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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 90315
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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It has been a year since I asked this question about my cello

Customer Question

It has been a year since I asked this question about my cello and bows. I consulted an attorney who wrote a letter to this dealer, which the dealer ignored. The police refuse to help. I filed a complaint with the attorney general. I placed a mechanics lien on his property and notified him of this by registered mail. I hired private investigators to go talk to him ($1000) and he admitted he no longer has my property and that he does owe me the amount in question. He also phoned and emailed and promised to pay me by December of 2012. That date came and went, and still no response from him. I have consulted attorneys and they all want retainers of at least $5000 just to get started, and are not optimistic. Collection agencies want 50% of the amount due. I just don't know what to do anymore and am extremely angry. Right now I just want to post my complaints everywhere on the internet. It has been almost 7 years since I signed a contract with this dealer and left my property, valued at more than $27,000, with this person. The lien will expire next December unless I obtain a judgement against him, but I am not sure how to do that without an attorney.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Other.
no answer yet
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I am afraid that because of the amount of money owed, you would be filing a unlimited civil complaint (over $25,000) in the CA superior court. If you cannot find an attorney willing to file suit on a contingency basis for about 33%-40% of the amount they collect from him or get in judgment against him or are not willing to pay this to an attorney, then you can file the suit against him yourself and you can get the form to file an unlimited civil suit either from your superior court self help desk or at CA Court Forms. You would have to file a complaint and you have to serve the party with a copy of that complaint and summons through a process server to begin your suit. The filing of the suit stops the statute of limitations, which is generally 4 years in CA for breach of contract and 3 years for property damage, but if you have written confirmation from him that he owes you then the statute of limitations is extended from that date (December 2012) when he promised to pay.

I am afraid that filing suit yourself pro se would be the only option if you cannot find an attorney you can afford or willing to work on contingency. If you do plan on going pro se, you must get yourself a copy of both the CA rules of civil procedure and the CA rules of evidence, as you will be held to follow them as would any licensed attorney.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry....I thought you could view my first question written almost a year ago which had more details. I am in California but the dealer is in Connecticut where I used to live. The total value of my property is $27,000 but according to the consignment agreement, the dealer owes me around $22,000. I do like your idea of trying to find a lawyer willing to take the case on a contingency basis though. Do I just start calling every lawyer in that area? Let me know if this new information changes your advice in any way.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I would still suggest filing the unlimited suit, even though it is only $22,000, because with your damages and fees and money you have spent to date you can easily exceed the $25,000 limited civil action limits.

You would look for a civil litigation and/or consumer protection law attorney in that area at the same sites used by other attorneys, http://www.martindale.com or http://www.lexmundi.com or http://www.hg.org as these sites verify the attorneys on the site and they are reviewed and rated.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

With interest, and fees, I am sure we are above the 25K limit. Is this distinction the same in CT as in CA? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX advice. We will definitely follow up on this.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I thought you said you were in CA, did I miss that you are suing in CT? CT does not make the distinction and the suit is simply filed in the Superior Court and you simply file your complaint with your allegations regardless of the amount. CA has the distinction between a limited and unlimited civil action.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 90315
Experience: Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
Law Educator, Esq. and other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the good advice!

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.

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