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Christopher R. Minelli

Christopher Minelli’s Answers

174 total


  • My employee mistakenly undercharged a customer and the customer signed the contract. Can we void the order?

    A customer came in and purchased an item that is to be delivered at a later date. Payment has been taken. Upon review of the contract, we noticed the amount charged was incorrect, and our salesperson admitted to the huge mistake. This was an hones...

    Christopher’s Answer

    This is a complicated question, and likely will depend on how "huge" a mistake was made. The law treats the unilateral mistake (versus mutual mistake) of one party as something that can be fixed in a court action called "contract reformation" provided the non-mistaken party KNEW or HAD REASON TO KNOW of the mistake. For example, if your buyer had reason to know the price was far to low, and took advantage of the situation, then the contract could be re-written by a court to reflect reality. However, if the first the buyer knew of it came from you when you called the buyer, then a court likely will enforce the contract as is.

    I would recommend speaking to a commercial lawyer to get a better, clearer picture of the situation you are facing. Whether or not court action would be a good idea depends on how large the mistake is, and whether the risks of litigation, the time and expense of litigation, and the intangible harms associated with suing a customer.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • If a friend possibly committed real estate forgery/fraud in 2006, what is the statute of limitations for this felony?

    I have a friend who possibly committed real estate forgery/fraud in 2006. Forging deeds and selling the property. What is the statute of limitations for felony charges that the state can pursue? Thanks

    Christopher’s Answer

    In Illinois, there is no limitation period for "forgery" under the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. See Section 3-5(a)(1). That means, if the prosecution decides the facts warrant a charge of forgery (versus another felony), then he or she can bring the charge at any time in the future.

    If another crime is charged, and the statute defining the crime does not provide otherwise, then the general statute of limitations for felonies is three years from the commission of the offense. Section 3-5(b).

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • I think my former boss is preventing me from getting another job, can I take legal action?

    I was forced to resign from my job about 1 1/2 years ago. My boss and I never saw things eye-to-eye and our personalities are very opposite. The phone interview I was suppose to have today was cancelled because was they were " in communication...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The law in this area is murky at best and is heavily fact-oriented. Generally speaking, what you are looking at is some type of slander or libel claim. In Illinois, these are all bunched under the general tort of "defamation." The employment context makes it tricky because generally a bad review from a former boss is an opinion, versus a defamatory fact, and whether or not the opinion is actionable depends on what specifically was said, how it was phrased, and how Illinois cases have handled similar utterances.

    If you desire to speak with an attorney, many Illinois attorneys will consult with you for free and can get the facts necessary to futher analyze the case. However, in these cases the cost (in time, money, and emotional toll of litigation) can be much more than any benefit. Consult the Illinois State Bar Association (www.illinoislawyerfinder.com) if you need a referral.

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • What happens to a first time arrest of identity theft and unlawful use of credit card?

    I am 20 years old. I go to Business College. I have no backround and this is my first arrest. There was three transactions made one for $107, the second $110, and the third $212. What is going to happen to me? During my intragation I confessed an...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The answer really depends on the prosecution and what they recommend to the Court... Illinois does not have a "schedule" of punishments like federal courts do, so the judge has much more discretion.

    I would HIGHLY recommend hiring an attorney to represent you, especially if you want a career in business. Most licensed professions in Illinois require background checks and crimes involving, fraud or dishonestly are usually red flags.

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • Do I owe a roommate back on a security deposit when she never signed a lease?

    I rent an apartment, for which my name is on the lease. I had a former roommate who gave me a security deposit of $525. She never signed any form of agreement/lease and no utilities were in her name. She stayed 4 months & paid me monthly for st...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference. A local attorney will be able to answer more specific questions.

    Generally, a security deposit remains the tenant's property and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. The landlord also has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended. You are a "landlord" even if you did not have a formal,writtenm sublease because you are on the hook to your landlord for the apartment and granted your roommate rights to possess the apartment with you.

    In your case, it sounds like you just informed your roommate that you were keeping the deposit with no specific details. Local law varies with the specificity required, but almost all states require the written disclosure.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics are slightly different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • Can my landlord hold my security deposit for 45 days when a lease was never signed?

    I was told to I had to leave by the 15th of November. I advised her that I would leave by the 30th of September. Money and items were stolen from me by her friend. My life was threatened. Thing have become very tense in the house. She wants t...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local attorney. The answer is heavily dependent on local law (I'm sure a large city like Baltimore has landlord-tenant ordinances), but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference. The local attorney will be able to answer more specific questions.

    Generally, a security deposit remains the tenant's property and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. The landlord also has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended. In your case, you should attempt to work out an arrangement to pick up the deposit. Even if she just wants you to give an address for mail purposes, you certainly have a right to your privacy and safety.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. The lack of a written lease makes local law even more important in your situation. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • Can the rental company gice my security deposit to the homeowner and refer me to him for dispute?

    I rented a home in FL for 3 years & was a model tenant. My rent was always on time. When I signed my Notice of Intent to Re-lease I indicated that the lease should begin in Aug. I signed it in October & didn't realize that it was scheduled to end ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Generally, a security deposit remains the tenant's property and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. The landlord also has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended. Absent a specific contract provision or state / local statute to the contrary, a deposit cannot be used for unpaid rent.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer sooner than later because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different. It is possible what the management company did breached your lease and potentially broke state law. A local attorney will be able to give you specifics.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • My landlord just sold the property. Am I entitled to the security deposit or is it transfered to the new owner?

    Landlord/Tenant Security Deposit

    Christopher’s Answer

    Generally, a security deposit remains the tenant's property and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. The landlord also has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended. When a landlord sells a property, the agreement between himself and the new owner likely governs what happens to escrowed security deposits. Usually they are transferred to the new owner's custody, just like the property itself, under your lease's contract rights that are assigned from the landlord to the new owner.

    I would recommend just asking the landlord, or if he's gone already, the new owner.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • Can I recover my security deposit, despite having given fewer than 30 days notice, if my landlord agreed to return it?

    I was on a month-to-month lease in New York City. On November 5th, I gave written notice that I intended to vacate the apartment on November 28th. In that same letter giving notice, I asked my landlord when and how I would get my security deposi...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local attorney. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference. The local attorney will be able to answer more specific questions.

    Generally, a security deposit remains the tenant's property and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. The landlord also has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    In your case, it sounds like the landlord just kept the deposit with no details. He should (under the majority American rule and likely in NY as well) have given you a detailed description of what the money was spent on and why it was spent that way. I would be skeptical and question why he did what he did. The answer may lie in your agreement, as you surmise -- but absent a local ordinance or contract provision, generally speaking a deposit cannot be used for rent. This is called "dependent covenants."

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • I have a landlord who is refusing to return my security deposit, stating I failed to give 30 day notice per the contract.

    I was only in the house for 30 days and at the time we signed the contract, i disclosed the fact that i would only be there or a very short time as I was buying a house. i was not able to give a specific date as we were going through all of the p...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local attorney. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference. The local attorney will be able to answer more specific questions.

    Generally, a security deposit remains the tenant's property and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. The landlord also has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    In your case, it sounds like the landlord breached his duty to provide an accounting of WHY the money is being kept. If the contract you signed provided that the deposit would be forfeited as "liquidated damages" or something similar then he may have a legal foothold. However, absent such a contract provision (and even sometimes notwithstanding such a provision, depending on the law in Kansas) you are entitled to an accounting and explanation on why the landlord has a right to the deposit.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question