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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26815
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Hello, My son received a summons informing him he will

Resolved Question:

Hello,

My son received a summons informing him he will be a defendant in a lawsuit. The lawsuit stems from an incident three years ago in which he was present at an assault and battery. He had showed up at an underage drinking party with some friends, they were 17 at the time. in which an altercation broke out. Most of the party was 20 year olds. A sixteen year old had picked up some sort of stake and hit someone over the head with it. Subsequently the kid went to the hospital, ended up with a concussion and partial hearing loss, supposedly--not really known. One of the younger group was questioned by police and gave up the names of his 17 year old friends, and the 16 year old who committed the assault-who are known to police and, due to a much longer, complicated story and small town politics, this younger group was often targeted by police. They were not bad kids, however the 16 year old has had a previous violent record. Anyway the police charged the 16 year old who I believe plead out and served a year in juvenile. The also charged my son and a few other 17 year olds with joint venture. Honestly they had no intention of going there and committing such an act and had no idea the 16 year old would suddenly do this. All the joint venture charges were dropped/dismissed. Now three years later we receive the lawsuit summons. They are suing for $48,000 for loss of wages and medical bills. There are a total of 8 defendants including the 16 year old who actually committed crime.

My question for you is are they all equally responsible for the amount or is the actual culprit responsible for more. Second, would the amount my son would be responsible for amount to less than an attorney would cost? Third he has 2 days left to respond and we have no attorney yet. What if we do not have one in time. How does he respond to it. Our intention is to fight it seeing as he had no part in the actual crime.

We live in Massachusetts
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 9 months ago.

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

On a case like this if a finding is made against any number of the defendants then they are all equally liable for the entire amount.

Customer:

ok.

Dwayne B. :

It is what is known as "joint and several liability".

Dwayne B. :

However, it does not seem like the kind of case they would be likely to win if someone fought it.

Dwayne B. :

How old was the person who was actually injured?

Customer:

20 at the time

Dwayne B. :

There is a three year statute of limitations in this case.

Dwayne B. :

Did it happen more than three years ago?

Customer:

yes it was filed 2 days before the actual 3 year date

Customer:

more than 3 years now

Dwayne B. :

If they filed it within the three years and served him soon afterwards that is good enough.

Dwayne B. :

He can file an Answer himself but he probably wants to hire a lawyer to file it for him. Theoretically he could be on the hook for the entire amount of the judgment.

Customer:

ok so if there are 8 defendants then say each would be responsible for 6,000 if lost? and how approximately how much would an attorney cost to fight it

Dwayne B. :

In addition, he may be able to ask for his attorneys fees back as a sanction for a frivolous lawsuit.

Customer:

short time to find an attorney. what if we dont in time?

Customer:

How come he could be responsible for entire amount?

Dwayne B. :

He can file an answer himself. If he will go down to the clerk of court's office and look in the file someone else may have already hire an attorney to file an Answer. If not, he can look through the files until he finds an answer in another case.

Dwayne B. :

As to why he could be responsible, it's that first answer I gave you. Each defendant is responsible for the entire amount. The Plaintiff can't recover more than one full amount but each of the defendants could be liable if any of the others can't or don't pay.

Customer:

really? So it's filed in Superior not district court. That's where he'd have to go?

Customer:

Oh ok

Dwayne B. :

Yes. Go to the clerk of courts.

Dwayne B. :

Not the court itself.

Customer:

And the kind of attorney he'd need is a civil, correct?

Dwayne B. :

Yes. Civil litigation. You can find one at www.lawyers.com.

Customer:

Thank you

Dwayne B. :

You're very welcome. Anything else I can assist with before I exit to help others.

Customer:

no thank you

Dwayne B. :

Best wishes to you and your son on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work.

Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26815
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
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