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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31582
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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Im having an issue with a former employer. I stored some of

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Im having an issue with a former employer. I stored some of their items in my home for 1 year. They later assaulted me and fired me. I had to fight them in unemployment court but eventually won the case. Now they are emailing me wanting the items I stored in my house. We have no documents written saying I have the items, the items can not be identified as belonging to the employer. What do I have to do in this case? This person is a bully and I do not want to deal with them. Can they take me to small claims court? We have no written proof of anything...
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Tina replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Do you still have possession of the items the employer claims belongs to them? Are you willing to return the items in your possession in return for a signed release agreeing not to pursue legal action against you?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

As of today I have the items though I am not willing to simply return them. I stored them for over a year and expect some type of compensation otherwise I would like to dispose of them. They came into my possession while I was an employee and the employer asked me to store them since storage spaces cost upwards of $100 p/month. This former employer caused me financial harm and then fought an unemployment claim for 6 months. There is nothing identifiable on the items that proves they belong to the employer and we have nothing in writing.

Expert:  Tina replied 10 months ago.
Hello again, Abigail, and thank you for providing this additional information.

As you may know, in a court of law it is not always what the truth is but what one can prove that carries the day, so if the employer has no proof that the items belong to them, they may have trouble in court proving that they do if you do not admit that fact. So you could deny their ownership of the property or file a counterclaim for storage costs they agreed to as well as counterclaims for other damages you may have incurred because of the employer's actions toward you.

In response to their demands, you could set out in writing by certified mail what it is you wish to receive in return for their property you have in your possession. You may also wish to suggest mediation as a means of resolving this dispute since that is often successful where the parties have been unable to come to an agreement.

Ultimately, a court could enter a judgment against you based on the employer's testimony, even though there may not be any documentation, based on whether the court finds the employer's statements with regard to the property credible or not. Therefore, to avoid the possibility of a judgment against you, it would typically be best to take steps to resolve this, either through mediation, retaining an attorney to negotiate a settlement and release, or through your own negotiation efforts.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate my service when I have answered your questions so I will be compensated for my time assisting you. Thank you!

Tina

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

I had a verbal communication with them regarding storage fees. I offered $80 p/month (below current rate in my area). I have had them for 12 months. She countered with $100 total and followed that we had no agreement for storage costs and I was doing her a favor. At the time, since I was her employee, I did not feel I had a choice in the matter whether to store the items or not.


Does this change your answer in any way?


If we went to mediation where I admitted I had the items and she was unhappy with the outcome can she then take me to court?

Expert:  Tina replied 10 months ago.
Hello again, Abigail.

Anything said during the mediation process is strictly confidential and cannot be used against either party typically. That rule is in effect to encourage parties to negotiate freely and come to a resolution without having to resort to legal action, so anything you say during the mediation process cannot normally be used against you.

I certainly understand that you felt obligated to store the items since you were an employee and since you were terminated (and then the employer fought your right to benefits) you feel entitled to compensation for storing the items and that is not an unreasonable argument if you were sued, but I would at least suggest mediation and see whether the employer is willing to sit down and negotiate with you in good faith in an attempt to avoid litigation since the outcome of that is unknown and would be in the discretion of the court since there is no documentary evidence to support any of the allegations here.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate my service when I have answered your questions so I will be compensated for my time assisting you. Thank you!

Tina

Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31582
Experience: JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
Tina and 14 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Tina replied 10 months ago.

Thank you very much for your positive rating of my service. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me should a future legal need arise.

If you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please consider scoring me a 9 or 10. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and all the best to you.

Tina

Note: Please feel free to request me if you have future legal questions by typing your new question in the question box on my profile page. Here is a link to that page, which you can bookmark or add to your favorites: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-tina/. I look forward to hearing from you again should the need arise.

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