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Peter McGrath

Peter McGrath’s Answers

207 total


  • Is the city of buffalo liable

    feburary 2015 my water line became frozen, leaving me without water for a whole week. I do have the water line replacement insurance but they told me that my policy does not cover frozen pipes, so I had to call a plumber. What the plumber discover...

    Peter’s Answer

    The City of Buffalo may be liable; that said, if you ever plan on bringing an action against the City, you must serve the City with a document called a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the alleged claim. Here is some information on what a Notice of Claim is, and what needs to be included in such a Notice: http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/6jd/forms/srforms/ntc_howto.pdf

    From what you have provided above, you may be time barred from bringing an action against the City as you may be outside of the mandated 90 day period for the filing of the Notice of Claim.

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  • How do I get my security deposit back from my old landlord?

    He said I would get it back and is now ignoring me.

    Peter’s Answer

    Basically, you have 2 options: (1) file an action in small claims; and/or (2) file a complaint with the New York Attorney General's Office (https://www.ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdfs/complaints/cns003web_rentsecurity.pdf). If the property is located in Buffalo, the small claims office is located at the Buffalo City Court, 50 Delaware Avenue, First Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202. In the meantime, you should get all of your evidence together (ie. if your landlord stated in writing that he would return the deposit, any before and after pictures that you may have, etc.). Good luck!

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  • Would like to get an annulment (cannot afford divorce). Would infidelity be an exception?

    Spouse was unfaithful before and after marriage - would this count for a reason to be able to qualify for annulment in New York State? Marriage has been for one year and we have a child.

    Peter’s Answer

    As others have aptly stated an annulment is likely out of the picture. If you and your husband can agree on such things as custody, visitation, and the separation of property, you can likely proceed in an uncontested posture which will save you a lot of money. Some area divorce attorneys, including myself, offer flat-fee arrangements and payment plans for such divorces. Good luck.

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  • I am having a problem with my publisher. I believe I have grounds to stand on as far as bringing a lawsuit against him.

    My question is, will a lawyer demand money from me up front to file a lawsuit or does he look at the case and if he takes it takes so much of the settlement?

    Peter’s Answer

    This question cannot be answered without a thorough evaluation of your case. It seems that your biggest hurdle in finding an attorney to take your case on a contingent fee basis (a portion of the recovery) is that even if a judgment is entered by a court, it may be difficult to execute on such a judgment -- contingency fees are often used when an attorney is sure that a judgment/settlement will be paid (ie. insurance). Good luck!

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  • Do i really need a divorce lawyer if we dont have anything abd have been apart for 10 yrs

    I really need to know what to do and if i do need a lawyer how much could this cost me

    Peter’s Answer

    You are never required to have an attorney in an action for divorce. That said, it is generally a good idea. Based on the limited facts that you have provided, it may be possible for you to obtain an uncontested divorce; which is primarily paperwork and does not require actual court appearances. You can obtain a form book with instructions from the Erie County Clerk's Office, or online (the forms and instructions can be a bit confusing). Also, many attorneys in the Buffalo area, including myself, offer affordable flat-fee rates for such divorces. Call an attorney with a free consultation for more information in light of a further review of the facts of your particular case. Good luck!

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  • What are the chances of getting a petty larceny charge dropped to something lower or request an ACD

    - I will be representing myself (not enough $$ saved and I bring home to much money for them to appoint a lawyer) - Clean record - Items stolen but retrieved by victim (wallet (according to victim did not contain cc or much money) & cell phone) ...

    Peter’s Answer

    As other attorneys have pointed out, you should have an attorney for this matter. Since you are charged with a low-level crime, an attorney fee will likely be fairly low and it will be worth it in the long-run -- the last thing that you want is a criminal record. Call around and get price quotes, and supplement such quotes with information that you can find on the internet about the attorney or firm. Do not be timid to ask for a payment plan; many solo attorneys and small firms offer them. Good luck!

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  • Small claim/un returned tools.

    As a drywall taper i agreed to tape a basement. After finishing the job along with extra agreement to do textured ceilings and prime the basement. He refused our agreed walk through for final round of touch ups if need. offensively said he doesnt ...

    Peter’s Answer

    It sounds like a small claims suit may be in order. You can likely bring this action in Buffalo City Court, Small Claims Part. Going forward, you really should being using contracts, etc. The text messages should be sufficient to prove the contract price, but he will likely claim that the work was improperly/poorly done. Good luck.

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  • Should i get a lawyer for 2 traffic tickets ? one is for speeding the other is driving left of the pavement markings ?

    i mailed the tickets in already and plea of not guilty i haven't had a ticket in 14 years what is the good and the bad that i can get out of the tickets ? would i have better luck hiring a lawyer than by myself in court ? i would like to try to g...

    Peter’s Answer

    It is good news that you have been such a responsible driver for the past 14 years -- this will surely help in the negotiation process. That said, if the ticket was issued in Buffalo, you will not be able to plea your tickets down and will likely have to have a hearing on the violations. If you received the tickets in any other of the surrounding municipalities, you will be able to negotiate a plea reduction. Either way, if you are financially able to, you may want to consider calling traffic ticket attorneys in this area to find out pricing and to figure out if the attorneys are right for you. There is nothing wrong with shopping around for an attorney that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

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  • Can I cash rent checks that do not cover entire rent amount

    I have a tenant who owes $925 in rent and Social Services has paid $200.00 which is sent every month. In addition the tenant provided a $300.00 payment, but currently owes the $925. The tenant is 2 months behind. Can I legally cash the checks rece...

    Peter’s Answer

    Just to add my two cents: practically speaking, it may be time to discuss an eviction with qualified attorney. As a rule, the judges of the Buffalo City Court will not grant a money judgment for greater than 3 months of rental arrears. That said, money judgments are rarely enforceable against tenants as they generally do not have many assets (perhaps that is why social services is chipping in). You will want to protect your income stream by getting the nonpaying tenant out and replacing them as soon as possible. You may cash the checks, but make sure that you keep detailed records. Good luck.

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  • I am a landlord and own a multi unit rental property which is held in an LLC which I am the only member of.

    Can I file a petition for eviction pro se in Erie county or do I have to hire an attorney?

    Peter’s Answer

    You will not be able to represent the LLC in court. Basically, although you are the solo member of the LLC, the LLC is a separate entity, and since you are not an attorney, you cannot appear in court on the LLC's behalf. Many attorneys in Erie County, including myself, offer flat fees for evictions that are lower than one may think.

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