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David Robert Squeri III

David Squeri’s Answers

232 total


  • What can I do if seller did not disclose a rat problem in a townhome I purchased?

    David’s Answer

    If it is just a couple of rats, you probably do not have a case. However, if the property is overrun and infested, you might have legal recourse. I say "might", as the issue is still not very clear, and it is likely that an argument will need to be based on legal research and analysis of the facts and law.
    Here is some third-party information, offered without representation or warranty, that might be helpful:
    https://www.hawaiirealtors.com/legalarticles/disclosure-in-residential-real-property-transactions-part-2/

    From the article:
    - "A Hawaii case decided in 2012 involved disclosure of coqui frogs and a bad neighborhood. The Seller in that case disclosed that coqui frogs were in the area, but not the extent of the noise they were causing. The bad neighborhood was not disclosed by the Seller. The Buyer in that case sued over the perceived lack of disclosure."
    - "The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals held that the Seller properly disclosed the existence of coqui frogs, even if they were a larger problem than the disclosure may have indicated, and that the Seller did not have a duty to disclose the social conditions of the neighborhood. Instead, the duty to disclose is kept to the more physical attributes of the area, such as a nearby garbage dump that may be leaking pollutants into the land."

    I have not read the case in a long while, but it seems that if there was any mention of rats in the disclosure it may be difficult to sustain a case. However, if there is infestation, to the level where it can be determined that the Sellers had knowledge, and there was absolutely no disclosure regarding rats or a grossly misleading disclosure, you may be able to take legal action under Chapter 508D Mandatory Seller Disclosures in Real Estate Transactions (§§ 508D-1 — 508D-20) and/or common law breach of contract claims.

    Hope this helps – good luck!

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  • What are my rights if owner that I was caregiving for dies and new owner wants me to move?

    David’s Answer

    This is a very unusual situation, and it would require legal research to fully determine what rights, if any, you may have. If you do not have a Lease, at best, it is likely that you would be considered a month-to-month tenant. Normally, this means that they could evict you rather quickly. However, there may be COVID-19 protections in place that could slow this process. Thus, you might want to check if there are currently any legal COVID tenant protections remaining in place (the legal aid website may be able to supply you with information). Before surrendering any information, documents and/or assets to any person, it should be verified that the person actually has the rights to obtain the said information, documents and/or assets. As you are the caretaker and continue to accept living accommodations as such, you could possibly have personal liability for allowing unauthorized persons to take information, documents and/or assets from the estate. If someone shows up and begins moving items, you may want to consider contacting the police and ask them to come verify the persons authority for doing so. Hope this helps – good luck!

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  • How do you pay yourself as a member of an LLC?

    David’s Answer

    I am afraid that I am going to give you an answer that may not be as satisfying as you wish, but like bitter medicine it is what you probably need to hear. From the earliest stages, you should start working with a CPA who can map out the financials issues for you. There could be taxation issues that you are not aware of, and a CPA should be able to advise you on how to proceed. Consider that even if it is an honest mistake, the IRS/Hawaii Tax authorities may still impose penalties and interest for any problem with your taxes. From the legal end, you should include the profit distribution terms within your LLC Operating Agreement (yes, if you have three LLC Members you probably need an Operating Agreement, and no, unless you have specialized training or experience, this is probably not something you should save money on by drafting yourself). I understand that things like CPA for financial advice, or a lawyer to draft your LLC Operating Agreement (or other documents) may seem like an unnecessary expense. However, in my litigation practice, I have had many litigation cases directly caused by someone not doing such things properly and/or by drafting their own documents when forming a company. Depending on the Court and the issues involved, LLC Litigation usually costs approximately $3,000 - $8,000 per month and can drag out for years; and can also destroy friendships and sour professional relationships. Hope this helps – good luck.

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  • How to protect myself legally when my auto dealership employer did not properly insure their employees?

    David’s Answer

    If you are sued in your individual capacity, you are likely to need to file a third-party complaint against your employer for indemnification. This is likely to be complex, and I would advise that you obtain an attorney. Your employer might be willing to pay your legal costs and provide you with indemnification from the claims. If so, you may want to retain an attorney to draft an indemnification agreement with your employer. I think that the issue here is likely to be complex and you may need to retain the services of an attorney. However, if the damages are under $5,000 it may be cost prohibitive for you to do so. Hope this helps – good luck.

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  • Who can help me sue Facebook, Yelp, and Google for defamation of character?

    David’s Answer

    Unfortunately, I believe that there are Federal laws that protect an online information provider from misinformation that is posted on their websites by third-parties. Even if you find a way around the law and are able to sue Facebook, Yelp, and Google directly, these companies have very deep pockets and likely have large legal departments that deal with such defamation claims on a regular basis. Therefore, any such legal action is likely to be very expensive and is likely to last for years.

    Therefore, it is likely that you may need to go after the actual person distributing the misinformation, rather than the platform. If you can find someone who is posting this misinformation, and you sue them for defamation and win, by being able to show a court judgment in your favor, Facebook, Yelp, and Google are probably more likely to remove the objectional information from their website. However, without such a judgement in your favor, they are likely to be very resistant, as these sites seek to protect the integrity of their review system.

    I hope this helps - good luck!

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  • Would this be grounds to sue my landlord? What kinds of outcome should I expect?

    David’s Answer

    breaching the lease if you decide to leave early, rather than a feasible independent claim for litigation against the Landlord. If upon leaving your Landlord tries to sue you for breaching the lease, providing the noise issue is documented correctly, you may be able to relay on a defense that the landlord failed to provide “quiet enjoyment of the land” (google this phase for more information). As you did not get the full benefit agreed upon under the lease (i.e., a nuisance free place to live), it may be possible to sue the Landlord for a refund of a portion of the rent that you have paid. However, this kind of claim I likely to be too tentative, and amount may be too small to make pursuing litigation worthwhile. If I were you, I might consider moving out as soon as possible, and if the Landlord tried to sue me, I would probably make a counterclaim against the landlord for a portion of the rent that I had paid. If the Landlord let me go without dispute, I would probably just forget it and go on with my life. However, this is just my personal opinion, and is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Furthermore, depending on the contents of the lease or the details of the situation, you may have rights under the Hawaii Landlord-Tenant code and/or the Lease that I am currently not aware of. Hope this helps, good luck.

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  • Can my landlord trespass and unlock my door call my name demand I need to come out in 10 mintes and then evict me?

    David’s Answer

    Generally, eviction is a civil matter and needs to be handled by filing an eviction action lawsuit in the applicable Hawaii state district Court. The HPD usually has no authority to take action in a civil dispute unless it has been ordered by a Judge, such as an injunction or a bench warrant. You may have grounds to make claims against the landlord for violations of the landlord-tenant code. Good Luck.

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  • Lease says "2 bedroom/1 bath/1 parking..." but landlord says parking can only be used if lessee owns a car and not by guests.

    David’s Answer

    Of course, it is not possible to determine what the Tenant is entitled to without reviewing the Lease.

    However, generally, unless there is some kind of restriction in Lease, the Tenant is entitled to whatever is allotted to them under the Lease terms. For example, if the unit has two bedrooms but only one bedroom is being used, the Landlord cannot unilaterally decide to rent out the unused bedroom as storage space to others. The same principle applies here. If the Landlord is going to rent out your spot, you are probably entitled to a deduction in the rent. As the Landlord has breached the Lease, you could probably terminate your tenancy and move out, and then may be able use the Landlord’s prior breach as a defense if legal action is taken against you. (Please understand that there may be lawful restrictions on the use of the parking space depending on the contents of the Lease, and perhaps also the building rules.)

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  • Ive been given 30 days to vacate rental but have not found another place to move, paid rent on time.

    David’s Answer

    If you have the financial means, you may want to hire an attorney to assist you in this matter. I am not currently able to take on additional clients, but you can probably find an attorney on AVVO or the Hawaii State Bar Association Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS). You can contact the LRIS office at (808) 537-9140 or by email at [email protected]
    https://hsba.org/HSBA_2020/Public/LRIS.aspx

    If you are not able to afford and attorney, I believe that the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (536-4302) offers assistance to people with low incomes that meet certain financial criteria. I also believe that they handle Landlord – Tenant issues for those that qualify. The Legal Aid site can also be a good source of information that you may find helpful: https://www.legalaidhawaii.org/

    In addition, Volunteer Legal Services (528-7046) may also be able to provide low cost legal support.

    Due to COVID-19, I believe that currently there may be State and/or Federal restrictions on evictions. As these COVID-19 Government rules change quickly and do not pertain to my current cases, I am not able to comment in detail. However, you should investigate and see if there are any government restrictions in place that may pertain to your situation.

    I am sorry for your loss, and which you the best of luck.

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  • Can I sue a company that is charging me monthly without I order?

    David’s Answer

    Contract your credit card company, they will probably resolve the issue for you. The cost of trying to sue an out of state company for these minor (under $100) charges is likely to cost far too much to be feasible. You could also try contacting the State of Hawaii DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION.
    https://cca.hawaii.gov/blog/category/divisions/ocp/

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

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