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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My name is***** am currently going through an

Customer Question

Hello my name is***** am currently going through an issue with an ex-boyfriend of mine. He has taken me to small claims court for a "personal loan" of 1,485.18 (with no signed documentation) in New York State. Unfortunately I was unable to make the date last august, due to prior court engagements for a dwi. I had my lawyer talk to the plaintiff (ex-boyfriend) and they talked down the money to 1,000 dollars. I had thirty days to pay it. My boyfriend then tried to pay the 1,000 to the plaintiff and he would not accept because I wasn't the one communicating with him. Which I feel very uncomfortable doing because this feel likes harassment. After that i didn't do anything further and let the matter go. A few months later I received a letter to my parents house from the plaintiff - he is a lawyer working at his dads firm/ where the letter came from. In the enclosed letter (subpoena) the plaintiff wrote that the law firm demanded me to come there and be put under oath to pay him back. I was unable to go to them due to work, and quite frankly do not want to go at all. I feel pressured and it is held at his law firm in an unjust bias situation. I want to vacate and would much rather take this back into an official courtroom. rather than having to call his office and speaking with the plaintiff over the whole legal adjustments. Do you have any advice you can give me of this situation? please
JA: OK. The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: I have
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Lawyer should know?
Customer: He is taking me to court for gifts we both put our names on the card for a trip of Florida he took me on, and all the dinners he took me out to.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 11 months ago.
Dear Customer,I am sorry to learn of this situation.If I understand correctly, you were sued, but you retained an attorney to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.You tried to pay the settlement (through a third party offering the funds in full, and within the stated time period, but the plaintiff refused to accept). I would recommend contacting the attorney that you negotiated the settlement with in the first place.The plaintiff is taking an unreasonable position here.The problem is that you do not post whether or not an actual judgment was entered (which would require you to make a motion to vacate), or how the case was resolved in court (a settlement outside of court usually has some form of reporting to the court, either delaying the court hearing, entering a "stipulated judgment", vacating a judgment, or agreeing to enter a "satisfaction of judgment."As you already have a lawyer that is familiar with the case, (and quite frankly this is a very, very, small case (in the scope of civil lawsuits, I understand this is not a trivial amount to you, and I do not mean to minimize the issue, I am only saying this because it shouldn't be a difficult issue for your attorney to handle), your attorney should be able to resolve this with a phone call or two, then following up to ensure that the court proceeding is properly resolved (vacating any judgment that was entered, or ensure that the case is dismissed as you attempted to settle).If the plaintiff is an attorney, they should be very cautious about this, playing these sorts of games is considered "bad faith" litigation tactics by your average litigant, but if you are a member of the bar, you can wind up with a report to the bar association - and for a dispute over $1,500.00 that would be incredibly foolish. (So while I don't recommend coming out of the gate with a threat to go to the bar association, you do have some leverage).
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. There was a judgment placed on his behalf. I asked for an adjournment because he knew I had prior engagements with a different town court for the dwi case I had. He did not grant the adjournment. My main question is do I have to go his law firm tomorrow at 10 am tomorrow? He did state in a recent letter that
"should you wish to avoid having to appear for you deposition, you may satisfy the full amount of the judgment owed plus interest. In this action, a judgment was entered against you in the amount of $1,485.18 on November 5,2015. As of April 14, 2016 it has been 192 days since the judgment date and interest had accrued in the amount of $70.31, which makes the total amount to 1,555.49. AS interest continues to accrue with each day of non-payment ($0.3662 per day), please contact me on the day you wish to make payment to confirm the final amount."
With all of that being said is it illegal for me not to his law firm tomorrow, and could I be held in content of court? I feel harassed at this point and do not want to step foot in an unbiased arena of wolves. More thoughts?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
When I missed the court date in November I called the court it was to be held at and the secretary told me that if I do not go and the plaintiff did not grant adjournment , it would then go onto my credit score. Which it has -- what is so confusing is why would I be told " WE COMMAND YOU" to be put under oath at his law firm? Is this legal?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 11 months ago.
Dear Customer,What he is doing tomorrow is holding a "debtor's exam" - while this is a valid way to enforce a judgment, the problem in your case is that the two of you had a valid settlement agreement, which you tried to pay and he rejected payment (on the pretext that you didn't personally deliver the money).This is why I would recommend contacting the attorney you spoke to initially.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Do you recommend I call the bar association ?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 11 months ago.
You can make a report if you like, as I noted, this is not proper conduct for a member of the bar.http://www.nysba.org/resolvingconflict/ Unfortunately I cannot advise you one way or the other.Do understand, a complaint to the bar will not resolve the immediate issue, they should however investigate the problem, and may take disciplinary action against the attorney. (The bar complaint is dealt with separately from your small claims dispute).
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. One last thing, could I be held in contempt of court if I don't go tomorrow? I am only asking because I truly do not feel comfortable going to his law firm. I have only been able to contact him on the phone for adjournments due to work. I feel threatened and do not want to go somewhere vulnerable. Is it legal for me/lawyer to call him in the morning and ask for it to be held in an official courtroom? He did say this would be the last he adjourned it but this whole situation to me seems surreal and I feel he cannot posses this much power over the situation unjustly the way he is.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 11 months ago.
Dear Customer,It is possible that the plaintiff can pursue a contempt proceeding for failure to submit to a debtor's exam. I understand you don't feel comfortable speaking to your ex, but a law firm office is not going to be reasonably seen as an unsafe location.To actually get the contempt order, they must actually file a motion with the court (it doesn't take a long time, usually about 10 days past the date of filing), but it does give your attorney at least a short amount of time to contact them to try to deal with the issues we discussed above (i.e. he entered into a valid and binding settlement, then refused payment and went ahead and took out a judgment against you anyway).What you can try though is contacting the lawyer that helped you in the first place, first thing tomorrow morning, let them know what is going on, and get advice and instruction there.(Unfortunately I am limited to providing you general information - telling you what is possible, and what the issues are, but I cannot advise you or provide you with formal legal or strategic advice/instruction).