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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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This question is for TexLawyer: Please find previous question

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This question is for TexLawyer:

Please find previous question and answer underneath.

We filed a lawsuit against the independent contractor employee and set for civil suit trial on 06/11/2012. While we are waiting for trial, yesterday we received a letter that states the independent contractor counter sued us. Basically it says that he was terminated and had no choice to return the equipment that he abandoned and secondly he was stressed out while he was working with us so he wants to be compensated $5000 including his lawyer expense. We have his email that he dismissed the contract first and we immediately notified that he is terminated. And the contract that he signed required him to return the trailer to the original location. How do we react to the countersue?


Original question:
An independent contractor driver of our company has been working for us for the last 1 month. He leased a trailer from us in order to haul load provided by our company. Today he notified us that he dropped the trailer in VA and quit. Our agreement clearly states that he needs to return the trailer to the pick up location in TX. In addition he abuses the company gas card and owes money. What option we have in order to get our trailer and make him liable?

TexLawyer :

Based on what you've said, it sounds like the countersuit is without merit.

TexLawyer :

His countersuit raises his defense, i.e. that he was terminated, so that relieved him of his obligations under the contract. However, his claim for $5000 and lawyer's fees is meritless. He has the burden of proof on his claim for his "stress."

TexLawyer :

He should produce evidence establishing why your actions were sufficiently stressful to entitle him to compensation.

Customer:

He terminated the contract first, the reason we sent a termination email subsequently is just because we are required by Department of transportation not allow him to operate under our authority. But the contract still require him to return the equipment to the original location. So the court can still make him liable?

TexLawyer :

Yes. If the contract is specific on that point, he is still bound by it. While the contract dealt with his obligations as a contractor, that does not necessarily mean that when he is no longer a contractor, he is free from all obligations.

Customer:

Do we need to prepare and write up our response to the court on the trial date?

TexLawyer :

If he has filed pretrial motions, you need to respond to them in writing before the trial. At the trial, you need to be prepared to put on evidence and call witnesses.

Customer:

How do I know if pretrial motions is filed?

TexLawyer :

He would have been required to send you a copy.

TexLawyer :

If no motions were filed, you should be prepared to present your case on the 11th.

Customer:

So just present evidences to the judge, right?

TexLawyer :

Correct.

Customer:

Thank you very much

TexLawyer :

Glad to help.

TexLawyer :

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Chris T., JD and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
One more additional information, the defendant is located out of state so where is he going to be served here in TX represented by his lawyer or in his own sate?
Has his attorney filed anything in the case?