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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 91334
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Hello, We are an elderly couple, my husband and I. I am 75

Resolved Question:

Hello, We are an elderly couple, my husband and I. I am 75 and he is 80, we are both in wheel chairs, both have had strokes and my husband is blind. About 12-15 years ago a man wanted to rent or lease or perhaps even purchase 6 acres of hill land that we own. That 6 acres of land consists of different kinds of gravel, good usable gravel, red gravel, clay and then so much top soil. The land was on our hillside and beautiful country. We agreed WITH A CONTRACT that he was allowed to either rent or lease the 6 acres and he could take gravel out of it and pay us so much per load. I wasn't able then to count how many truck loads of gravel he hauled out of there and my husband and I do not agree with the amount of loads of gravel he took out of our land. He paid us so much per load and stopped every once in a while and gave us a check, never was it for very much money. The contract stated that X amount of money would be set aside in some way and when finished excavating the gravel, the hillside would be restored back to the same amount of land, same amount of volume of land, with either soil, or gravel or both. My husband is blind and I have many injuries and illnesses. This man took advantage of us and lied about how many loads he hauled out of the 6 acres, and it's been almost 3 years since he has hauled gravel out of the land. THE LAND LOOKS HORRIBLE, IT'S A BIG HOLE. My children were going to build on that land, but cannot for the hill is gone. Due to health related problems I cannot find my copy of the contract and according to the courthouse it was not recorded and we cannot find the man. We know his father, but he was rude and mean and said he didn't know where his son Scott Bowling, Puxico, MO lives or how to get a hold of him. We want the land restored and paid for what was taken out. It can be surveyed by an expert and calculated how much gravel was probably there. We cannot find out copy of the contract, there isn't one in the courthouse, but the other party has a copy, but we cannot get him to cooperate. Can you please help us?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry, we cannot locate people through this service, it is beyond the scope and I am sorry for any inconvenience. Also you will need to find the contract and the party to sue him for breach of contract. However, even without the contract, if he had a lease and no agreement to pay for the loads he could not damage the land or waste the land he leased so you would still have a case against him if you can locate him. You are going to need a local attorney and you would need a private investigator to locate him if you cannot find him. If you know where he is and he is just not responding, your attorney would file suit and get a default judgment if he does not respond, but collecting would take finding his assets to seize them and that is going to be a costly proposition.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sir, I could understand what you replied, but it was kind of difficult. I actually need step by step instructions on what to do. I have a son and he is helping me to type this out, but it's my words. I do not know what to do and he has no legal experience. We just do not know what to do from here. We think we know where he lives, i.e. we got an address off the internet and we do know where his father lives but he will not help, because he also benefited from what they did to us and will not divulge any information whatsoever about the whereabouts of his son Scott. I do not know who to trust, this county is so intertwined with peoples last names and money that sides are formed and I do not know where to go for help.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Please understand, I am 75 yrs old and am having help with someone typing this for me. That person has no bearing on this in any way or form or reason, the person is just typing what I say.

I don't know what to do RIGHT NOW, or tomorrow morning. I don't know the law, We are on a fixed income and I really believe that we were taken for at least $100,000 in revenue, then the destruction of the land is absolutely horrible, it looks as if it's been raped so to speak. It was beautiful and the contract made for promise to repair, or restore, or fix the land back to it's original condition, minus the gravel of course. Missouri laws could apply, but is this criminal? Was criminal deception or lying by omission done? It's absolutely obvious that thousands of loads of gravel were taken and we were paid a very small amout, but with always the big verbal PROMISE to be back soon and were working hard and we'll fix it back. It's been years, I don't want a statute of limitations to run out for us. Are there organizations that defend the elderly from fraud, deception, theft, abuse in the form of business deception or omission? I'm sure there are, but do not have the resources to do anything with. All we have is a courthouse and a prosecuting attorney that is young and new and could possible be friends with the other party. Please help.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
I thank you for being patient, I can only type so fast and I have other customers I am helping too, as I told you in the first post.

It is NOT criminal, it is a civil matter.

You have a very tough case here is what I am trying to tell you and one that is way beyond the scope of what we can do.

1) You have a case. Even if the contract cannot be found, when you lease land to someone they cannot waste or destroy the land, so you do have a claim against him and if he denies any contract and does not produce it, then you still have a claim. If he does produce the contract, he is in breach of the contract.

2) You need a local attorney. The attorney will have to file suit against him, that is the first step. You would try to serve him at his father's address and at the address you can find for him. Then if service cannot be made that way, your attorney would ask for permission to serve him by publication (printing in the paper) and the suit can proceed.

3) The problem is that if he does not answer the suit, then you would get a default judgment, which is a judgment in your favor, BUT if he files bankruptcy you would get nothing and if he doesn't you would still have to find his assets to find a way to collect and this is up to your attorney to do.

4) At this point you are going to have to begin by getting a local attorney (or one from the nearest major city, which works best in most cases) to begin the process and get the ball rolling. You can find a real estate litigation attorney at the same sites used by other attorneys, http://www.findlaw.com or http:/www.martindale.com
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello there, just a few more questions or clarifications and I thank you.

You said:

1) You have a case. Even if the contract cannot be found, when you lease land to someone they cannot waste or destroy the land, so you do have a claim against him and if he denies any contract and does not produce it, then you still have a claim. If he does produce the contract, he is in breach of the contract.

In the contract we gave permission for X amout per load of gravel that was taken out of the 6 acres of the land. Judging from the size of the whole and the transformation of the land to "uninhabbitable". The land was "ready to build" on per say if someone were to build a home there and that is the plan completely, but not how it is now. The contract provided for money to be "set aside" for the restoration of the land. We cannot find our contract, but your saying if he is served and does not produce a contract then it is to our favor by default and then next would be to find his assets and try and collect that way? If we can build a strong enough case on our end through testimony, detail and also witnesses and then other people of the community that he tried to sublet it to 100 times what he said he would lease it from us for. He knew what the gravel was worth, and he deliberately misled us and paid us almost nothing for the loads taken out, but so obviously and by looking at this hole, this mess, this once beautiful hillside land it, after being surveyed, could be estimated that thousands more loads were taken out of the land. I understand what your saying and I'm getting closer to knowing what to do, I just need your help to help me understand what I'm being told by you.

Your doing a nice job and we thank you sir:)
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
If he produces the contract, then you will need a geological expert to examine the land to determine how much was removed to get an estimate of how much he shorted you on payments and also to get an estimate of the cost to fill in the damage he provided.

If he does not produce a contract, he is still liable for damage he did to the land he rented from you. The only risk is if he files for bankruptcy and in that case you would get nothing.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
This is the last reply sir.

In your time, you do not have to hurry sir. Take care of your other customers as well. I understand what your doing is a service, it's also a business and it's also something you have chosen to do and I think it's wonderful your doing this.

Before I choose an attorney, either here local or from say...St. Louis, MO I will have to have some information both gathered and necessary in order to prove my case enough to ask for a contingency based representation.

Can you give me a list of documents I could use, would need, and that I can get?
Should I ask for people to give statements, affidavits about the situation?
Please see, that I have to prepare a strategy even before I walk into an attorney's office.
I believe that the attorney needs to believe in my case in order for him to best represent me, and also for me to feel adease and somewhat confident in my efforts. This man and his father have made money their entire life by taking advantage of people less fortunate, BUT...it stops here.

One last thing and take your time, but be detailed. Can you provide me with a theoretical strategy, for I must also guide my attorney along as we together execute this case from start to finish. And, I hope there is no bankruptcy. I'm pretty sure there isn't, because they live very lavishly, but can afford to indemnify and compensate us for trying to take advantage of me and my husband. I'm sure he has hurt many other people, good people in the same type or similar fashion.

Thank you.

Mrs Senior!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
What documents you need depend on the documents you have regarding the transaction. If you have any copies or records of the payments he made, then you need those. You cannot bring the contract because you do not have that. Statements from a few neighbors would help, but are not necessary to go to an attorney at this point.

Strategy, there are two and both would be used as alternative theories of recovery (which is allowed in court). First, you argue breach of contract, which provided payment for removal of gravel and for repairing the land. You will need an expert to show both how much he removed and how much it will cost to repair the land. Second, if no contract is produced, you argue under lease law, you leased him land and he damaged and caused waste to the land and as such he owes you for that damage. Again, the same expert would have to be used to prove the amount of the damage.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 91334
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Law Educator, Esq. and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Excellent!!! My husband I thank you so so much. You see, you took a route in life, you pursued something either you enjoyed and are passionnate about or you pursued security and independence hence also providing for your loved ones, both young and old. In this case you helped us:) Thank you young man, you made me understand. Beat that one Harvard!!!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you very much for your kind words.

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