My minor daughter was caught Shoplifting a $3 eyeliner at Walmart. They released her with no charges. Today I received a civil demand letter from Michael IRA Asen, P.C in the amount of $250.00. Am I legally required to pay this demand? What will happen if I ignore the letter?
State/Country relating to Question: Kentucky
Unfortunately yes that is a valid civil demand. If you do not pay then you, as the parent, can be sued in court for the money plus legal fees. Such an action is allowed in Kentucky. I will post the statute below for your own reading.
KENTUCKY CIVIL RECOVERY LAWSection 411.095. Liability for stealing or damaging goods of retailers or wholesalers.(1) An adult or emancipated minor who damages, destroys, or takes possession of any goods, wares, or merchandise, stored, displayed or offered for sale by any wholesale or retail store or other mercantile establishment, or who alters the price indicia of the merchandise, in violation of the provisions of KRS Chapters 512 and 514, without having paid the purchase price therefor, shall be civilly liable to the owner for actual damages, if any, and for a penalty to the owner in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00), plus an additional penalty to the owner of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) and not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00).(2) The custodial parents or legal guardian having custody of an unemancipated minor who damages, destroys or takes possession of any goods, wares, or merchandise, stored, displayed, or offered for sale by any wholesale or retail store or other mercantile establishment, or who alters the price indicia of the merchandise, which would be a public offense, without having paid the purchase price thereof, shall be civilly liable to the owner for actual damages, if any, and for a penalty to the owner in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise, not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00), plus an additional penalty to the owner of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than two hundred fifty dollars($250.00). For purposes of this subsection, liability shall not be imposed upon any governmental entity, private agency, or foster parents assigned responsibility for the minor child pursuant to a court order or action of the Cabinet for Human Resources, or any agency thereunder.(3) For the purpose of this section, "owner" shall include any agent or employee of the owner.(4) A conviction of an offense under KRS Chapters 512 or 514 is not a condition precedent to the maintenance of a Civil Action under this section.(5) Civil Liability under this section shall not be limited by any other law that limits liability of parents of minor children.(6) An action for recovery of damages, or penalty, or both, and costs under this section may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction, including that Small Claims division of District Court, if the total amount sought does not exceed the jurisdictional limit of the respective court.(7) The fact that an owner has a right to bring an action against any individual as provided in this section shall not limit the right of the owner to demand, in writing, that a person who is liable under this section remit the amount of the claim prior to the commencement of any legal action.(8) Judgments, but not claims, arising under this section may be assigned.(9) In addition to any civil damages or penalties, or both, which may be recovered under this section, a judgment for recovery shall also include court costs.(10) Civil claims under this section shall apply to those claims which arise after July 13, 1990.
From reading on the internet, it seems most lawyers are recommending that the letter be ignored, and no further action is taken.
I can not tell a person to ignore the letter in current conditions because the past norm of ignoring debts has changed. Companies that in the past has just wrote off debts are not actually suing to recover losses. I suspect the change in trends has been from the poor economy. You can ignore it and then pay it if you are served with a complaint to sue.
It's a difficult decision, because since my daughter is a minor my record is at stake. I was concerned that it was a scare tactic, which most people would fall for. I think I am going to send $50 so that they have some amount of compensation, and see if that is acceptable to them. Does this sound like a resonable solution?
I don't recommend you send $50 because that would be acknowledgment of the obligation. Either send the entire amount or none at all because if you dont send any money that forces them to determine if it's worth pursing against you. if you send some money they will keep pushing for the full amount. This is not like a collection company that will settle for part payment.
Just to confirm...... If I ignore the letter, They are obligated to give me a second chance to pay the amount of the demand before legal action is taken?
No. If you don't pay they can sue you, they can ignore it, or they can send repeated demand letters. There is no way to predict what they will do as that is why I originally suggested that you pay the debt as that is your best option but the choice is up to you.
Practing General Attorney,
Looks like I will be writing a check then. Thanks for your help and your time.......
Have a great day!
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