Legal question - small claims to get my money

Legal question - small claims to get my money

This is a discussion on Legal question - small claims to get my money within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; A few weeks ago I was subcontracted (no written contract) to do some work for a company that has a state contract with FWC. I ...

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Thread: Legal question - small claims to get my money

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Question Legal question - small claims to get my money

    A few weeks ago I was subcontracted (no written contract) to do some work for a company that has a state contract with FWC. I was installing graphics on new trucks for the State of Florida (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). I worked two weeks and finished around 18 trucks and asked for a payday from the company.

    The owner told me check was in the mail (no pun intended). Three days later I call again as there was no check. Again, I was told it was sent. Three more days later I call again. I was assured the check was sent but the owner said he would send another just in case. Check should have arrived overnight as they are only a few hours away.

    Next day, no check.

    I called the owner and talked with him (very firmly) and conveyed that I thought he was lying to me. He admitted he lied and said the company had no money and was on hard times. He said I would be paid as soon as some clients paid him.

    Well, three weeks later and I still have no money from them. I am now working directly for FWC. I was hired temporary through the state system.

    I would like to sue this company in small claims. I have never sued anyone before and am not sure of what is involved, what I need and need to do.

    Is it even likely I would ever get my money? I am owed $617.00 from this company and would make a huge difference in my financial situation right now.

    Some one at FWC told me to call his insurance company (business insurance is required in order to hold a state contract) and they would pay me.

    I tend to think that if he cannot or will not pay me he likely has not paid his insurance either.
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  2. #2
    Member Array UnklFungus's Avatar
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    IANAL so best to call one.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnklFungus View Post
    IANAL so best to call one.
    I understand that and I have called. got little info.

    What I am asking is experience from those that have filed small claims before and what was the outcome if in a similar case as mine.
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    I did a small claims before, it was years ago and in Ohio, but a similar situation. I put in a new kitchen for a slum lord who did want to pay up. The process was pretty simple, and it cost me like $50 total, which the defendant ended up paying me back for.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    My experience with small claims has been here in North Carolina when my roommate filed suit for a defaulted loan. Since the deadbeat did not show up she won a judgment against him. That was fine but under North Carolina law she still had the responsibility to collect the debt from him. I don’t know how Florida law compares but this is an example of how small claims works in one state.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    My experience with small claims has been here in North Carolina when my roommate filed suit for a defaulted loan. Since the deadbeat did not show up she won a judgment against him. That was fine but under North Carolina law she still had the responsibility to collect the debt from him. I dont know how Florida law compares but this is an example of how small claims works in one state.
    This is a typical experience. The court may judge in your favor and order the defendant to pay up, but there are probably no teeth to back that up, and you'll have to sue in regular court to get your money. Obviously that raises the stakes and you'll have to hire a lawyer who likely will not take the case on a contingency basis.

    Three hours of legal work will eat up the $600 you're looking to collect. However, a shot at small claims is probably better than nothing. Meanwhile, call consumer agencies like BBB, your Secretary of State (usually involved in licensing firms to do business), and even local TV stations to bring some light to bear on your situation. Perhaps some unwanted notoriety will prompt the deadbest to pay up.

    Going forward, get a purchase order or contract before you start work.
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    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    after small claims there are two options.
    take the tax credit for the "loss" or file more papers and pay legal fees to put a lean on his personal items or company property.

    it is a large roll of the dice IMO.
    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -1792, James Madison
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    Tally:

    If you were doing the installation for the State of Florida (even if subbed), why not call and speak with someone in the department that owns the trucks? Seems to me that some leverage could be brought, particularly if the state has not yet paid the bum.
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    Call the wildlife and fisheries and tell them you will be removing the graphics off the truck ,for non payment.They may pressure him.

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    Not a Lawyer either, however have had numerous Small Claim actions filed. Very easy process, cost is about $100.00 in Wisconsin however does take some time, especially due to the ecomomy. The courts are backlogged and your chances after the ruling are slim to none in getting your money. Is it worth the time and additional money. It bites to eat a $600.00 loss but suck it up and deal with only responsible well rated companies. I like the other idea, to call the Fish and Wildlife agency and explain your situation, tell them you have to place a lein on each of there vehicles with Florida DMV. They may even pay you seperately
    Last edited by Davensquirt; May 6th, 2010 at 08:49 AM. Reason: Spelling and Additional information
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    Tell so called Contractor that you are calling the FWC so he won't get no more contracts ; )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tally XD View Post
    I understand that and I have called. got little info.

    What I am asking is experience from those that have filed small claims before and what was the outcome if in a similar case as mine.
    Here in NH it's done through the district court. Turns out the district court is next to my town hall, so it made it easy.

    Get the forms from the court and fill them out. There will be a processing fee (which you can add to the claim). If the defendant is in the same state as you, then I believe they will serve him the papers.

    In my case the defendant was now out of state, so I had to find my own process server. Usually a sheriff's office will handle that for you (for another fee, which you can add to the claim).

    Once served the defendant has a period of time to respond. Mine responded right away since he didn't want anything on his record. Payments are now coming bi-weekly, which is better than nothing.

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    My experience with small claims has been here in North Carolina when my roommate filed suit for a defaulted loan. Since the deadbeat did not show up she won a judgment against him. That was fine but under North Carolina law she still had the responsibility to collect the debt from him. I dont know how Florida law compares but this is an example of how small claims works in one state.
    It's pretty much that way everyplace. Or, the defendant simply states that don't agree to small claims court and will use an attorney to represent them. It's a joke. Beside that, what do you have to prove your side? He can simply state that you were hired for cash at the minimum wage and was paid in cash and produces a wittness to this.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Tally:

    If you were doing the installation for the State of Florida (even if subbed), why not call and speak with someone in the department that owns the trucks? Seems to me that some leverage could be brought, particularly if the state has not yet paid the bum.
    Trucks are owned by the State of Florida. I already called teh Department of Management Services and was told they could not help me. He has not been paid by the state yet. He failed to complete the contract.

    Quote Originally Posted by 55bowtie View Post
    Call the wildlife and fisheries and tell them you will be removing the graphics off the truck ,for non payment.They may pressure him.
    Thing is, I don't have to contact the Fish and Wildlife Commission. I now work for them at the very place where I was doing their vehicle graphics. I was doing the striping job and was approached by several of the guys there and was asked if I would like to come to work there for them. I took the position after I saw I wasn't going to get paid by the other guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by hogdaddy View Post
    Tell so called Contractor that you are calling the FWC so he won't get no more contracts ; )
    H/D
    See above. I work for FWC now. They are actually considering legal action against him already because he failed to meet the contract. It won't do me any good though. I wasn't working directly for FWC at the time.
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    Member Array OldLincoln's Avatar
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    I'd say your contract is only worth the paper on which it is written.

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