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I have a question about a civil issue.. Nothing. Trying to…

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I have a question about a civil issue.

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

Virginia

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

Nothing. Trying to understand some papers received in the mail and what we need to do next.

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

This is an issue regarding a possible unlawful retainer suit regarding personal property that is in a private garage.

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Answered in 12 minutes by:
7/8/2018
LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32,890
Experience: 10+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help with your question and concern

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Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. What papers did you receive?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
My husband has stored several items, including two large truck cabs, in the private garage of his best friend (Bobby Worley)for over 15 years. The property is owned by the friend's mother (Shirley Worley).They worked on these trucks together. They provided my husband with keys to the garage (they also have keys), and never asked him for any kind of rent or other fees. This was a friendly verbal agreement. There was no lease of any kind and it was clear that no rent was expected. This friend is now going through a divorce because he had an affair. My husband called to ask about the situation which led to an argument about "getting out of his business". My husband offered to move the trucks and Bobby, who has POA, told him NOT to do so. He then told him NOT to come to the property. My husband has complied with both requests. They have not spoken since, then we receive this without any request to move the trucks. The situation is complicated by the fact that my husband's belongings are blocked in the garage by other heavy equipment owned by the Worley family. We received this letter - dated 6/26 - on July 6, leaving us very little time to move these trucks. These are not operable vehicles, but rather cabs to large tractor trailers that they worked on together as a hobby.

Thank you and please allow me a moment

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
To clarify, at no point was my husband asked to move this property before we received these legal documents. He will be unable to remove his property unless the Worley family first moves theirs, which will also be a laborious process, however, it appears to me that they are threatening a suit if they are not moved within 30 days from 6/26.

Your husband should contact the attorney Monday and speak with them about this and advise that this is the first they are hearing of it and are happy and willing to remove the items but just need X amount of time because they need to do Y. It is not as easy as just getting the keys and moving them and if their client needs to move things and help to clear space, they need their cooperation. Now, if he was served with a summons and complaint from the court and there is a lawsuit, he needs to file an answer or raise any defenses, in the time stated and appear as well, to contest this.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
They also provided us with a Power of Attorney document, which allows both Bobby and his sister Beth to have independent POA. Beth signed the agreement to retain their attorney.

POA gives them control over someone and their affairs and certain issues. If they have control over their mo and her property, they can act for her, so there is nothing wrong with that.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Do you mean that he should contact this attorney, or that we should contact our own attorney? We do have keys, and so do the Worleys (they have full access to the garage). I did attach the summons we received. Can you see that? I can't determine if it is "real" or a partially completed document to use as a threat.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I understand that they can act for her as POA, but on the one hand Bobby, who has power, has told my husband not to move the trucks or come to the property. Then his mother and sister (who also has POA) send this document. So their actions are in conflict.

I can not see it from the photo, very well. I am saying that if your husband can and will remove the items, he can contact their attorney to arrange this to resolve this,if that is all that they seek and want.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It also appears in the summons that they are indicating that WE must pay her attorney fees. Can they really do this??
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Let me try to take another photo of the summons. Just a moment.

Since they retained an attorney, it would appear that Bobby should not be listened to and you want to contact their attorney. As far as attorney fees, that would be up to the Judge to decide to award, if they prevail but I think in this case, he has good faith arguments and possible defenses to raise, if he never was advised to remove these items and there was an agreement to store them.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I'm trying to copy that document again now. I think you can read the first page. Attaching in a moment... But do we actually have to retain an attorney and go to court to ensure that we don't have to pay her attorney fees?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
See attached scan of the summons. Sorry, the second page will be hard to read.
Were you served with this or just mailed it by their attorney?
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It came in the regular mail.

You do need to appear in court if this can not be resolved. It will be up to the Judge to decide if attorney fees should be awarded and you can certainly retain your own attorney to represent you, as it is always in your best interest to do so.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
We also should not be responsible for the fees to move their property, which will be required to actually get to our property. I am concerned about that as well.

Yes, that is correct. In order for them to prevail, they are going to need to show that he no longer had permission to use the property and store the property and that they gave him the proper notice to remove these items and he refused. If they have allowed this for all these years and never said a word, they can not just file and prevail, when they failed to act in good faith and advise him they wanted it out. They also need to cooperate and clear the space, to allow him to do this. Since you are concerned, you can retain an attorney to represent you. You can also contact the it attorney tomorrow and see if they would just agree to dismiss this if you remove the items and tell them what you need their client to do, to make this happen.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
you would suggest that we contact their attorney instead of contacting the Worleys directly, as a first step?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I believe they have also misrepresented to their attorney that there was a rental expectation. Bobby's wife and daughter have already told us they will testify that this was NEVER the case, and there was no written document of any kind.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Sorry - I am referring to rental fees on that last comment. They have referenced rent in the letter, but it was clear to everyone, including Bobby, that rent was not expected and my husband was never asked for rent, either verbally or in writing.

Yes, since they are represented by an attorney, you need to contact their attorney and speak with them. It sounds as though there are a few people involved with all of them having different versions of this agreement, so it needs to be known who is telling their attorney what and what evidence they have, if any. If they want or expected rent, there would need to be evidence to show and support a demand was made or an agreement was made.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The first time that rent was ever mentioned, in over 15 years, was when we received this letter from the attorney.

The mere allegation alone without any evidence may make it very hard for them to recover. This is why you want an attorney, to defend you and if you hire one and prevail, you could possible be awarded attorney fees.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay. So if the attorney persuades them to dismiss, then we would not need to go to court. The notification gives us very little time to actually get the property out, especially since we need their cooperation, but you believe that their attorney should negotiate an extension of the date after they speak with us, under the circumstances? If they don't, then we would need to go to court. Is that right?

They may but need to speak with their client. The goal is to get the property out. If you call and explain that this is the first you are hearing of this and happy to do so, their attorney should speak with their client to cooperate. Until they dismiss this, you do need to appear and respond, as stated in the summons and complaint, to avoid being defaulted.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
We can respond, but there is no hearing date on the summons, so it is very confusing. I don't understand how we would appear.

They would send you a date to appear if nothing is stated on the summons and complaint. You can look online or call the clerk tomorrow, to confirm no date has been set

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
One last thing...this summons has my husband's name on it. He typically has me handle any sort of situations regarding paperwork, finances, official documents, etc. Does he need to speak directly to their attorney or can she speak to me? Or could we both be on the phone with her?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
His general practice is that he gives me permission to speak with anyone on the phone about official business that he needs to handle.

Yes, he does as you can not represent him. Since he is being sued, he needs to represent himself or have an attorney do so.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay. Looks like we'll need to get the attorney then. So, based on your review of this, these documents indicate that he is getting sued? Is that correct? The reason I ask is because Bobby has indicated that they just want the property moved, but we are not "getting sued". But the approach they have takeh indicates to me that we are getting sued. Can you clarify?

Yes, that is correct. At this point, do not listen to Bobby. It is clear they have an attorney and your husband or an attorney you hire, need to contact their attorney Monday. He is getting sued but the relief that they seek, is not money but action, regarding him removing these items or else they will do so on their own.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
we do not have an attorney at this point. Can you recommend what kind of attorney we need? And how to get one secured quickly? My husband and I are both out of town this week, in separate locations, which also complicates matters.

You can contact the VA Bar and they have an attorney referral service set up. You can also use martindale.com or lawyers.com to find an attorney and you want a civil litigation attorney to represent you.

http://www.vsb.org/vlrs/

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Great. Thanks very much for your help this morning.

My pleasure and glad I was able to assist.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I apologize - I have one more question. We are located in the Richmond, VA area and the Worleys are near Roanoke...about 3 hours distance away. Do we need to find an attorney in their area, since that is the location of the property? Or do we need an attorney near here, since the summons appears to be filed in Hanover County, where we live?

You want to find an attorney in the county where the lawsuit is pending or close thereto.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Okay. I assume that is Hanover County as stated on the summons?

Yes, correct.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you.

My pleasure

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