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Can I take my "friend" who borrowed $1000 to court?

San Jose, CA |
Filed under: Sued for debt

I had a friend who borrowed $1000 (I know, stupid) and she hasn't paid it back. We tried to set up a payment plan but she couldn't follow through (very reasonable plan, $25 a month). Its been over a year and ive gotten $50 back. So I'm done being nice. We have written out the agreement and that she owes me, signed by her and I (No witnesses). I have the written documents, I also have the history of our texts all saved (is that admissible?) I'm assuming I will end up in small claims court if I follow through, but do I even have enough proof? What can I expect?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. A claim for $1000 definitely should be heard in small claims court.

    It appears that you have proof of the loan, since you have the signed written agreement. You will need to establish that you indeed paid over the $1000, and state that she has not paid you back. The defendant can then attempt to establish whatever defenses she might have -- like she paid you more than $50, for example.

    Best of luck to you.

  2. Your evidence sounds fine. But, let's say that you do win and get a judgment against your "friend"--does she have the money to pay or wages for you to garnish? That is, did she borrow the money, in the first place, and not paying you back now because she's broke, or is there some other reason? Just something to think about.

  3. Yes, a small claims lawsuit would be appropriate under such facts. In California, the small claims court rules for admissibility of evidence is fairly lax, so you can pretty much introduce whatever "evidence" you have to substantiate your claim that the defendant borrowed $1000 from you, agreed to pay it back, and failed to do so. Your oral testimony in itself is sufficient, but of course is enhanced if corroberated by the documents and texts.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

  4. You can always try sending her a message that confirms the history or important points like

    You asked me to loan you 1000.00 and I did on ______2012. You promised to pay it back, and when you didnt, we worked out a plan for you to pay 25.00/mo. You only made 2 payments of 25.00 over the last year and broke that agreement. I really need the money, so you need to pay me. maybe you can borrow 950.00 from someone else and pay me back. Please let me know within a week what you are going to do to pay me what you owe. Make sure you printout any emails, texts, etc in chronological order when you go to small claims court. make the evidence as easy for the judge to see as possible.

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