Thanks so much for your reply. The additional information is very helpful. Based on the fact that he has "minimal contacts" in Florida, you can file your suit in Florida rather than having to go to Wisconsin. Filing your suit will give you the collection options and leverage you need because once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor
, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property to satisfy the judgment.
Notwithstanding that you don't have a promissory note, the texts and emails will be sufficient to prove the existence of an agreement. The lack of a written contract
can be overcome by the concepts of promissory estoppel, detrimental reliance, and unjust enrichment. This situation arises when Person A relied upon the verbal agreement, Person A performed based on such reliance, and because Person B defaulted, such reliance is now to Person A's detriment. Where there is i) partial performance by Person A based upon the mutual promises, ii) Person A relied upon such promises to perform, iii) Person B's failure to perform would be to Person A's detriment, and iv) result in Person B being unjustly enriched, Person A can overcome the legal requirement that the agreement be in writing. Your situation meets all the foregoing elements.
Because of the amount involved doesn't allow you to file this suit in small claims
court, I would suggest you engage a lawyer to help you with this suit. Under my terms of service with JustAnswer, I'm not allowed to make a specific recommendation, but I can give you direction. You would want to either contact the state bar association or your nearest law school for a referral. I prefer the latter because they take great pride in their graduates and will take a more personal interest in making sure your referral is a good one because it will be a reflection of the school.
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