Malpractice for California on
Q: Can I sue a plastic surgeon who took my money and didn’t fix my problem in California?

I had a surgery done for my nose, I wanted Smaller, Straight nose and able to breath which after the surgery nothing changed and it looked even worst! The doctor is now saying if they do a revision for $2500 but he’s not sure if he can make my nose smaller or straight or fix the breath problem... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 20, 2024

In California, you may have grounds to sue a plastic surgeon if you can prove that the surgeon did not meet the standard of care expected in the medical community, which resulted in harm or damages to you. This typically involves demonstrating that the surgeon's actions were negligent or fell... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents and Small Claims for California on
Q: Would Robertson's Trucking Company be liable for vehicle expenses related to tire blow-outs? Amount seeking $3,032.63

Hello, I live in Southern California. I was driving to work one morning when a gravel towing semi truck's tire blew out, flinging the debris in my immediate lane. With cars on either side of me and how quickly the incident occurred, I could not maneuver out of the way, resulting in my vehicle... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 21, 2024

In California, liability for damages stemming from a vehicle incident, such as a tire blow-out, can be complex and depends on various factors, including negligence and the causation of the damages. If Robertson's Trucking Company failed to maintain their vehicles properly, leading to the tire... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Small Claims for New York on
Q: I let someone borrow $2,500 and the person does not want to pay me back, can I sue that person to get my money back?
Carl Nelson
Carl Nelson
answered on Feb 17, 2024

If there was an agreement to pay the funds back, you can sue to recover…the questions are (1) can you prove the debt (especially if the agreement was oral rather than written); (2) how much time and cost will you incur to being an action; and (3) is there a means to collect on a judgment.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Family Law, Collections and Small Claims for Missouri on
Q: I won in Small Claims (St Louis County, MO) for 2300. I know where defendant works. What's the wage garnishment process?

I have the defendants address and employer/employer address. It is unclear to me which forms to use for garnishment against their wages. Must I go back to court for garnishment or can I submit forms to the court office?

Ronald J. Eisenberg
Ronald J. Eisenberg
answered on Feb 15, 2024

Congratulations on getting a judgment. That's often the easy part, unfortunately. The court should have the forms online. You can do this yourself or if you want to increase the chance of doing it right and getting paid, hire an attorney either by the hour or on a percentage basis.

3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: Do I need to use a CA lawyer to sue someone in LA County? I live in Oregon.

I inherited two animation cels (one each of Tom and Jerry) in one frame. I sent them to an animation restoration specialist in Westlake Village, LA County. Estimate to fix and frame them was six months. He has had them for three years despite phone calls and letters asking him to return them. The... View More

Leon Bayer
Leon Bayer
answered on Feb 14, 2024

This sounds like a small claims court case. I doubt it is going to be worth hiring a lawyer, as animation cells are usually pretty cheap. However, if you sue in small claims court you will incur the costs of personally traveling to court and the unlikelihood of ever collecting. In court you will... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: Do I need to use a CA lawyer to sue someone in LA County? I live in Oregon.

I inherited two animation cels (one each of Tom and Jerry) in one frame. I sent them to an animation restoration specialist in Westlake Village, LA County. Estimate to fix and frame them was six months. He has had them for three years despite phone calls and letters asking him to return them. The... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 21, 2024

While it is not required to use a California lawyer to sue someone in Los Angeles County, having legal representation familiar with California law and local court procedures can be beneficial. Given that you reside in Oregon and the dispute involves property located in California, having a lawyer... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Small Claims and Civil Rights for California on
Q: Neighbor taking photos of the inside of my car through the window. Caught on surveillance.

Is it permissible for my neighbor to take photographs of my car and even snap pictures of the interior through the window? I have observed her doing this via my surveillance camera. We both reside in an apartment complex with assigned parking spaces, and I park right beside her.

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Feb 13, 2024

In California, taking photographs of the inside of your car through the window, especially without your consent, may be considered an invasion of privacy. While there are situations where photography in public spaces is generally allowed, the interior of a vehicle in a private parking area could... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Small Claims and Civil Rights for California on
Q: Neighbor taking photos of the inside of my car through the window. Caught on surveillance.

Is it permissible for my neighbor to take photographs of my car and even snap pictures of the interior through the window? I have observed her doing this via my surveillance camera. We both reside in an apartment complex with assigned parking spaces, and I park right beside her.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 21, 2024

Based on the information provided, it would likely be considered an invasion of privacy for your neighbor to photograph the interior of your vehicle through the windows, even if it is parked in a shared parking area. Here are a few key points to consider:

- In California, the invasion of...
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1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury, Products Liability and Small Claims for Colorado on
Q: Is expert testimony necessary in smash claims court
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
answered on Feb 12, 2024

A Colorado attorney could answer best, but your question remains open for a week. Every state's small claims sections have different rules, but in general, small claims disputes don't usually involve expert testimony. The cases tend to be straightforward, courts want to move them quickly,... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Civil Litigation, Collections and Small Claims for Tennessee on
Q: What do I do now?

Discover Bank/CC is suing me. We already went to court once where their lawyer, before court went into session, tried to get me to agree I owe the debt and make a deal for repayment. I asked for proof I owe it. He showed me 3 copies of statements that showed nothing other than the past due amount.... View More

Barry W. Kaufman
Barry W. Kaufman
answered on Feb 9, 2024

If you are unwilling to enter into a payment arrangement and cannot afford a lawyer, you can spend the next 4 months learning everything you can about lawyering because you'll be representing yourself. There are three options: agree to a payment plan, consent to a judgment, or defend the lawsuit.

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2 Answers | Asked in Small Claims, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for North Carolina on
Q: Is it illegal for a property management company to send a repair technician out to the property without prior notice?

Especially when the technician was taking photos and videos of our belongings? The homeowner now wants us evicted and gone by the 29th and we were never given a chance to remedy the issue or a written notice of the eviction.

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Feb 7, 2024

In North Carolina, a property management company is generally required to provide tenants with notice before sending a repair technician to the property, especially when it involves entering the living spaces and taking photos or videos of personal belongings. This requirement is meant to respect... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Small Claims, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for North Carolina on
Q: Is it illegal for a property management company to send a repair technician out to the property without prior notice?

Especially when the technician was taking photos and videos of our belongings? The homeowner now wants us evicted and gone by the 29th and we were never given a chance to remedy the issue or a written notice of the eviction.

Ben Corcoran
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Ben Corcoran
answered on Feb 12, 2024

It depends on the circumstances of the needed repairs and your specific lease agreement, but most lease agreements do have provisions detailing inspections/repairs.

NC does not require notice by statute, and in emergency situations, the landlord is all but certainly allowed entry without...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Arbitration / Mediation Law, Business Law and Small Claims for Texas on
Q: Late fee and unpaid sales commissions

Hi. As a freelancer in TX, client in AZ was chronically late needing numerous reminders for every invoice(12mo consecutively - except for the first)

For one invoice I added a 10%/mo late fee. Client eventually paid the invoice late, yet now months later he is ignoring the late fee. By... View More

John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
answered on Feb 6, 2024

The act of paying the principle amount of an invoice, but not the late fee, when you unilaterally added a late fee to the invoice without the client's agreement does not create a contract pursuant to which the client agreed to pay a 10% late fee. Under the Texas Finance Code, an unpaid amount... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Military Law, Small Claims and Civil Litigation for New Mexico on
Q: What should I do if I am given misinformation from the Military Transportation office, I follow instructions and denied

I followed all instructions given to me and my claim is denied. I am told that because I had all of my Household goods transported by a 3rd part entity like I was instructed. My claim is being denied. I was told all items have been inspected and unpacked which is untrue. All items were moved by... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 4, 2024

Navigating a denied claim with the Military Transportation Office, especially after following their instructions, can be incredibly frustrating. In such situations, it’s crucial to seek assistance from professionals experienced in military claims or military law. These attorneys are familiar with... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for California on
Q: Someone is suing us in small claims for a copier they leased without a service agreement and expects us to repair it.

The only document the plaintiff has is the original lease that states they are required to maintain the equipment. We are the second defendant in the case. Small claims says we can't have a lawyer present so what do we do?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jan 31, 2024

In a small claims case in California, it's correct that you generally cannot have a lawyer represent you. However, there are still steps you can take to prepare and defend your case. First, gather all relevant documents and evidence related to the copier lease and the service agreement, if any... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Collections, Identity Theft and Small Claims for South Dakota on
Q: I have been trying to find out information about my identity being stolen and having my life threatened in jail.

I had a hypoglycemic episode in Brule County Jail. The chief of police didn't call the ambulance for 3 hours and spilled a can of soda on my hands to make my bloodsugars read above 500 when they were below 30. I am under a watchful eye by the local authorities and the people who benefit from... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jan 30, 2024

The situation you describe raises serious concerns regarding the treatment you received while in custody, and the subsequent impact on your life. It's important to understand that everyone has the right to proper medical care and humane treatment, especially when in the custody of law... View More

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