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Civil demand letter from New York attorney with a local attorney's name on it

Lakeland, FL |

Hi there, I received a Civil demand letter from Michael Ira Asen, attorney located in New York, however it also has the name of Mark A. Nelson, local counsel who is an attorney in Bradenton Florida. I live in Polk county Florida and the letter is in regard to a shoplifting incident at Jcpenney. I have a private attorney dealing with the case, but he was reluctant to advise me in either direction about the civil demand letter. Ive read the numerous civil demand questions and answers on this site, but my concern is the Florida attorney's signature that's on the letter. Does that make it more likely that I will be sued if I do not pay? The amount is 200 dollars, and the New York attorney the one wanting the payment.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

I generally advise clients to ignore these civil demand letters. You don't owe them anything. In order for you to owe them something they would have to sue you, (in some jurisdictions prove damages which they most likely couldn't do), and win. Even if they could win, the cost of pursuing this is substantially greater than any amount they can possibly recover so they usually don't. They send out these letters because it doesn't cost much and they are hoping that you don't know better and simply send them the money. Nothing will happen to you if you don't pay it and it doesn't matter that he got a Florida lawyer to add his name to the letter. Take a look at an article in the Wall Street Journal at the link provided below. 

Asker

Posted

Is affixing an attorneys signature from the local area a common practice with these demand letters?

Benjamin J Lieberman

Benjamin J Lieberman

Posted

I can't tell you how common it is but I have seen it before.

Asker

Posted

Would that technicality mean that Mr. Asen 's firm is not licensed in the state of Florida, and that is why Mr. Nelson 's name is on this demand letter, that way should they decide to persue this matter, there is an attorney able to bring a civil lawsuit ? Or is this just a scare tactic?

Benjamin J Lieberman

Benjamin J Lieberman

Posted

I don't believe Asen is licensed in Florida. Read my original answer, it applies regardless as to whose name is on the letter.

Asker

Posted

I read your response several times and the wall street journal article as well. I understand what you are saying, I'm incredibly nervous about this letter, but your response makes the most sense. Thanks so much for your time and responses Mr. Lieberman, they are greatly appreciated.

Posted

Your own attorney should be advising you. You pay him to do so.. Tell him "reluctance" is not representation.

David R. Damore, Esq., Damore, Delgado, Romanik & Rawlins, Daytona Beach, FL, (386) 255-1400. Mr. Damore is a former Volusia and Broward County Prosecutor and an experienced criminal defense lawyer handling cases in both State and Federal Courts throughout Florida. The answer provided is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding the facts of your specific case and designed to help you with your personal needs.

Posted

If you want peace of mind, pay the $200. That is what they are counting on. If you don't want to pay...don't. They probably won't sue and you'll be fine. Now, along with the information provided by my colleagues and your attorney, you are fully informed. You simply must make a decision.

This content is informational only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

Hard to understand why your lawyer won't help you out with this, it's a very routine thing for the stores to go after this money. I agree with the other lawyer that you should get your lawyer to help you with this.

Asker

Posted

He basically told me that the likelihood of being sued is minimal, but because they legally can sue, he wont advise me to pay or not pay, I suppose incase the opposite of what he would say would happen. My big fear is that they will sue being a local attorney is acting representative for the New York attorney.

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