What happens is that if the title was in your name, you could have technically "repossessed" it and sold at auction if he defaulted on payment. This is what a lot of car dealers do, and keep the title until the payment is 100% complete.
Alternatively, they place a lien on the title which allows them to do the same.
If he has a CLEAR title, I am afraid that you cannot force him to return the vehicle unless he is willing to. However, you may sue him in small claims court
. See here
To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract
," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one
cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.
This is a "breach of contract." The essential elements of such a cause of action: (1) the contract
, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) defendant's breach, and (4) the resulting damages to plaintiff. Reichert v. General Ins. Co. of America, 68 Cal.2d 822, 830, 69 Cal.Rptr. 321, 325, 442 P.2d377, 381 (Cal. 1968)
One can then get a judgment, and enforce the judgment if by levy, garnishment of wages, lien, etc, if he does not pay.
Often, a letter threatening to sue may be enough to get him back on track. Let me know if you need a sample of such a letter.
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