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Thomas Richelo

Thomas Richelo’s Answers

888 total


  • The Cabinet Co. Owner is calling and visiting our customers demanding they call us about a bill we are disputing with him.

    Our business hired cabinet company to install kitchen cabinets in some apts. we were renovating. We orally agreed on the price. The cabinet guy was late, did a crappy job and didn't even install one cabinet. He has sent us invoices with no job ...

    Thomas’s Answer

    This is definitely a matter to take to a construction attorney. The scope of the problem is beyond just the value of some cabinets if someone is possibly interfering with your clientele, may be defaming you, and made some sort of "threat" the nature of which you haven't described.
    You also haven't said what kind of business you operate, and it appears you are not the apartment owner. Sounds like contractor/subcontractor arrangement. Is that correct?
    Legal action would most likely start with a demand letter and "cease and desist" language. This can also involve advice on how to do damage control with the apartment complex and maintenance/management company. At the same time, it sounds like you could benefit from having an established relationship with a construction law attorney. Getting good contract forms is something you ought to consider, for starters.

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  • Private Party Misrepresentation/Fraud in Out of State Vehicle Sale

    A few days ago, I bought a vehicle in GA for $18,000. The online ad stated the vehicle had never been wrecked, was clean and had an upgraded suspension with improved handling. The seller stated on the phone when asked that the vehicle subframe had...

    Thomas’s Answer

    If you want to pursue this as a fraud case you most likely have to go for "rescission" in which case you seek to return the car and get your money back. There are still some fact issues to be worked out and, as Mr. Riddle notes, it could be difficult to make the case cost effective. If you know where the seller can still be found, and that the seller has sufficient assets to make a judgment collectable, then those are pluses.
    Your post isn't totally clear on WHAT was altered on the Autocheck report; where is USVA? Do you mean USVI? If so, why is that material? What else, if anything, was altered?
    Some attorney might take this case on an hourly rate basis but it doesn't have the ring to it that would be likely to entice a lawyer to go contingent. You may want to explore all facts with a litigator here in Georgia and then make your own economic decision regarding how far to take it.

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  • My ex brother in law paid off MY car loan on my vehicle. Do I have to pay him pack if we didn't sign anything?

    Long story short, I defaulted on my car loan, my now ex wife's sister and he husband paid the 12K loan off for us resulting in me keeping the vehicle and the title is in MY name. We didn't sign anything saying I would pay the money back. Now he is...

    Thomas’s Answer

    Mr. Rothstein's answer is more correct. They law involved here is called "quantum meruit" and under the circumstances when someone does something of value for another without a contract there is an implied duty to pay the fail value. OCGA 9-2-7 is on point here. There's one caveat here, which is that the presumption of duty to pay does not "usually" arise between "very near relatives." But that most likely means parents or siblings.

    So, I think you ex-brother in law would probably win and you will probably "lose" but not "loose."

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  • Who would I sue?

    I purchased a new home and the builder had to repaint the 90% of the home. The painting contractor damaged my hardwood floors. Who would I sue, the builder or the contractor that painted

    Thomas’s Answer

    On the facts you have given you may be able to sue both. whether it is worthwhile to sue at all depends on how much damage there is to the floor and, if you got a judgment, whether it would be collectable.

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  • A power of attorney legal and biding?

    Power of Attorney signed was a different name than what the insurance company wrote on the check. The power of attorney contains a name that I have never used and also not a legal name, which he was aware of and did not fix.

    Thomas’s Answer

    An attorney might be able to give a more helpful answer if you explain more facts. What check? What's the POA for? Who is "he"?

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  • Can you charge interest on a mortgage note before the first payment is due? Mortgage Holder gave a 4 month grace period. Thanks

    I bought a home for $100,000 cash. I put $35,000 down on closing which was December 13th 2014. Another $25,000 10 days after closing on December 23rd . The mortgage note was based on $40,000 with 9.25 % interest per annum. The first payment wasn't...

    Thomas’s Answer

    First, you didn't buy a house for $100,000 cash; you bought it with installment payments. Second, interest on the unpaid balances usually runs from the date of the loan. Looks like the seller loaned you $65,000. 9.25% is awfully high these days, it looks like she wanted to earn a little interest off of you. What do your purchase and sale documents say? What does the note say? Due date of payment does not mean interest isn't accruing. All mortgage notes have due dates for payment and almost all charge interest.
    You need to run the calculations yourself to see if she has computed the interest correctly. Actually, her calculations seem about right. Make sure that when you pay her the interest that she agrees it is payment in full and she cancels the note.

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  • Does HOA have landscape and be consistent?

    Our house sits next to and in front of land owned by the HOA. It is a new community and wasn't landscaped yet though told it would be by the builder. The builder is out and a year later the HOA has decided to only put on pine straw in all of these...

    Thomas’s Answer

    This does not seem to be a matter where you should take legal action just yet. In HOA matters, the issue is usually that you are trying to get busy volunteers to prioritize a matter that is of importance to you. I assume, although you didn't specifically say, that you live in the affected community, not just next to it, and that you are an HOA member. It's a new community? So: use this as an opportunity to get to know your board; be nice to them; make friends; encourage them to want to help you. Enlist the support of other owners who are close enough to the area in question that they would like to see plantings, too. Maybe you even want to run for a board membership yourself and see what the board really does and use your position as a board member to advocate the completion of this landscaped area.

    In such communities there are always questions as to whether the builder is being held to his or its responsibilities. See what the board members say about that. Good luck.

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  • Should I contest a lien on my property?

    In January I had a water loss in my guest house due to a pipe breaking.. The well-known restoration company I chose damaged $5,700. of my personal property due to negligence. ..bagging property and allowing it to mildew. When I refused to pay th...

    Thomas’s Answer

    Under Georgia lien law, the contractor can file a lien up until one year after the last work or materials. The 395 days is a time limit that involves an add-on to the one year for the lien claimant to give certain notices on the record, or else the lien expires automatically.

    If the lien on your property is a problem, you can file a "notice of contest of lien" that forces them to sue on the lien within 60 days or they lose it.

    But, more importantly, the bigger issue seems to be your damages to your property. If you really have a good case to go against that contractor for the $5,700, then you could be on the offensive, not defensive, side of this. You can demand to see their insurance and put them on notice of your claim. If they don't give you a satisfactory result, you can sue them first. It could also be settled anywhere along the way. A big issue is whether you can prove the $5700. That's sort of a bare minimum for a suit by an attorney, but it might be worth pursuing.

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  • In Georgia, I have a JUDGMENT LIEN against a motor vehicle. Can I go get it ?

    I got a judgment against someone and put a judgment lien against their vehicle through the Georgia Motor Vehicle Division. The State of Georgia sent me the title showing me as the 1st lien holder. Do I still have to do a Sheriff's seizure on my ...

    Thomas’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You have to at least try to go through the sheriff for this. In different counties the sheriffs may be more or less helpful than in others. But if you've done the DMV legwork and found a car that is free of other liens (or no liens with priority over you) then a levy (seizure and sale) is possible.

    Just a general note: I don't know the amount of your judgment but one question would be whether you feel the net value of the car will cover it. "Net" means there will be fees associated with towing, storage, auction, etc. Those come off the top before you get money toward your judgment.

    You should go ahead on this because you have the interesting circumstance of a defendant who is ignoring the judgment (which often means low assets) yet that person owns a car with no loan against it. that person probably needs the car for work and other things. You may be able to force payment on the judgment by seizing the car and, even before it's sold the judgment debtor may offer some sort of payment.

    If the judgment is fairly large so that the car value won't satisfy it, and if you think the debtor has other assets, then you ought to consider hiring an attorney who does post-judgment collection work.

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  • Can I sue for defamation of character and slander in the divorce case?

    I am being accused of having an affair with a friend by the spouse in a divorce complaint. My name is listed in the legal docs filed with the court by the spouse. This is a baseless and untrue. Can I file a slander case and sue for defamation of c...

    Thomas’s Answer

    If you want to learn what can happen in a defamation lawsuit to the plaintiff, read the novel, "QB VII" by Leon Uris. In such a case, you force the complainant to try to prove you had the affair. Clearly, this person thinks you had some kind of inappropriate relationship, and your suit will expose whatever the evidence is, however weak. So, even aside from pleadings immunity (which may be limited) people ought to think twice about suing for defamation.

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