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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I need to know if my hiring an attorney is the correct move ...

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I need to know if my hiring an attorney is the correct move and what damages I should ask for. So I can compare notes and reconcile the two differences.
I need to know if my hiring an attorney is the correct move and what damages I should ask for. So I can compare notes and reconcile the two differences.

My homeowners associations sued me for $1668 two years of delinquent payments and attorneys fees. I informed Mr. S that I would not be paying until the money I expended to maintain the vacant lots on either side of me, was reimbursed. Mr. S was association president and developer from 1997 to 2003. The lots were not well-maintained from 1998 to 2001 on one side and 1998 to 2002. They sent a crew to cut once a summer. I paid to have it cut, leaf removal and two fallen huge trees cut and removed (picture attached).totaling some $2,700. We had field mice because of this.

I went to court 5 times twice to either except or set a court date. When a court date was set. Mr. B who was lawyer for association spoke to me and asked what grounds I was fighting. I told him, like an idiot, the date was postponed again. When we finally got to court 5 minutes before the case was called, I was told he was non-suing me, because I am not on mortgage or deed. Only my wife could participate. I told him during our previous conversation my wife didn't want to come to court, she was only there because I had a feeling he would try this. I was only allowed to participate as a witness, and allowed reluctantly.
The judge ruled in the association's favor because Mr. B argued that the developer and the association president are two separate entities. I was not allowed to even argue there was a verbal agreement between Mr. S and myself, which would have at the very least shown the court of the games on both sides of the fence Mr. S was playing. The judge said we had an excellent case and enough proof to sue Mr. Stevenhagen personally for the $2,753.00 spent maintaining his property for 4 years. This in my opinion was crap I am not paying you if you are not doing anything.

The action:

I told them it was wrong to exclude me from my day in court and not allow me to participate in my family's defense. Mr. B informed me that it was the law. On May 23, 2008, the association levied my business account. They NEVER mentioned my wife in the writ of execution. If I can't have my day in court, then they can't have a judgment against me. And they sure can't levy my account. I am not a lawyer but I would think that's against the law and the constitution. I was there and I was denied my day in court, NON-SUED by MR B in open court. It was not my job to make sure he and the court filed the paperwork to disqualify me. This, in my opinion, is negligence. There is no legal basis to either render a judgment or attach my account.

The damages:

I use this account as an operational account for taxes, I move money from cooperate to this account to pay for autos and repairs. Because I have an IRS issue I only operate with enough to cover what is outstanding with a little cushion. So 1800 dollars could have a major effect, as it did.

• I wrote 1 check to the auction that bounced. That was for a 1999 Discovery I purchased for $1,955 and had sold for $5,300. I am a broker all my cars are sold before purchase. That deal obviously fell apart. I also have a bounced check fee for this transaction.
This was a loss of $3,345.00
• I gave a check for repairs to my mechanic. He attempted to redeem it at the counter. It was denied he charged me $50 fee.
• I wrote a check to a wholesaler for a car. He attempted to redeem it at the counter and was denied. No fees but he will not work with me again.

Other damages (punitive)

• the auction has indefinitely suspended my check writing privileges. Because of bounced check.
• I was in the process of getting a floor plan that has been denied because of the judgment and the check returned.

These two are the most serious side effects. It means as a new business I can only operate with cash. And have no line of credit whatsoever.

Example you want a car. You are going to finance with your bank for 25 thousand dollars. We buy it I must have that money in cash before it can be released. Your bank will not give me the loan check without title and car. If title is not yet turned in the auction hold my cashiers check until it is. You can't get your car I wouldn't be able to get the money to complete the deal and on. THIS IS SERIOUS.
With the floor plan I could get your car and when I get paid from your bank I can payoff floor plan. At a cost of 15 dollars a day. If selling dealer does not have a title, my time does not start until he turned it in. I could do multiple deals. And grow quickly. I have been doing business for 13 years without a single problem, no bounced checks ETC… but My Business is a new entity and has been crippled by this. Decisions on floor plans are not made locally but in corporate. I will of course appeal this decision, and with the good will built up over the years, and the local auctions backing me possibly get this reversed. BUT I SHOULDN'T HAVE TOO.

At the same bank there is a joint account with more than enough money to levy, they never did any diligence. They never went after the correct party.

As for the other two checks it is very embarrassing. and not doing business with the wholesaler may cost me 10 to 20 k per year in profit. The auction however will cost me at least triple that.

I have recently been on the radio and have agreed to be a sponsor for this radio show. One appearance gave me 11 potential clients and real profit of 8,900 dollars, without a floor plan or checks I cannot handle this volume.

What actions on should I take and what amounts would you suggest for damages.

Edited by Customer (name blocked for privacy) on June 2 2008 at 12:19am

Optional Information:
nashville, Tennessee

Already Tried:
I have tried nothing going to retain a lawyer want to have idea the lawyer has some idea of what he is talking about, I am sure this is malicious but it never hurts for a second oppinion
Customer (name blocked for privacy)
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 9 years ago.

Are you saying that the suit was the association vs. you, but the real party in interest was your wife, and that the court gave judgment against you, regardless, instead of dismissng the law suit entirely?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
case was assoc vs my wife and myself. the lawyer non sued me in the courtroom before the case was heard by the judge then announced the nonsuit to the judge. the judge did let me participate as a witness.
the judgement was rendered on my wife and myself any way I do not know how that could be unless lawyer did not follow through with paper work.
however the end result was I was not allowed to participate because I was not on the deed or mortgage. yet the judgment still had my wife and myself.
But the writ was only ME DID not even mention my wife. the attorney may have forgot or did it on purpose. but he had no as i no longer should have been a party
Expert:  socrateaser replied 9 years ago.
and the account that was levied. Was your wife on that account?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
no my business account only my social with dba, and she wasent named on the writ anyway
Expert:  socrateaser replied 9 years ago.

This is an incredibly bizarre outcome. You may have a separate suit against the judgment creditor for an unlawful execution, because he has taken your separate property. The issue will revolve around whether or not all of the property of each spouse is liable for the debts of the other incurred during marriage while residing in Tennessee.

I've searched the Tennesee Code and I cannot find a statute controlling this question at the moment. However, if you contact a local attorney, he/she can probably dig it out of the Tennessee statutes pretty quickly.

You probably also have an appeal for harmful error, because the judge should have continued the trial as soon as he realized that you were non-suited from the case and the real party in interest, who was relying on your representation, was not present to defend herself. As you said, your wife never got her day in court.

However, the most pertinent issue is whether or not the garnishment of your account was lawful. And, until we find out what your wife's rights are to your separate assets during marriage in satisfaction of a debt, we can't answer the question.

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