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Ralph H. Schofield Jr.

Ralph Schofield’s Answers

307 total

  • I got fired.. was told that there was a complaint about me, when i asked what was the complaint or from whom i was told that the

    they did not have all the facts but was going to be terminated,, i was on 30 days probation from a lie that an employee stated and was not given any opportunity to defend myself or my supervisor did not investigate either. they said complaint w...

    Ralph’s Answer

    The bad news is that we are an at-will employment state. This means, with some limitations, that you can be fired for virtually any reason or even for no reason at all. The employer was ill-advised to give you any reason when that reason was not crystal clear, and you, perhaps, may wish to investigate this further. But at the moment you seem to be lacking a good faith basis to sue for wrongful termination. If you suspect you have been discriminated against based on something like gender or race, you may wish to consult an attorney to see if the facts can be fleshed out sufficiently to justify a lawsuit. But being fired because someone else complained about you, even if the complaint was never investigated and even turned out to be false and fabricated, is generally permissible in this state.

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  • Foreclosure on a rental house we are in.

    Can someone advise what this means, it was just entered on a foreclosure that is occurring on a rental house we are currently in. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER and MOTION TO CONTINUE DOCKET CALL AND TRIAL . Thank you.

    Ralph’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The motion for protective order indicates that the owner of the house [your landlord] used court procedures to seek certain documents or other information from the plaintiff [the bank] and that the bank wants to prevent such disclosure of documents and information. In a foreclosure context, this often occurs when an owner seeks information regarding the bank's internal processes or seeks overbroad discovery that would cost the bank a lot of time or money to obtain the documents and information. The motion itself has no effect on the foreclosure from your perspective, except that it MAY cause some delay in getting to the eventual foreclosure sale.

    The motion to continue is a request to hold off on the court having its next status hearing and setting the case for an eventual trial. Essentially, the motion asks for time. Presumably, the motion has some reason stated in it for the delay--perhaps the fact that there is an ongoing dispute over document disclosure.

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  • Can a third party debt collector Collect on a credit card when I had no agreement with them? They haven't original contract.

    The original credit card lender charged the debt off, and third party junk debt buyer, (you know who) is trying to get a final judgment for the full amount, that they paid pennies on the dollar for. I am trying Pro Se, but need a little help, as t...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Yes, a third-party debt collector usually CAN collect on a debt by virtue of the original lender "assigning" its rights to the debt collector. Unless your agreement with the lender prohibits such an assignment [which is unlikely], the assignment can occur without your involvement or knowledge. That said, you should press for the collector to prove up that there was a valid assignment so that you and the Court know that the collector has the "standing" to sue you.

    As for your next steps, you would need to oppose the motion for summary judgment by serving up an affidavit that HONESTLY sets forth facts that might bring into question the plaintiff's ability to sue.

    You don't set forth any facts here that would suggest you have an ability to challenge the motion by creating issues of fact. If you don't have such an ability, your best bet, if you don't want a judgment entered against you, is to try to negotiate a settlement.

    Best of luck.

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  • My landlord is trying to charge me an extra months rent after my year lease ends.

    The lease has very unclear verbiage stating that "the contract will automatically renew month-to-month unless either party gives at least 60 days written notice of termination or intent to move out as required.." There is not a renewal price state...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Absent other language in the lease to the contrary, the language that you quote means that you must give 60 days' notice BEFORE the end of the lease that you do NOT intend to renew. If you gave at least 30 days' but not 60 days' notice, you would be on the hook for 1 extra month. If you did not give at least 30 days' notice, you would be on the hook for 2 extra months. The price per month would be assumed to be the same price that you were paying on a monthly basis during the term of the lease.

    The separate statement at the beginning of the lease that you would receive a renewal notice is unlikely to overcome the language in the lease. It is unlikely that the language you quote is vague enough to be challenged to mean anything other than what I state above. However, as always, these things are negotiable, and you could choose to wait until the landlord files a lawsuit against you to collect. Of course, there is the potential that your credit would be negatively affected by the ensuing collection efforts.

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  • Does the MRTA make our Restrictions null and void?

    Our community was incorporated in 1980, so we're 33. We're now told that although the Restriction said to expire in 50 years, have effectively expired. How could they write it at 50 years in the first place if the Act was already in effect for a...

    Ralph’s Answer

    It is very possible that MRTA has nullified all covenants and restrictions. There are things that could have been done to preserve the covenants past 30 years. But even if those things were not done, the general HOA statute has an amendment that allows "revival" of the declaration of the HOA if the parcel owners and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity approve.

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  • As is contract for purchase of home. Closing date in contract set for October 15. Buyer has loan commitment with one condition.

    As is contract for purchase of home. Closing date in contract set for October 15. Buyer has loan commitment with one condition. 2011 tax transcripts. Underwriter cannot access transcripts due to government shutdown. Seller has threatened that ...

    Ralph’s Answer

    This does not fall into the typical force majeure concept, which generally refers to natural disasters, BUT as a technical matter a force majeure might include any unavoidable, chance occurrence that was not in the anticipation of the parties.

    It is rough that your seller is playing hardball in this tough time, but, in order to try to get the seller forced into acknowledging the force majeure clause, you may need to file a lawsuit against the seller to specifically perform under the terms of the contract. Getting a court to rule on that issue while the property is still in the seller's hands may seem unlikely, but the mere filing of the lawsuit may be enough for the seller to capitulate in your favor.

    If the seller does walk on the contract and you end up losing your earnest money deposit, you might be able to argue that you are entitled to recover that deposit due to the fact that the government shutdown frustrated the purpose of the contract.

    The buyer might consider trying to negotiate with the lender on this issue.

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  • Can I get sued for someone falling off my golf cart

    I was driving my golf cart and hit a sharp kinda reckless turn and he fell off. He has a few scrapes but his iPhone screen broke a little. He asked to come on and he knew the risk. The cart was overcrowded and we are all minors. Can he sue my for ...

    Ralph’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    He certainly can sue you, but the question is whether he will win and how much. Here, there is a potential claim that you acted negligently and that you had a duty to your passenger to drive more cautiously. You intelligently are on to something with the concept of assumption of the risk, and there may be some teeth to that defense, but that might be the same argument a driver of a car would make when a passenger sues him for injuries suffered when the car negligently drives into a wall. One can see why the law would not want to allow all drivers to be immune from all liability from the injuries of their passengers.

    The good news for you is that the damages are so minor that it would not be likely he would sue. He would have to front court filing fees that probably exceed the cost of fixing the phone. He might be able to get a judgment against you for some amount to fix the phone and for his filing fees, but then he has to go through the arduous process of trying to collect those amounts from you.

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  • Can i receive anything?

    my father has died recently. He has never provided for me but has for the child who lived with him. He and his girlfriend have a condo in both their names. I wanted to know if i have any ownership of that condo? I live in Florida and he lived ...

    Ralph’s Answer

    This depends on state law that applies, the existence of a will, the nature of the ownership of the condominium.

    Usually, the law of the state of residence at the time of death is what applies. Here, that appears to be Connecticut. I cannot ethically or legally advise on Connecticut law, so you may wish to re-post your question as a Connecticut question.

    Per Florida law (and as it is in several states), if there is no will and no wife, the biological children of your father would normally split up the entirety of his estate (subject to creditors getting paid first).

    If the nature of the ownership was "joint tenancy," the girlfriend may now own the property. If the nature was "tenants in common," a 50% interest in the property may now be part of the estate. Where it's unclear, Florida law presumes that your father and his girlfriend were tenants in common, which, as shown above, would be the better result for you (assuming the property isn't "upside down" or "under water" with regard to the mortgage).

    If there will be difficulty in getting everyone to agree on what you get from the estate or difficulty in paying off creditors, you will probably want to contact an attorney regarding setting up an estate proceeding in the probate court.

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  • I'm not sure if the company where I used to work marked my record negatively to cover themselves. How can I find out?

    An ítem was lost during normal operation hours. Loss prevention lady asked me questions, and she went too far and tried to make me guilty of something I did not do. I was worry free until a coworker told me they were trying to make someone guilty,...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Your next prospective employer has no right to see your old personnel file, which is not your "record" in the sense that your criminal "record" travels with you. It is also unlikely (but not impossible) that your prior employer would reveal specific negative information during a reference check. The reason is that employers who reveal negative information during such reference checks risk liability under certain labor and employment laws. If you discover that your prior employer does speak negatively about you to a prospective employer and you believe the direct result of such a bad reference is a loss of the new job, you will want to talk to an attorney about whether you have a claim against the old employer.

    In any event, if you wish to know what your prior employer put in your personnel file, you should serve a written request for that information from your former employer or feel free to contact your former employer's human resources person to discuss how your former employer will provide references to future job prospects.

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  • Request for Admissions - Do I have to file with the clerk or can I send it in an email to the plaintiff?

    Request for Admissions - Do I have to file with the clerk or can I send it in an email to the plaintiff? Is there a rule for this and what is customary? Is is proper to send it to the plaintiff by email and only file a notice that it was se...

    Ralph’s Answer

    The short answer is that you MUST serve, but you are not technically required to file. The longer answer depends on whether you are in federal or state court.

    In federal court, you typically just need to send the request to the other party. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure indicate that service is necessary. Local rules for the court would indicate whether filing is appropriate. For example, in the Southern District of Florida, local rule 26.1(b) indicates that you "must not" file requests for admission.

    In state court, however, it is common practice to file AND serve requests for admission. Again, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure only clearly indicate that service is necessary.

    In either event, you would want to serve the other side in the following manner:

    (1) If they are represented by an attorney, you must serve their attorney.

    (2) If you are serving an attorney or if the party has served a notice designating their email address, you must serve by email. If you don't know the attorney's email address, you can go to and search. When serving by email, you must follow the strictures set forth in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516(b)(1)(E).

    (3) If #2 above does not apply, deliver by hand or send by mail.

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