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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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Hello,I am a Notary Public for California. I conduct loan

Customer Question

Hello,I am a Notary Public for California. I conduct loan signings for company that act as middle man between title company and bank. I notarized a deed of trust, but accidentally forgot to stamp it. Long story short, I was asked to fix the problem illegally. I told this company that they did not have to pay me and that I would do anything I could to fix the problem, without committing an illegal act. The signing company harassed me for two weeks to do the illegal act, but I refused. They said the act was not in illegal and that Notaris do it allmthentime and that if I didn't do it, I would be fired. So they fired me. I called secretary of states office and was told to sue them. I was assured by 6 different people from NNA and secretary of state and via an article from Secretary of State,,I did right by not complying with this misdemeanor. Mi was told that under section code 8225 or 8226 that a misdemeanor is when a notary is coerced, or solicited to commit illegal act. That is what the signing company and the title company asked me to. I was asked to take an acknowledgement and fill it out, stamp it and mail it in. The laws states that NO part of the notorial act can be added to or taken away unless Notary is in front of the person. I was also asked to have a friend go to my house, get my stamp and mail it to me while I was on vacation. A notary is never to allow anyone to handle her stamp and must keep it locked at all times while not working. So here is my questions....1). Do I have a case based on these facts?2)Can I sue the Signing Company who fired me and the title company who wrote me an email stating it is not illegal to stamp and mail an acknowledgement and that everyone does it.3) I have only been doing jobs for this company for about 6 months, however they have been by bread and butter....maybe about 70 percent of my work in last 4-6 months have been from them. So, what am I suing for?4) what would I be looking to get by suing and what is estimated damages5) and can I get a pro bono attorney and do you have any recommendations? Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Fran-mod replied 4 years ago.
Hi, I'm a moderator for this topic. I've been working hard to find a professional to assist you right away, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
You can search, however if you ate unable to find a responder by 4:00 p.m.,, please cancel. Thank you
Expert:  Fran-mod replied 4 years ago.
Hello Majeda,

We will search for an expert for you.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

Were you an employee of the company you did work for, and receive a W-2 form for tax purposes, or were you an independent contractor who received a 1099 each tax season?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have to submit a w-2 form for each company that I work for when I sign up with the company. But I also received a 1099 from each company that I earn over 600 per year from. But these are company's that contract with Notarys who are officers of the state. Seems like they are mandated to to follow the law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.
Good morning,

Thank you for the clarification of the situation.

Actually, a W-2 Form is the form an employer gives an employee each year setting out the wages and withholdings that were paid to and on behalf of the employee in the previous year. I believe what you are giving to the employers is probably a W-9 Form, which provides your Tax ID number or social security number so that they can issue a 1099 to you each year..

And that makes you an Independent Contractor---not an employee under CA law.

In order to be able to sue them for firing you, you would have to show that you had a contract that obligated them to continue to use your services for a specific amount of time, and that for the same period of time, you were obligated to do this work for them. Absent such an agreement, they could stop using your services any time they wanted, and you could stop working for them as well.

You were not an employee of theirs---you were another business they dealt with. Owners of businesses are not entitled to the protections afforded employees when dealing with other businesses.

You asked:

1). Do I have a case based on these facts?
I'm very sorry, but you do not have a meritorious case against the signing company for choosing to terminate their business relationship with you. They were legally allowed to do that---despite the fact that the reason they did was based on your refusal to violate the law.

They could be criminally prosecuted for the attempted violation of the law, but that prosecution is up to the prosecuting attorney in the county. And, you may file a formal complaint against the company with the DA.

2)Can I sue the Signing Company who fired me and the title company who wrote me an email stating it is not illegal to stamp and mail an acknowledgement and that everyone does it.
As there is not a meritorious case here, likewise there is no viable lawsuit against the signing company. And, while the title company gave you bad legal advise, as they were not acting as your attorney, they are not liable for the bad advice.

Because there is no viable lawsuit here, I'm sorry, but the answers to questions 3, 4 and 5 would be of no assistance to you.

I wish you the best in 2013.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So again to clarify. This company average d giving me 10 jobs a week. They tell me they need notarys Nd asked me lower my fees so that I can always get work. They used me consistany. They told me "if you do not do what we are asking you to do (which is illegal, you can not work for us anymore.). That is ok according to the law, to
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.
Good morning,

I apologize if I was not clear in my explanation of the law. I will try to be more so.

It was not legal for them to attempt to get you to violate the law. That was a criminal offense. But you can not sue them for a contract issue based on a criminal offense they committed against the state of CA.

Because you were not an employee---but rather you were an independent business they were conducting business with, under the law, either of you could terminate that business relationship any time, and no law is violated and no contract breached.

The termination of the business relationship---which as I explained may be accomplished by either of you, and at any time---- is not somehow made illegal because the reason for the termination is that you would not violate the law as they suggested.

I'm sorry. I truly do empathize with your circumstances, but the laws of CA simply do not provide a civil contract remedy based on the circumstances that you describe.

I wish you well in your future,