I wrote up a contract for me to get $150 for letting someone stay with me in a hotel. She was to pay me $150 the following week. I signed it and the debtor signed it. I didn't have it notarized, because I thought her signature in her own handwriting was sufficient enough, just in case I have to take her to court, she signed this contract. It's it worth me taking to court? Is there more money I can tack on to have a bigger claim? Will I win, if I take her to court? If so, what steps do I take to get the small claims rolling? Thanks.
Generally, a contract does not have to be notarized to be enforceable. Whether or not someone signed a written agreement is only one factor in determining the enforceability of a contract, and it is impossible to give a full determination on enforceability without reviewing the contract and the performance of the parties.
You can generally seek court costs in a small claims action, so you can "tack on" those charges. Unless this woman's failure to pay created other damages for you (other than being out $150), you probably cannot add any additional claims. Again, that would need an evaluation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the performance, or lack thereof, under the contract.
As for next steps, you should take a look at Legal Aid's website for their guide to small claims court. It should give you an idea about where to start and the steps you need to take.
Best of luck.
This answer and advice is general in nature and not intended as specific legal advice on the issue in question, nor does it create an attorney/client relationship or give rise to any privilege, including attorney/client privilege.
A contract may be oral. Witnesses and verified signatures aren't always necessary.
NOTE: The use of the Internet for communications with the firm or this attorney will not establish an attorney-client relationship and messages containing confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent.
A contract does not have to be notarized to be valid. The purpose of a notary is to act as an official witness to a signature. In other words, to have a third be able to verify that the signature actually belongs to that person. I doubt it is worth suing for $150.00. It will cost you almost that much in filing and service fees to file the suit. Based on the facts you described, it is unlikely you have any other damages than the $150.00.
The foregoing should not be relied upon as legal advice. It should not be utilized as a substitute for the professional services of an attorney. If legal advice is required, the services of a professional should be sought.
I agree with all prior counsel. No notarization was necessary for a contract like this, and yes, the other party did breach the contract, based on your facts. To answer the other questions, I do not see anything in your facts suggestive of extra damages that you could "tack on," nor do I think this is worth the filing fee and service of process fee, which would almost equal the amount you are trying to recover in the first place. Filing a small claims complaint at the courthouse in which the defendant lives would be the way to start the process, but again, that is not prudential given the nominal value of the suit. I understand your frustration over the broken promise, however.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline