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If a lawyer in Guatemala ripped me off for $25,000, can I…

Customer Question
If a lawyer in...

If a lawyer in Guatemala ripped me off for $25,000, can I file suit from here?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Iowa

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No, she actually admitted it to me 2 days ago

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

She really tricked me, befriended me , etc.

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 1 minute by:
9/25/2017
Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 18,161
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Can you tell me a bit more about your situation? How did she do this? Does she have any connection to Iowa (or any other state) other than by virtue of ripping you off?

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Are you there?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
A dear friend who is Guatemalan went home to visit his mother. He was there 2 weeks and was caught with marijuana in his back pack. He awaited trial for 4 years. His lawyer communicated with me and we became good friends. I even visited her home. She told me that the only chance he had of not getting 20 years was to pay fines upfront.
She admitted to me in an email that she did not do that and feels I titled to keep the money.
Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

So to be clear, her only "connection" with Iowa is you? She's never visited Iowa, never had any interaction with the state, nor directing any advertisements specifically to Iowa, etc...?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
No
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
She is threatening hardship on him if I discuss this with anyone. He is currently at Pavoncito prison.
Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Thank you for that additional information. Please give me a few minutes while I type a response. I am still here with you, but it does take a bit of time to type a complete response.

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Again, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. The main problem with your case is what's known as "personal jurisdiction", meaning that the courts in Iowa have no "jurisdiction" to actually hear a case regarding this situation or her as a defendant. I completely understand why you want to bring the lawsuit in Iowa, as it'd be far, far more convenient for you than in Guatemala. But there are actual Constitutional issues that limit when you can sue someone who otherwise has no connection to the state and the law of the state that you're doing so. And personal jurisdiction is one of those issues. Now if she had traveled to Iowa, done business with you in Iowa, or even if the issue that you're filing a lawsuit about occurred in Iowa, then there'd be such jurisdiction. But as it is now there would not be.

Now if she were willing to "waive" any objection to this (unlikely) then you could still bring it in Iowa court. But if she chooses simply not to answer, any judgment that you do receive against her in an Iowa court would be worth no more than the piece of paper it was written on.

As such, and I'm sorry to say this, you'd need to bring a case against her in Guatemala. I'd suggest looking at the US Embassy in Guatemala's website to find english speaking attorneys: https://gt.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/attorneys/list-of-attorneys/. But to answer your question, you wouldn't be able to successfully sue in Iowa.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions).

If you can't see the stars, you may need to scroll up / down / left / or right to see them. This is where you rate so that the question will close out.

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Hello? Can you see on your screen where you need to rate it? Note that you may need to press a "submit" button after clicking on the appropriate star rating. This is what I'm waiting on from you. Thanks!

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

I see you have not responded in some time. Did you wish to continue with this question?

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Please note that I am still waiting for your response or rating...

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Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Hello?

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