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The matter is a civil matter rather than a criminal matter. You will need to file a civil action ("lawsuit") against the business owner for conversion and Replevin. Here is the lank for the Missouri Law on getting your property back.
You are still within the statute of limitations (5 years) on getting your property back. You will need to present evidence the art is yours. At the hearing witnesses and ownership documents are can be used.
Thank you for your response...I want to make sure that my card will not be billed in the future. I am comfortable paying $18 for legal suggestions for this one day, but I DO NOT want my card billed more than $18 for today and today alone.
As for your rating...I will check the information you supplied for the Missouri website and get back with you shortly, as I feel some of the elements of my question may not be clear.
Greetings again Jack...
I have began the civil process...I want to know your suggestions on what you would do to win in small claims. I understand you are not representing me and that you are not my attorney and that is payment of $18 is for a conversation with you....what would you do to win my property back IF you were my attorney. I came across the Missouri statute months ago when I initially filed my small claims complaint against the business owner...right now your rating from me would not be 3 or above...
Please tell me how you would win my case?
First of all I do not receive payment until you rate my work with a rating of 3 or better which I hope you will do.
In small claims as the Plaintiff you have the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) to show that the artwork belongs to you. You can do this by showing how and when you acquired the art, how it ended up with the defendant. You can also show that all artwork on display by the defendant was on loan and that the defendant acquired your artwork in the same way. If you have witnesses that can testify your the owner you need to bring them, along with any supporting documentation. You must also show that you demanded the artwork back (in writing).
You will also need to establish the value of the artwork. In small claims you may only be awarded monetary damages. Some means of appraising the artwork should be presented as evidence. This could be bringing an art dealer , evidence of how much similar works brought etc.
Once you establish you at least owned the objects at one time the defendant will have to prove he obtained ownership not mere possession of the artwork.
After testifying to you ownership (along with your witnesses) You will need to be prepared to question the owner. You will need to ask him what basis he claims he is the owner, you can ask how he got ownership, how much he paid etc. to try yo show he never legally became the owner of the artwork, mere entitle to legal possession e.g. a loan of the artwork.
Male sure you indicate the relief you want e.g. the monetary value of the artwork, or return of the art pieces.
That answer of strategy is more like it. Now if I may share with you that I have obtained evidence of sale of my artwork is valued at $400 for each image. Based upon a sale at a silent auction in Texas that occurred in August of this year.
The claim the business owner made at the first hearing was that the images were a gift to her. The court ruled in her favor based solely upon her word. I have a signed affidavit from her former business partner that our agreement was verbal in that I would have access to create the images in their place of business acting as house photographer and all the images that I brought to them for display were for sale off the wall.
On the audio recording the business owner requests several times that if I provide documentation that the artwork was her property, she would not file a protective order against me.
This to me is indication that she was fully aware that the images were NOT a gift, based upon my understanding of the Missouri statutes I have researched on my own and the one one you shared with me.
So from this point do you think there is anything in addition I need from your prior suggestions and the information on the audio recording?
You will need to get the former business partner to show up and testify. The affidavit could be deemed inadmissible because it is hearsay. A judge could let it in because rules of evidence in small claims are somewhat relaxed but you should be prepared.
The audio tape can be used to show the current owner was unsure of the status of the art. She did not indicate it was a gift in the recording. The only thing you need to prove is that you created the artwork, that gives you ownership.
A gift requires that you give the artwork to a party with the intent it be a gift. You could ask exactly when the current owner was handed the artwork from you as a gift. You can also ask what was said to indicate the artwork was intended as a gift.
On the audio the owner asks at least four times for documentation from me showing she has ownership.
In your opinion does that support my claim that her request for that documentation in lieu of NOT filing a protective order clearly shows that she was FULLY AWARE that the artwork was not a gift to her?
Is there a limit to how many times we can communicate? I am getting more and more satisfied with each response, and I really don't think I need a free trial.
Not filing a protective order is not conclusive of anything. If you were to take the objects she would have you arrested for larceny.
Actually we can communicate more. Since you are not rating my responses I cannot spend more time with you. I have answered quite a bit more than your original question without compensation.
I do appreciate your information. Not real keen with your first response as it was a copy and paste. However I do feel that for not being represented, you are sharing information that is consistent with Twombly v. Torres and pleases me greatly.Will my card be charged more than $18? For our correspondence? And I do not want any further charges after today? Please answer this and I will be happy to rate you so that you may be compensated.
You will only be charged the $18.00 for this thread. You will receive a follow up survey I would also appreciate a high rating there as well.
Thank you VERY MUCH! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!!!
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