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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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I work in the Music Industry in Orange County, California. I

Customer Question

I work in the Music Industry in Orange County, California. I hired a women to assist with making a reality show with one of my young musicians. I make every contractor sign an agreement or at least acknowledge by email that they will never approach my client with the intent to self profit or take funds of any kind from my clients. One of the producers from the reality show we hired decided to contact my client directly sell my client the idea of a web series. My client was under the impression that I approved the deal and handed the women a deposit of $5,000. My client got ahold of me with in an hour or two of handing the check to this women. We called the bank to put a stop payment on check but was unable to reach anyone. Once we reached the women who has my clients check we asked her to return the check and not to cash it. I wrote her a email that stated client was canceling transaction and I called her on the phone to explain the issue. Women's response was " I am not refunding any money because I spent the money on my rent" . What is the rule on protecting the consumer against fraud offers or refunds?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Your client can still put a stop payment on the check (if the check bounces, it will then be this woman's problem).

You can sue this woman for breach of contract. The damages would include both the return of your client's money (if the check goes through), plus the cost of placing the stop payment, plus any additional damages "proximately related" (directly related) to her actions.

Your client may have an independent cause of action (if he wishes to pursue a claim individually), for "fraud in the inducement" - which would make any contract he entered with her "voidable" (the injured party can void or enforce the contract at their option), as fraud is an intentional tort, he would also be entitled to punitive damages.

(Given that this woman is using funds to pay rent, I would recommend exercising discretion here, as getting a judgment vs. collecting on one are two different things, you likely will collect (wage garnishments, bank levies, property liens), but it can take some time).

Fortunately, the amount is less than $10,000.00 so you can take advantage of small claims court: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

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