We live in NY and a title company has been paying us months for 3 years, its my husbands inheritance from his dad. Its only 23,000 dollars. We have a NOTE from the owner, they are a title company in cocoa beach florida we are from ny, they sent us a check in april on the bottom it said paid in full, my husband cashed it because im sick and he doesnt usually handle these things. it turns out they still owe us $1500.00 .. when we call they hang up. I can sue them in small claims and i have everything printed out but can i put an explanation in to the court about cashing the check when they wrote paid in full under it, or am i just out the rest of my inheritance? I do not know if its legally 100 percent binding that the note they put on the bottom of the check is set in STONE in the eyes of the law ? Please before i go through all this can you help me answer that?
You are asking about an area of the law known as "accord and satisfaction. The answer to your question depends upon all the facts in this situation including whether the payments arise out of a debt. If the title company owed a debt to you and there was a genuine dispute over the remaining payment, then the notation may serve as payment in full satisfaction.
You should speak with a consumer attorney in your area.
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Many state laws give you a period of time (e.g., 90 days) to return the funds to the debtor to avoid an “accord and satisfaction” (the acceptance of a certain sum as payment for the entire disputed amount) of the claim.
If it is past the 90 days, even if you have cashed the “payment in full” check, you may be able to avoid waiving your right to pursue the balance, if the debt was undisputed, or if the debtor did not act in good faith. To prove this and collect the funds, you will probably need to sue in small claims.
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Consider commencing your action in Small Claims Court - just be sure to send them a formal Letter of Demand (explaining that they still owe you $1,500.00) before you endeavor to do so.
Good luck with your case!
Jonathan D. Warner, Esq. is an attorney and licensed to practice in the State of New York. This answer is provided for informational and/or entertainment purposes only. It should not be relied upon as legal advice, which can only be offered to clients in an office consultation setting, after all of the facts and circumstances of a case or controversy can be fully considered and reviewed. No attorney-client relationship should be inferred by virtue of any answers posted. We are a debt relief agency and help people file for bankruptcy.
When there is a notation on a check "paid in full," if the debt is not actually paid in full by the amount on that check, you should not cash it. Cashing the check would indicate your agreement to accept that amount as full payment.
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