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Stephen Clark Harkess

Stephen Harkess’s Answers

7,147 total


  • I lent my roommate money for rent because our apartment complex said we're both responsible if she doesn't pay

    She still hasn't paid me back over 5 months later. It was $550. I lent her money because my credit was in jeopardy if she didn't pay. I'm thinking about taking her to small claims court. Now we got a huge bill for carpet replacement upon moving ou...

    Stephen’s Answer

    The landlord will sue whoever they think they can get money from. It sounds like that will probably be you. If you are forced to pay more than your fair share, then it will be up to you to pursue your roommate for reimbursement of what you owe. You always have to be careful who you sign a lease with.

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  • Legal help

    I need a lawyer that doesn't get paid unless we win, I can't afford to pay in advance.

    Stephen’s Answer

    You don't provide much information. Some attorneys will work on some types of cases on a contingency basis (where no attorney fees are owed unless you win your case and collect from the Defendant).

    You have to understand that in order for this to make any sense, you have to have a strong case and you have to have damages that are large enough that a percentage of the likely award is equal or greater than what the attorney would earn if you were paying for his or her time hourly. Additionally, an attorney can only accept a case on this basis if collection of the judgment is likely to be quick and certain. This usually means that your claim must be covered by the Defendant's insurance or the Defendant needs to be very wealthy. If all of these things are not in place, you will not find an attorney willing to invest their own time and money (there are costs involved in pursuing a court case that someone must pay) to represent you.

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  • Can I sue?

    I'm 1099 with a contract for one year salary. The company has decided to stop paying me. The salary was to help pay for office expenses under my name. We are only a few months in contract. I can send the contract and text messages on them promisin...

    Stephen’s Answer

    You can sue anyone for anything. You are certainly entitled to be paid for the work you performed and can recover if you can establish that you did work for which you have not been paid. You are not going to be entitled to any pain and suffering or emotional distress on a breach of contract claim. Whether you are entitled to any payment for your office lease depends on the nature of your discussions and agreement with the company. Note that you are required to mitigate your damages so you may need to look into the cost of terminating the lease before you can seek the full remaining lease term.

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  • A process server left his card on my door. What should I do? Is it serious?

    The card did say, "Summons to Appear in Court" Call ASAP. I know that isn't how it works and it's to get a response, but should I call Douglas County first?

    Stephen’s Answer

    It appears that someone is suing you. It is impossible to know how serious it is until the process server actually finds you and gives you the papers that start the lawsuit. If you call the court and have them search for your name, you will find out the name of the Plaintiff. That may give you a clue what it's all about. It is likely that someone believes you owe them money.

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  • Do I have a malpractice wrongful death case?

    My mother was hospitalized for infiltrates in her lungs. Over the course of a week she worsened and passed away. During that time they gave her medications they knew she was allergic too, didn't follow precautions or my requests so she developed b...

    Stephen’s Answer

    There is no way to know based on a paragraph posted online. Among the important issues that must be examined is what actually caused your mother's death. The personal representative of your mother's estate should seek to obtain her medical records and have a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney. There may be a case, but there is a lot more information needed in order to find out.

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  • Reproductive Endocrinology destroyed an irreplaceable sperm vial and is now asking for a dollar amount to settle this situation.

    Sperm vial is from a donor who is no longer donating and now risk management is asking us to put a dollar amount on the vial that was destroyed. What is a proper dollar considering that they destroyed a vial.? We are currently expecting with the o...

    Stephen’s Answer

    In addition to the value of the sperm vial itself ($1,000 give or take?), you have lost the possibility of having a child who has the same biological father as your soon to be born child. Having gone through several rounds of infertility treatment myself, I understand how upsetting that is. However, it is difficult to determine what value, if any, a jury is likely to give to that lost possibility.

    I have my doubts that the number is likely to be "in the hundreds of thousands" suggested by one of the other attorneys who posted an answer. You have not lost the chance to have a child - just the chance to have a child with the same biological father as your first child. It may not be easy to get a jury to see the value there - especially since successful fertilization with one vial of sperm is not a certainty in the best of circumstances.

    I do think that the lost opportunity does have some value and that your loss is in excess of the base value of the sperm vial. Additionally, if you were to pursue a lawsuit for damages, the Defendant would have to spend thousands of dollars to defend the case even if they ultimately had to pay no more than the base value of the vial. For that reason, settling the case and putting this to rest without such expense certainly has value to the Defendant. However, I suspect that the real value of the claim is in the thousands of dollars rather than the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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  • Do I have to pay a restitution fee for "theft" from a store if it was UNDER 5$ and I didn't leave with or damage any property?

    A couple weeks ago at a Kmart I accidently left with a bundle of hair ties (ponytails) that were 3 or 4 dollars, IF that. Left the front doors and was stopped by someone who made me go back inside (by then I realized I forgot about them) and was f...

    Stephen’s Answer

    The demand is not for restitution. It is civil claim that Colorado law allows victims to assert against shoplifters. If the store takes you to court, they may be awarded up to $250 due to your shoplifting even though the property was worth much less and even though it was returned to them.

    That said, the cost of actually taking the matter to court would likely be more than $250 and as a result I have never seen a store actually pursue such a claim in court. In most cases, the best course of action is to simply ignore the demand letter.

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  • Can the apartment manager double my rent and no one else's? I checked with other tenants their rent did not increase?

    I have resided in the same apartment for 14 years, I have never been late on my rent. I am blind and do not expect to be treated differently than any other tenant. The management said they recently posted several complaints on my door, I only rec...

    Stephen’s Answer

    The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the the terms, conditions or privilege of the sale or rental of a dwelling if the discrimination is based on a protected class. Disability is such a protected class. If you could establish that the reason that the landlord wants to charge you more than other tenants is because of your disability, then what he is doing may be illegal. If he can show that he has other reasons, not connected to your disability, then he has the right to change the rent. You may want to speak with a lawyer about exploring a Fair Housing Act complaint.

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  • If the cops and wal-mart left bruises and marks my 16 yr old son.

    He was accused of shoplifting. When walmart security stopped him. He walked back with him to item he was accused of stealing. My son also lifted his shirt and let him search him.. Wal-marr Sercurtiy then tripped him. My son went to my moms van. Co...

    Stephen’s Answer

    If he is convicted of resisting arrest then he won't have any claim against the police officer based on bruises. His first order of business needs to be to work with a criminal defense attorney to ensure that those charges are dropped. Then he can consider whether it will be worth the time and expense to pursue a civil action based on the bruising he received.

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  • Can I leave the fathers name off my unborn sons birth certificate?

    I'm 5 months pregnant. If something happened to me (coma, death); and I was unable to take care of my child, I don't want the biological father to have custody. The biological father is an heroine addict, NOT currently in recovery, Unemployed. ...

    Stephen’s Answer

    I don't think you are required to provide the father's name for the birth certificate. However, that will not change his parental rights (if he ever chooses to assert them). If he were to ever seek to have custody orders entered, then the fact that his DNA matches the child's will allow him to do so. It will not make it any easier for your parents to get custody. If the father actually steps forward, he would still have a claim to the child.

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