Legal

Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Legal
This answer was rated:

Im not sure wheather this is a general law question or specific...I

I'm not sure wheather this...
I'm not sure wheather this is a general law question or specific...I was sued in small claims court and do not feel that the judge gave a fair judgement or heard the case fairly...he presumed several things and I believe his decision was made on his misgivings to where my business is located and who we actually are in the community...he made several statements about my business that were not true and when I answered the questions he rolled his eyes and did not seem to hear my answers...this is a long drawn out story but i would like some advice as to what happens next and weather I should appeal the judges ruling
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Legal Question
Answered in 10 minutes by:
12/3/2010
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
Experience: Retired
Verified
Justice of the Peace rulings are always speculative. The judge hears loads of stories and typically is pretty bored with everyone, no matter what the issue is. Rolling of eyes is par for the course.

If you really think that the justice got it wrong, then you can appeal, the case will be sent to the county court and you will get an entirely new hearing. There is a $16.00 appeal fee (last time I checked), and you must post a "surety bond," which basically means that if you lose the appeal, then you must pay immediately - and the bond will cost you some extra money, too.

If you want to tell me what the case was about, and what the justice said, then I can probably tell you whether you're wasting your time on appeal.

Hope this helps.
Ask Your Own Legal Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago

okay the case starts out as a simple request by an individual to park his truck (that he was trying to sell) at our place of business (we are licensed by tx dot to sell utility trailers and used vehicles)(those are two separate licenses in Texas)...he asked what we would charge him to park it there somewhere for 30 days...my husband "rented" him a spot for the truck for $50 for 30 days...he had a "special racing motor" in the truck (he refers to the truck as custom) and wanted all prospective buyers and tire kickers refered to him...he placed his sign, and phone number on the vehicle and took the keys with him...some 25 to 28 days later the truck gets vandalized at night....the tailgate is stolen and the grille is ripped to pieces so the front "custom" bumper can be unbolted and taken, while stealing the parts there was quite a bit of damage done...his initial police report reported tailgate, grille, headlites and bumper.

The first thing out of the guy's mouth when he arrived at the lot was, "you have insurance for this" husband replys, "not covering your truck" a-hole replies, "you better and why haven't you contacted the police" husband replies, "Not our property, i think you need to make that report."

the guy goes to the police station returns with an officer and fingerprints, snapshots and info is collected. nothing from us though just mr. a-hole.

1 or 2 days later while we were out of town on business he made verbal threats to our daughter that her old man would be paying for the damage to his truck one way or another...long story short lawsuit in mail Aug 30th

Customer reply replied 7 years ago
<p>in preparing for the suit I answered the lawsuit with a letter to the court, explaining that the $4443.64 was an inflated value for the vehicle, that we should not be held responsible because the vandalism happened when our business was closed and beyond reasonable business hours...the secruity at the location was evident (there is a 2 board picket fence and no gate as several business and a residence are located on the property. not to mention that I have been in business there 8 years and displayed numerous vehicle and trailers for sale and never had anything damaged or stolen. </p><p>my only defense is that the original owner of the vehicle said it was not a custom truck the options on the truck when purchased brand new were considered stock custom but nothing had been done to make the truck out of the ordinary specially painted, or decked out...the custom was the motor (which was not stolen or vandalized while on my property)</p><p>the truck however had been vandalized before mr. a-hole purchased it. the radio and some electronic and the tires and rims had been stolen. the interior of the truck was not in a repaired fashion when the truck was delivered to our property to be sold. the tires were 4 worn out tires and only three hubcaps. this was mentioned during our case to the point that the judge asked about that damage as if it happened at the same time these are two different cases and i was trying to show that the truck could have been a magnet (if you will) for vandals</p><p> </p><p>court day...judge "why are you sueing mr and mrs business owner today"</p><p> </p><p>mr. a-hole " first off your honor, my truck was a custom truck not a common stock truck like she is trying to make it out to be. i asked mr business owner what he would charge me to park my vehcile at his park and sell...he said $50 and i paid him cash...(nothing about him taking the keys or that verbal agreement)</p><p> </p><p>judge: you took $50 from him to park his truck there?</p><p>mr business: yes $50 cash</p><p>judge: do you know what that makes you liable for? </p><p>Mr. Business: no, but surely it doesn't make me responsible for a truck that isn't mine and obviously has little securtiy after my business closes</p><p>This part of the hearing was noisy like the judge, the a-hole and my husband interrupting each other. </p><p>mr a-hole interrupted my husband and the judge just started accepting his photos of the damaged truck and OLD photos of the 92 gmc in it's prime time. and 1 estimate for repair to the truck from a classic car restoration shop...somewhere in here is when the judge looks at me and says, "what do you have to say for yourself?"</p><p>I say, excuse me? what do I have to say for myself?</p><p>judge says, "yeah (while looking through papers) why don't you think mr. a-hole should sue you. </p><p>I say well first i never met this man, i didn't even know what he looked like before today, judge interrupts and sas well your husband did...</p><p>that was when I think he had really no interest in anything I could have said.</p><p>the judge: my precinct county judge: had no idea where my business was located, when he askes where we were located and I began to explain he held his hand up to silence me and rolled his eyes...after it was obvious to us that he had made his decision with little to no information from us...he questioned as to whether the Dept of trans had sited my company before...he asked like this..."oh, now I know, you are that place that dps has gone to and investiagted or cited before aren't you?</p><p>my reply (as he's piling his papers and leaving the stand) no sir I have never been investigated by dps or cited and he was walking away before i finshed the statement</p><p> </p><p>he went out of the courtroom and came back with a kelley's blue book value...i said I have that info...he said let me see what you have...I said I also have pictures of the truck when it was new and a statement from the original owner and the judge said, I don't need to look at that I see the damage, i know the truck, i stopped and looked at it myself, </p><p>my husband started to tell the judge that we felt like the truck was not worth $5k when it was brought there to be sold and that it definately was an inflated value and we knew the original purchase price of the truck was $2k. Judge said obviously not anymore and chose the kelley's blue book value of a truck in good condition...the explaination of a truck in good condition does not fit the description of the truck before the vandalism either. </p><p>we had not even begun to understand what the judge was saying and he and the palintiff were visiting about the fast motor and mileage on the truck like old buddies...</p>
Okay, I'm going to give you the law, first, and then explain what it means. Before I do, you have to understand that whatever you think is justified, one way or the other, it doesn't matter at all to the court. You must make your facts fit within the law such that you can win, based upon what the law is, and not what you want it to be, or think is fair -- otherwise you lose.

So, here's the law:

"Claims for breaches of bailment agreements generally can be brought as contract or tort claims depending on the particular facts of the case and the type of action the plaintiff chooses to assert." Barker v. Eckman, 213 S.W.3d 306, 310 (Tex. 2006). Bailment is defined as follows:

A delivery of personal property by one person (the bailor) to another (the bailee) who holds the property for a certain purpose under an express or implied-in-fact contract. Unlike a sale of personal property, a bailment involves a change in possession, but not title. BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 151-52 (8th ED. 2004).

The elements of bailment are (1) the delivery of personal property from one person to another for a specific purpose, (2) acceptance by the transferee of such delivery, (3) an agreement that the purpose will be fulfilled, and (4) an understanding that property will be returned to the transferor. Prime Products, Inc. v. S.S.I. Plastics, Inc., 97 S.W.3d 631, 635 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, pet. denied). A bailment agreement may be express or implied. Berlow v. Sheraton Dallas Corp., 629 S.W.2d 818, 821 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1982, writ ref'd n.r.e.).

A bailment is for the mutual benefit of the parties when the property of the bailor is delivered to and accepted by the bailee as an incident to the business in which the bailee makes a profit. Andrews v. Allen, 724 S.W.2d 893, 895 (Tex. App.--Austin 1987, no writ). The bailee need not obtain any direct monetary benefit. Id. In a bailment for the mutual benefit of the parties, the bailee is held to an ordinary or reasonable degree of care in safekeeping the subject matter of the bailment. Prime Products, 97 S.W.3d at 635 (citing Trammell v. Whitlock, 242 S.W.2d 157, 159 (1951)); Ampco Auto Parks, Inc. v. Williams, 517 S.W.2d 401, 403 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1974, writ ref'd n.r.e.). Moreover, in a bailment for the mutual benefit of the parties, a rebuttable presumption of negligence arises upon proof that the subject matter of the bailment was destroyed or not returned. Prime Products, 97 S.W.3d at 635; Andrews, 724 S.W.2d at 896. To overcome this presumption, the bailee has the burden of showing the cause of the loss or damage resulted from some other cause consistent with due care on its part. Prime Products, 97 S.W.3d at 635; Andrews, 724 S.W.2d at 896-97.

Explaination: In plain english, the issue for the court is whether or not you contracted to "store" the vehicle for the seller, or you contracted to rent the seller a space on the lot to sell the vehicle on his own, and that you had no interest whatsoever in what the seller would place in the space.

So, that's what you have to convince the court of, i.e., all you did was rent space, not agree to store anything, and that does not create a bailment. You didn't promise anything to the seller other than a place to park the vehicle, or whatever the seller choose to put in the space. Therefore, no bailment was created, and thus you had no duty of care towards the seller and no obligation to protect the vehicle from being damaged while on your premises, unless the damage is caused by you (e.g., you or your employees damaged the vehicle).

If you can successfully make that argument in court, then you can win -- otherwise you lose.

Hope this helps.

Edited by socrateaser on 12/3/2010 at 2:12 AM EST
Ask Your Own Legal Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago

the plain english is what we needed...the idea of convincing the court that we rented him the space (for $50) seems almost impossible although I can truthful answer the plain english statements in my mind and know that no bailment was created and we didin't have a duty to him so I am afraid this just becomes a case of he said, she said...scary

 

do you suggest that on my repair orders i make some statement to the fact that we are not responsible for loss or damage to property left for repais nd maintence?

do you suggest that on my repair orders i make some statement to the fact that we are not responsible for loss or damage to property left for repais nd maintence?

A: A blanket disclaimer is always a good idea, because it disuades many customers from suing. However, for repair issues, no disclaimer would be recognized by a court, because you would in fact, be creating a bailment by taking the vehicle with the implied promise to return it in at least as good condition as you received it.

Good luck with your case. Hope you have a very Happy Holiday season.
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
Experience: Retired
Verified
socrateaser and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Ask socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
39,498 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Retired

socrateaser is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it.

LeeMichigan

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Tina

Tina

Lawyer

8,775 satisfied customers

JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

24,353 satisfied customers

Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.

INFOLAWYER

INFOLAWYER

Attorney

20,727 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses

JPEsq

JPEsq

Attorney

2,132 satisfied customers

Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor

Law Educator, Esq.

Law Educator, Esq.

Attorney

42,358 satisfied customers

JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law

Ellen

Ellen

Lawyer, Consultant

8,238 satisfied customers

25 years of experience helping people like you.

Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

Attorney

292 satisfied customers

7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.

< Previous | Next >

Related Legal Questions
Can i ask you a question about small claims court? Michigan
can i ask you a question about small claims court? … read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,720 satisfied customers
My son is looking for a small claims attorney in the Omaha,
my son is looking for a small claims attorney in the Omaha, NE area. he had damage to his home, insurance paid to have it repaired but the roof continues to leak. he has made numerous attempts to cont… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
42,358 satisfied customers
I filed a small claims against Verizon. Was awarded
I filed a small claims against Verizon. Was awarded $6500.00. However, Verizon filed a motion in district court (not small claims) for award to be vacated. Was granted.Even so, contact states both Ver… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,403 satisfied customers
I'm a plaintiff needing to immediately in small claims court
I'm a plaintiff needing to immediately in small claims court file a Motion to Strike a Motion to Quash/Dismiss. I have two concurrent small claims cases in two cities. The defendant submitted a Motion… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
42,358 satisfied customers
What happens in a small claims/eviction when a defendant is
what happens in a small claims/eviction when a defendant is not properly served the summons papers … read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,720 satisfied customers
I'm a contract employee but on the website as sales
Hi Pearl I'm a contract employee but on the website as sales director, and am supposed to participate in meetings. Can I refuse the meetings if I'm a contract worker? … read more
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco
3,395 satisfied customers
What is the highest limit in small claims court in nc.
what is the highest limit in small claims court in nc … read more
Lori
Lori
Juris Doctor
312 satisfied customers
I need someone to review a consultant contract for insurance
I need someone to review a consultant contract for insurance adjusting. … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,899 satisfied customers
I am contemplating a small claims action and this is my
I am contemplating a small claims action and this is my first. My wife and I purchased two cell phones and related agreements from Victra/Verizon and promises were made; etc. Part of their process is … read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
18,393 satisfied customers
An attorney is suing me in small claims court for not
an attorney is suing me in small claims court for not signing a settlement agreement in a case that i agreed to settle only after he agreed to lower his fee and expenses but then didn't do so. I refus… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
42,358 satisfied customers
What is the maximum dollar limit for Colorado small claims.
What is the maximum dollar limit for Colorado small claims … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,403 satisfied customers
My small claims court date was postponed by the defendant
My small claims court date was postponed by the defendant from October 24 as he works in China. He set the date for January 4. I have business in Australia until Jan 6. Please list the following Janua… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
Lawyer
39,498 satisfied customers
I am a 1099 contract employee living on NC. I am contracted
I am a 1099 contract employee living on NC. I am contracted with a publishing company headquartered in Chicago. There are a lot of issues with this company. However, the most recent has caused me some… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,403 satisfied customers
Is it difficult to contest a small claims decision when you
Is it difficult to contest a small claims decision when you feel the underlying decision was not fair … read more
Ely
Ely
Counselor at Law
Juris Doctor
24,353 satisfied customers
Which State division oversees title insurance companies and
Which State division oversees title insurance companies and what is a contact address for filing a complaint against a title insurer. … read more
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor
Doctoral Degree
7,173 satisfied customers
What is title insurance. I got property through title
I got property through title insurance and lost my inhearance … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,899 satisfied customers
I wanted to file in small claims court, but the contract
I wanted to file in small claims court, but the contract agreement I have is my corporation with an LLC. The template only gives me the option of filing against an individual or a corporation. Do you … read more
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B.
Juris Doctor
28,693 satisfied customers
There was a small claims suit. we filed to employee and
There was a small claims suit. we filed to employee and company. The judgement states "Employee Name; Business Name". We got a writ of execution. The constable said it could not be executed because th… read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,403 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x