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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Judge Mathis, My question is pertaining to a vehicle that

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Judge Mathis,
My question is pertaining to a vehicle that Mr Newman signed a contract to purchase from me. The contract specifically states that he is to pay a certain amount each month. He has not paid for the car and will not return it. I am not sure of the vehicle status. He lives in Florida and I am in North Carolina. He said he will pay when he gets the money. He also stated that his other car was in an accident and is totaled. I am afraid that it was my Mercedes Benz that was in the accident. Can I demand all my money since he has breached the contract? I have all the email and text messages that transpired between us.

Thanks

Josephine Fludd [email protected]
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Yes, you can demand your money. if he does not pay, you have the right and the ability to file a lawsuit seeking damages. The fact that he totaled the car in an accident does not relieve him of the obligation to pay you. Your contract was final and enforceable when the sale was made - it doesn't matter what happens to the car later. If there isn't a signed contract giving you the right to repossess the car, you don't have the ability to take it back, but you can insist that he pay you for it.

If you want to file in Small Claims Court, that would have to be done in Florida, since that's where he lives. However, the Florida limit is $5,000 for Small Claims, and I don't know if the car is more than that. The other option - if he traveled to North Carolina to make the purchase - is to sue in the NC Superior Court.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


He did travel to North Carolina to pick up the car. You said I could file in NC Superior Court? Do you mean in Small Claims Court? Tell me what you are talking about. I really need to get this settled. What if Small Claims Court says I can't do it? Give me more details.


 


Thanks


 


Josephine

Unfortunately, you cannot sue a resident of Florida in North Carolina Small Claims Court. You would have to go to the regular civil courts. Claims of up to $10,000 are heard in the District Court and claims for more than that go to the Superior Court.

A case is started by filing a Complaint, along with a summons that is obtained from the court. There is also a filing fee, which depends on your location. If you cannot afford the filing fee, the clerk should have forms you can use to request a waiver. The Complaint just needs to state who you both are and explain what happened (and what you're suing for). Here is an example of what that might look like.
http://ocw.kaplan.edu/legal/civil-litigation-i/course/documents/3complaint-breachofcontract.pdf

Then, the other party is served with notice of the lawsuit and has an opportunity to respond. If he doesn't pay and you can't negotiate a resolution, you'll have a trial.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Should I file where I am located or do I have to file in Florida where the defendant is?

That's something that everyone has to consider before filing. If the agreed sales price for the car was less than $5,000, it may be much easier to file in Florida Small Claims Court. The small claims courts are easier for people to bring their own suits without a lawyer, and you can't make him pay for your legal fees. It'll be easier to collect the money after a judgment, and you won't have to litigate jurisdiction, because the Florida courts automatically have jurisdiction over him.

You also can't make him pay for your travel costs, which is one of the benefits of filing in North Carolina. The negative side to filing there is that, if he doesn't pay a judgment, you'll have to file it in Florida to collect it, which could mean going to Florida anyway, or paying a lawyer to do it for you. Either of those things could be expensive.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


He already said he will not show up in court. I am afraid I am at a disadvantage here.


I guess you will take the $38.00. I guess I already knew the answer.


 


I will contact my card company to let them know it's only a one time fee.


 

If he doesn't show up in court, you get a judgment against him - that means you automatically win. If he owns a home, the judgment can be used to put a lien on it. If he has a bank account, you can use it to take money out of that account. If he has a job, you may be able to garnish his wages.

So, him saying that he refuses to go to court does not mean that you're just out the money. It means that he forfeits the right to defend himself, and you win.

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