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Appreciate some legal advice(work related)

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Appreciate some legal advice(work related)

Old 05-31-2010, 06:50 PM
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Default Appreciate some legal advice(work related)

I will make this as brief as possible.

My wife worked for a client as a independent contractor and was given computer equipment payed for by client to complete a specific job.
My wife incurred expenses along the way and was told at completion of the job she would be payed plus reimbursed for expenses.

The job ended, client was happy, payed wife except for expenses which included flights,lodging,food and a sub that helped her.He refuses to pay.

Our mistake was no contract(stupid!)

He wants the equipment back asap and we have the remainder of the bill we would like to be paid for.He will not pay us until he receives the equipment.

1. Can we legally keep this equipment until he pays us?
2.any info/ideas appreciated
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:56 PM
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Welcome to 2010! This seems to be the M.O. of many in all industries. He probably wants to cut a deal for a discount because the amount of money worth chasing is not reached.

I have found in my industry that number is between 2K and 4K. They know its going to cost me more to recoup then the amount itself.

I would hold off on the Legal talk for now and tell him that your not giving his equipment back until you can negotiate a settlement.

I wouldn't threaten him just yet, that will put him in a corner and you don't want anyone in a corner if you need their money.

No Contract means No money, but you do have his stuff and legal or not, you have the possession of the stuff.

Make a deal for half, cash his check and hand over the equipment and walk away. He already knows this is how it will end.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:02 PM
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Thanks for the info Mike,the amount is 5k and he has already contacted his lawyer to start working on this.
The guy is worth 500mil and he is extremely aggressive when he does not get his way.
I was wondering if we will be liable since we do in fact have his equipment.
We do know that we will never see the money once the equipment leaves our hands.
Thanks
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:41 PM
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His lawyer should understand the verbal contract called for you to get re-imbursed for those expenses...although he is going to try and get his clients computer without paying the bill. Drag the lawyer out prolonging any "settlement". The lawyer is billing your former client for his time. Let the dead-beat know you'll cost him more in attorney's fees then simply paying the bill and you'll deliver the stuff personally (without going to court)
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:43 PM
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You can counter-file for breach of promise and a couple of good faith charges because no judge would believe that your wife's expenses would be gratis; especially in light of the fact that you're going up against a big guy.

The other way is to tell him the stuff is lost and sell it privately. Not honorable, but efficient.

You can't prove the contract and he can't dis-prove the lost equipment.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:34 AM
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You could always threaten to claim to the IRS that she was an employee, not an independent contractor. That's something the client does not want to hear.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ss striper View Post
He will not pay us until he receives the equipment.
Yeah right, that's like saying I won't C-- in your mouth honey.

Just be careful of any and all correspondence, you do not want to be recorded or others present to substantiate his side of the story. You (your wife) on the other hand would (could possibly) benefit from collaboration with the other party.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:20 AM
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Ask him if his kids walk to school or do they take the bus?
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
Yeah right, that's like saying I won't C-- in your mouth honey.

Just be careful of any and all correspondence, you do not want to be recorded or others present to substantiate his side of the story. You (your wife) on the other hand would (could possibly) benefit from collaboration with the other party.
We have kind of baited him in through Emails about the expenses,he acknowledges them but refuses to pay.As this continues he is willing to pay us less and less,it keeps changing? Today we will just go get legal council.
Sad to think a 27yr old worth 500mil doesn't have anything better to do then to play these stupid games.

Thanks
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:52 AM
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What is the computer equipment worth on the street?
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:07 AM
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Without a signed contract you have nothing in in the courts eyes. I've been through this. It's a hard thing to do and I still like working on a hand shake. My word is my word and I keep it. Sadly there are too many dirt bags these days.

A good friend bought two new trash trucks. One was a lemon, the other worked perfectly. He stopped making payments on the bad truck and paid off the good one. The company he bought them from took him to court and they won. Reason was he broke the contract first. He was told had he paid off the bad truck also he would have won the full purchase price plus all downtime and legal costs.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mist-Rest View Post
A good friend bought two new trash trucks. One was a lemon, the other worked perfectly. He stopped making payments on the bad truck and paid off the good one.

I'm not sure that the situations are equal. Buying a product or a house is a long-term payment-fueled contract. Not paying because something isn't right about the product isn't a valid recourse; otherwise our financial markets would never allow those kinds of deals such as auto loans, home loans, even rental contracts.

The OP's wife has a personal services contract with a one-time payment. Breach of Promise is what she's about, and IMO that can be a verbal contract.

She and her employer discussed terms of payment and expenses (although there might be two versions of the intent). The employer validated the contract by giving her/loaning her equipment with which to perform her part of the deal.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
What is the computer equipment worth on the street?
At least 6k.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
I'm not sure that the situations are equal. Buying a product or a house is a long-term payment-fueled contract. Not paying because something isn't right about the product isn't a valid recourse; otherwise our financial markets would never allow those kinds of deals such as auto loans, home loans, even rental contracts.

The OP's wife has a personal services contract with a one-time payment. Breach of Promise is what she's about, and IMO that can be a verbal contract.

She and her employer discussed terms of payment and expenses (although there might be two versions of the intent). The employer validated the contract by giving her/loaning her equipment with which to perform her part of the deal.
You are correct.
We have just found past emails that basically puts him in a corner with no wiggle room,a letter from our attorney will make this go away.

Thanks for letting me vent.
Lesson to all..........Always have a contract!
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:44 AM
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At some point in time it may be necessary to chalk it up to experience. For sure do what you can easily do to try and recover, but its probably not worth a lot of time and expense to recover an amount that size. Spend all of that time instead by going out to market and selling new business (with a signed contract this time) as that will be a better investment. Good luck.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by SeaJay View Post
At some point in time it may be necessary to chalk it up to experience. For sure do what you can easily do to try and recover, but its probably not worth a lot of time and expense to recover an amount that size. Spend all of that time instead by going out to market and selling new business (with a signed contract this time) as that will be a better investment. Good luck.
Looks like now he agreed to pay for half of the bill(cover flights and sub) we will be happy and chalk it up as a learning experience.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:30 AM
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Rick,
I was only pointing out that withholding payment makes the case a little more cut and dry. It was in my buddies case used against him.

I one case I was involved in a hand shake deal occurred. Payments stopped coming in and the guy I was working with didn't place a lien on the project due to some very bad legal advice. We went to mediation and it ruled in the defendants favor because there was no contract.
Other than the dirt ball winning, the only others that made any money, and lots of it were the lawyers.
Of course this happed here in Mass so the outcome shouldn't surprise anyone.


I hope the OP wins this for the working man or in this case woman. I hate dealing with scum.

Rob
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:53 AM
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If you had him in a corner, with no wiggle room, why accept a half payment?
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Mist-Rest View Post
I hope the OP wins this for the working man or in this case woman. I hate dealing with scum.

Rob

I agree with you, Rob. I think about some of my past businesses and wonder how in the world we didn't get sued or stiffed a lot more than we did. A lot of the construction business is in the "handshake and meeting of the minds" area between parties, if for no better reason than decisions are made on the job while work is progressing ( residential reconstruction).

Twenty years of experience later, I don't know what business is safe...and until today's posts I would have guessed that the IT business is as safe as it gets.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:29 AM
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They often have in house counsel, so his legal expenses are paid for, hoping you would fold rather than come out of pocket thousands for your own lawyer at 400+ per hour. His attorneys will be sure to generate tons of paper so your bill will be v high.
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