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What legal rights do we have ?

Yuba City, CA |

My husband is self employed & is contracted with a company. In Oct of last yr, contents (Asphalt) spilled out of his trailer ( Which he leases from this company) onto the scales. This was no fault of my husband as the trailers pipe broke & the gate opened up causing the contents to spill out. So, the company fined my husband $ 1,000 for dumping on the scales, however, it was their trailer that broke causing the spillage. Yet, they have fined my husband stating the cost is passed over to the driver. This company recognized the trailer broke because they exchanged the trailer out & provided a different trailer to my husband. We have sent pictures to the company of the broken trailer, several emails arguing our case to no avail. What can we do so we don't lose our very hard earned money....

Attorney Answers 4


  1. This is a contracts question, not an employment question, and I have shared your post with the contracts forum on Avvo so more attorneys who practice in this area may see your question.

    The terms of your husband's agreement with the company will determine the conditions under which he or the company is responsible for losses. If the contract is silent, then a court will try to determine the intent of the parties. There is over a century of case law to consider, so your husband probably needs legal advice, and that advice may cost him more than the $1,000 loss. That said, if your husband is no longer interested in working with this company and he believes the company did not have the right to deduct $1,000 from his payment, he can file a claim in small claims court for the $1,000 underpayment. Many small claims courts have a small claims advisor who can help a claimant prepare his or her case.

    @MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *


  2. You should consult with an attorney who handles breach of contract issues / business litigation.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


  3. I agree that this is primarily a breach of contract issue, but there are also employment / independent contractor / master-servant / agent issues. You should consult with an employment attorney who handles contract litigation or a business litigator familiar with employment issues.

    The answer provided should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter. Neither the transmission of the information contained in this answer nor your use of the information creates an attorney-client relationship between you and Pierce & Shearer LLP. An attorney-client relationship can only be created by the mutual assent of both parties and only after a consultation. Pierce & Shearer LLP cannot agree to be retained as counsel until a conflict-of-interest check is completed and a written engagement and fee agreement provided by Pierce & Shearer LLP is signed by you and a Pierce & Shearer LLP attorney.


  4. I agree with Ms. North who said "there are also employment / independent contractor / master-servant / agent issues. You should consult with an employment attorney who handles contract litigation." Look around and see if there is a competent lawyer who will give your husband a free consultation to determine your husband's rights. Be prepared to fully describe the relationship between the company and your husband and all of the duties, rules, hours and expectations your husband is required by the company to abide by. This will help the lawyer to determine the rights and responsibilities between the company and your husband. Good luck.

    *Scott G. Nathan has been licensed to practice law in California since 1983. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular case or matter. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with Scott G. Nathan or my law firm. For specific advice about your particular situation, you should consult with an attorney immediately.

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