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LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  9+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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Civil law question We plan to take a contractor to small

Customer Question

Civil law question
We plan to take a contractor to small claims court and have questions:We believe Florida Law limits small claims court to $5000. Can I take this contractor to court for $5000 and my wife take him to court for another $5000 if we are claiming a total of $10,000 missing refund?Would we be wise to engage an attorney when going to small claims court?How does small claims court work? Can we request he bring in documentation (dates and $ amounts) to support his claims?
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 13 days ago.

Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help with your question and concern

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 13 days ago.

A small claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $5,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys' fees. However, you both would need to sue him together, if you are both on the contract and this stems from the same incident/breach of contract claim. If he owes you $10,000, you simply sue outside of small claims court and you can retain an attorney and if you prevail, ask to be awarded attorney fees. Once you sue him, you need to show and prove your claim. The burden would then shift to him to raise any defenses which he may have and would need to bring in documents and evidence to show what he is claiming.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
We gave a building contractor a $10,000 deposit on a $180, 000 remodel. No physical work was done.. we had a signed agreement (not a contract per se..which we wanted) We already received a check for $2200. He claimed that was all that was left of the deposit. He has given us nothing to show what he did or didn't do.
I have communications where he says he will do this and do that. But nothing was done as far as I know. I told him to put a hold on all work that would incur expenses (have written proof) and have written proof of his statement that he would return deposit if he didn't get the permit through and he didn't even apply for the permit.
I already consulted with an attorney who said his office would probably charge about $10,000 to take a case like this to get back $8000. Advice? Should we try to find a lawyer who handles small claims court cases? If yes, where do I find such an attorney?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 13 days ago.

While they may charge $10,000, if the court finds in your favor, you can have the contractor pay your attorney fees, so it will not be as if you are paying more to sue then you can recover. Small claims court is set up for you to represent yourself and if you want to use it, can simply sue for the $5000 limit.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
The "hold all work" was put on quite early in this process. Not only did he not apply for the permit, he didn't have the finished drawings the architect was working on, in order to even start to order any materials.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Not knowing or have any familiarity with small claims court, would we be wise to try to obtain an attorney?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Also, the check for $2200 he returned to us was a cashiers check. If we do cash it, does that work against us in some form of saying we accepted his payment?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 13 days ago.

Yes, it would and you should sue him in circuit court and go after him for EVERYTHING he owes AND damages suffered, as a result along with attorney fees and costs. There is nothing wrong with cashing the $2200, as it was part of an attempt to pay you back and in no way a form of settlement.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you... Your advice seems solid to me. Will give an excellent rating.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 13 days ago.

You are very welcome and I wish you the best. I look forward to the positive rating as well.