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Bruce David Abel

Bruce Abel’s Answers

70 total


  • How many years after a debt is incurred can collection action be taken?

    Debt incurred in 2005. Sent to collection agency in 2008.

    Bruce’s Answer

    It depends on how the creditor seeks to recover and the basis of the debt. A breach of contract action based on a oral contract must be brought within 2 years. If the contract was in writing, the action must be brought in 4years. However, there are also actions referred to as "common counts" which could apply. An action for a common count of "account stated" can be brought within four years of the stated account. Also, if a payment has been made that could impact the time within which an action must be filed.

    Consult with an experienced attorney. Do not talk to the creditor. What you say could be deemed an admission and used against you.

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  • Is $1,000 - $2,000 a fair price to pay to have a "transfer of ownership" contract drawn up?

    I am taking over my father's restaurant -- I'm forming a new "S" corporation & starting "fresh." He is a sole-proprieter & I want to spare myself (& shield the restaurant) from any of his personal debt -- especially since he is considering filing...

    Bruce’s Answer

    You should be dealing with attorney not a paralegal. Important legal considerations are involved in this matter. A bulk sale publication probably needs to be made. There could be issues with creditors that cannot be discarded simply because ownership changes. Proper notification for those who may owe money to the sole proprietorship have to be done. You will need to form a new business entity, get a tax number, file a fictitious business statement, get a business license, and you also need a sale agreement. Issues of tradmark and goodwill have to be considered. Current liability of the sole proprietorship have to be legally assessed.

    You need the advice of an experienced attorney. Don't try to cut short-cuts because it will cost you much more in the long run. You should be more concerned about getting everything done properly and legally than the amount to pay a paralegal to draft a document that could not possibly handle all the contingencies and issues that a lawyer would advise you on.

    Once you have consulted with one or two lawyers concerning everything that you need to correctly transfer ownership, you will have a better idea of what is a fair price. By the way, it is a misdemeanor for someone other than an tattorney to practice law. Do yourself a favor, hire a good lawyer.

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  • I'm on probation and received a letter stating that i go to court by may 18 so that my case be put on court's calender

    what do that mean excually if from the Adult Investigations probation Department its for a dui felony case that the only case i got am i in trobles

    Bruce’s Answer

    The terms of criminal probation always include the rquirement that probationer obey all laws. And, depending on the original conviction, there may be specific activities prohibited. In either case, a felony DUI would constitute a probation violation. Criminal accusations must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction; however, the burden of proof to establish a probation violation is not as stringent. That means it is easier to prove a probation violation.

    If you have violated probation, the court can revoke probation and impose the original sentencing. This is serious. You have important rights and liberty at stake. If you can afford a private criminal defense attorney, hire one. If not, make sure you talk to the public defender's office. Try to do so before the hearing. Don't talk about your case with friends and family, only a lawyer.

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  • Can my daughters father legally take my 2 year old daughter and get full custody of her in a court of law?

    1. We were never married. 2. Currently share visitation for our daughter. We rotate by weeks. (I have her one week and he has her one week etc.). 3. I have guardianship of my niece currently age 11 and nephew currently age 14 whom I've cared f...

    Bruce’s Answer

    It sounds as if you are a great parent and care deeply for your daughter and your niece and nephew.
    California favors parents to enjoy frequent, continuing contact with their minor children. The courts always place a priority on the best interests of the minor child.

    From what you describe, I don't see a court making any changes in custody; however, if there is any court custody proceeding, you should be represented by experienced family law counsel.

    Going out and leaving a teenager in charge of an 11 year is not objectionable nor does it constitute child endangerment. Furthermore, I don't believe any court would consider modifying custody with that being the only objection to custody. 14 year old girls are often baby sitters. Despite his threats, the ground for the petition as you state is frivolous.

    Leaving your niece and nephew together when you go does not make you an unfit parent. Not even close. This is either an idle threat to intimidate you or a threat made in total ignorance. I wouldn't worry about it.

    All of the above, does not mean that father is can't petition the court for a change of custody. He, like you, has access to the courts to petition for full custody. But, in this case, you have not described anything that would constitute a change of circumstances that would warrant altering the current custody arrangement.

    If the father does file a petition, don't represent yourself. Get the assistance of a family law lawyer. California certifies attorney's who specialize in family law. You can call the local bar association in the city or county in which you reside for a referral.

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  • Should I get an attorney for and auto accident that wasn't my fault?

    My car was hit while it was parked, by a drunk driver 18 years of age. He does not have auto insurance and my car is totaled. Should I get an attorney?

    Bruce’s Answer

    Property damage claims and motor vehicle accidents involve technical and practical issues that an experienced attorney would be able to help you with. If you have insurance, you should immediately contact your insurance company and seek assistance. Depending on your coverage, you may be able to get your car fixed.

    Also, you should speak with the District Attorney and request that the a8 year be ordered to make restitution as a part of the sentencing.

    Another option for you to consider is investigating who is the owner of the car. The 18 year may not be the owner and the owner might have insurance. Also, an asset search might help to identify any assets the 18 year may have.

    Additionally, you might want to investigate if the driver was on the clock with an employer when the accident happened. That could also prove to be a means of collecting from the 18 year old.

    There are many issues that should be analyzed and considered in this situation, but costs may be a factor. You did not mention the value of your car. The value of the car may dictate how much effort and resources you want to expend seeking to be made whole.

    You should fill out and file the accident form provided by the DMV to report property damage arising out of an automobile accident.

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  • What is the statute of limitations in California to sue for an unpaid invoice for freelance design work? Thank you.

    I did work for a magazine and they told me it would take awhile to get paid. It has been 2 years now and I have never been paid for the work. Filled out the w-9 etc at the time and I have emailed them repeatedly throughout this time, receiving no...

    Bruce’s Answer

    The statute of limitations on an oral contract is 2 years. The statute of limitations on a written contract is 4 years. The statute of limitations on an open book account, which called a common count, is 4 years. If there was an account stated between you and the magazine, then you would still have a viable cause of action to collect the money owed to you. You didn't give the exact dates, so there also might be time to file an action for breach of an oral agreement. Of course, if there was a written agreement, you would have the four year statute of limitations.

    A statute of limitations is a legal doctrine that requires that an action be filed within a certain time of a particular occurrence or the action will be time barred. However, if the defendant does not raise the statute of limitations, the action could still proceed.

    You did not state the amount owed. If it is around $5,000.00, small claims would be a good option. In fact, even if you had to waive some of the money owed to you small claims court offers a quick and inexpensive forum for resolving disputes like yours.

    Small claims is designed for the average lay person and the rules of evidence are informal. To file a small claims is easy. You go to your local court where the contract was entered into, a court where the work was to be performed or a court whose jurisdiction include the area where the defendant's business is and fill out a form, pay a small fee, and give the complaint to the marshal for service.

    For the hearing, have all emails, letters, and copies of the magazine, and your work product relating to the job. Make sure you have the letters demanding payment as well.

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  • Do I get my security deposit back 21 days after I vacate the property or 21 days from when my 30 day notice expires? (CA)

    My 30 day notice doesn't expire until 05.23 in which I'm going to be paying the rent for that time. I'm actually moving on 05.11 before the 30 days expire. Do I get my deposit back 21 after the 30 days expire or 21 days from the time I actually ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    The return of a security deposit for a residential property is governed by statute. The landlord's obligation to return the deposit is, therefore, governed by law. The landlord has an obligation to present an accounting and return the deposit 21 days after the tenancy legally expires. Although you are vacating before the expiration of the tenancy, that does not trigger the counting period for return of the deposit.

    It would be a good idea for you to schedule a walk-though inspection with the landlord near the time you vacate the premises so that you and the landlord can agree on the condition of the premises. Also, it is wise to take pictures of the walls, carpet, cabinets, sinks, ceiling, and other parts of the unit. Confirm with the landlord damage, if any. If possible have a written account of the inspection that both you and the landlord can sign off on.

    Because you are vacating the premises early, you might want to discuss with the landlord, an early return of your deposit, particularly if you agree on the condition of the premises after you vacate and the amount due.

    If you are interested in more technical information, read California Civil Code Section 1950.5 which governs security deposits on residential property. You can find code books in most public libraries or search Google.

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  • Elderly abuse

    I take care of my elderly grandmother and have been taking money out of her bank account and when my former aunt by marriage got involved and wanted to press criminal charges against me my grandmother refused and now my grandmother and i worry tha...

    Bruce’s Answer

    There are a number of factors involved in trying to answer your question. If your elderly grandmother is competent and authorized the withdrawals, the withdrawals would not be a crime. If you were authorized to make withdrawals and the money was used for the care of your grandmother, there is no problem.

    If, however, you elderly grandmother did not authorize the withdrawals and is not competent, the withdrawals of money from her accounts is more problematic. If your elderly grandmother is not competent, a petition to the Probate Court for appointment of a conservator should be made. Once a conservator is appointed, and you wold qualify unless you have acted improperly already, the conservator would be authorized to use your grandmother's money for your mother's care and necessities.

    Another factor is how much money was taken. While any withdrawal that was not authorized would constitute a civil and possibly a crime, the less involved the less worrisome it is. But, if you took large sums of money and used that money for yourself, that is a serious problem. If your grandmother is competent should could ratify the withdrawals. In that case, it would be a good idea to memorialize the ratification in writing and have it notarized.

    Because critical facts are not disclosed in the question, a more definitive answer is impossible. You should seek the advice of an attorney who handles probate and conservatorships.

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  • Minors were arrested for stealing, what are consequences under CA juvenile criminal laws

    me and my friend were caught stealing trading cards (231dollars worth) i am wondering if we can get probation instead of paying a fine

    Bruce’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If a minor is convicted to or enters a plea of no contest or guilt to petty theft, then the minor can be sentenced by the Juvenile Court. From the question, it doesn't seem as though there is a viable defense, but there may be.

    The amount stolen is small and would be considered petty theft. The Juvenile Court system is designed to rehabilitate offenders and given minors a second chance. Often the court will require a probation report. The minor and possibly the parents would be interviewed by a social worker who would prepare a probation report and recommendation. Assuming that there are no prior convictions and that the minors are otherwise not in trouble, in a gang, or using illegal drugs, the court would likely order 6 months probation, restitution of the amount stolen, and possibly some court fees. It is also possible, that if the minor goes through probation without another brush with the law, the court might dismiss the charges.

    Juvenile records are confidential and not available to the public. This is also true for the juvenile court proceedings.

    The minors should secure legal representation as soon as possible. Also, the minors should not talk about the case with their friends.

    In conclusion, it is likely that the minors would get probation and also be ordered to pay restitution.

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  • As a resident of a City, can I request to see a City Employee's employment contract (under the Calif. Pub Records Act)?

    We believe a City employee may be in violation of his contract, engaging in a "side business" using public property to conduct his private business. We want to see if his employment contract or conditions forbid this type of activity. The City is ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    The Public Records Act provides for disclosure of most information but not all. the contract, in my opinion, would be subject to production under the Public Records Act; however, some information in the contract might not be such as confidential personal identity information.

    However, if the employee is using public property to conduct his private business that would constitute misappropriation of public assets.

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