My question involves small claims court in the state of: Virginia
My question involves small claims court in the state of: Virginia.
Sorry it's long but I think there is alot here to consider.
After years of not knowing where my biological father was last year (since I was 2) I got up the nerve to look for him. We spent the good majority of last year on the phone and I few down 3 times and once drove to spend time getting to know him. Christmas of 2010 he had a lung collapse and after speaking with the doctors from out of state, they urged that he should not be living alone any more. He has several serious medical concerns such as Heart Failure, high blood pressure and wears a pace maker. Earlier this year I made the trip to Alabama to move him up to Virgina after I asked if he would like to come live with me and my son. This decision unfortunately ended my relationship with my mother's side of the family (mother died when I was 8) and my relationship with my boyfriend.
Because my dad was living soley on social security, he didn't contribute to the household and I was okay with providing housing and he said he would help out when he could. As an extra I also went out and bought him bedroom furniture for his room. Because my boyfriend left me, I was left with 2K monthly rent for the remainder of the lease (5months), after which we moved so I could better provide. Two months after he arrived, he had a heart episode and was hospitalized for a week and his medicaid had not kicked in yet. Things got even harder when the medical bills started coming. He went and got a 7K line of credit to help with security deposits for the new place and to pay off some of his personal bills. His SSI check was around $400 a month, which barely paid his bills. A few months later he suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for another week. The day after he was discharged from the hospital the doctor gave me strict instructions to ensure he rested, drank plenty of water and relaxed. I came home to find him in the back yard in the middle of summer lifting a 30lb bag of ant killer. I started to get onto him about what his doctor said and he had a mental breakdown and started slapping himself in the face and banging his head into the wall and made suicidal comments (my son also witnessed this). I dialed 911 and after he confirmed my story to the police, initally he refused medical treatment but eventually went to the hospital. The police told me I could go to the magistrate and request an emergency protective order so he was forced to be evaluated. I had no guardianship or medical power of attorney over him and that was the only way to ensure he would have to get medical attention. The next few weeks were incredibly stressful as I found out that he was lying to his therapy nurses about his condition and making it to be out worst than what he was portraying to me and the neighborhood. In the morning and night he would walk around the neighborhood (neighbors witness this and I parked down the road one more after I left for work and witnessed as well) sometimes with his cane, sometimes completely unassisted. During the nurses' visits to the house, he acted like he could barely manage to walk around the house without the walker (I personally witnessed this). I sat him down and explained to him what fraud was (he only has a 2nd grade education and is easily confused with political terminology). The next day he finally came clean to the nurse (whom I had kept informed for over a week) and they discharged him from their service that week. That whole medical benefit was filed against medicare.
My 11yr old son approached me the next week and said that he was talking to a lady on the phone that afternoon while I was at work and called me some bad names. I also later found out that my dad would tell my son not to tell me about him walking around without his walker and when he would leave while I was at work. I sat my dad down that night after I put my son to bed and ask him if he was really happy here or if he wanted to go back to Alabama but he needed to be honest with me. I didn't elaborate what my son told me out of fear my dad would take it out on my son. He said he wanted to go back to Alabama. When my dad initially moved to VA we had set up his checking account as me as a user so in the event he was in the hospital, his bills were not of a concern. I had a visa card in my name linked to his account for this purpose. Before he left to go back to AL I had him sign a memorandum with a witness that detailed out I would continue to pay for rent (holding him not responsible when he left) in VA and would assume the payments of the line of credit (I had signed as co-signer) and he would only be responsible for all his rent and personal expenses in Alabama as before. I purchased a train ticket for him and gave him some cash for food for his trip, bought luggage for him this totaled $250. The memorandum also stated that out of all the "1/2 rent" he owed me (he was on both leases per VA law)I would only hold him liable for $500, during his stay our rent was well into $16K, all of which I payed and have receipts for. He did pay me back $200 of the $750 but only because I almost bounced the rent check he was still on a lease, trying to help him get settled. I also noted on the memo that I had paid for all utilities, food and living expense while he was up here so he couldn't come back and say I never supported him. There was even a month where I paid for his medication because he owed more in bills than he had in income. The memo also stated once he got down to Alabama and settled, he would send me shipping for his personal belonging he left and I would get it sent off to him. Verbally we agreed he would not close his account so that for the first month I could make sure all his bill were taken care of and less stress on him. Once he opened up his account down there I would transfer the remaining balance over for him since we didn't have enough time to update his Social security checks to a new account and he would have next day access to them vs waiting 2-4 weeks.
When he got down to Alabama he told everyone I treated him like a dog and he didn't have access to his money the whole time he was here (personally don't care what he tells people but now his friends feel the need to harass me because they can only believe what he says). He closed his checking account that he had me on and I didn't find this out until I went to take care of his bills on the 1st. The bank told me next to nothing other than my dad closed his account and I was no longer responsible for the line of credit I had co-signed with and my dad specifically did not want me privileged access to the account anymore. Evidently because I was a "user" and not a "joint-owner" he could do all that. I later found out that the bank rolled the amount of the line of credit in his checking which left him with a $5K negative and when his Social security and back pay finally came thru, it went toward the deficient amount in his checking, which left him with no money for a month. I called him and wanted to know what had happened and that I wasn't going to be able to help him pay his bills like we had agreed. He said he called the bank and was told I was swiping my card on his account, I told him yes but it was to pay for medical bills and he would see it on his statement. Evidently the bank didn't elaborate what the "swiping" was for. A few weeks later he sent me a letter first class demanding that I mail his personal belongings to him or he would seek legal recourse. I told him that I would ship him items as soon as he sent me the amount for shipping as agreed in the memo. He said I could send it COD. I told him that it was too much of a liability in the event he didn't pick it up and that's not what we agreed to.
So my main questions really stems on the line of credit, the memo and his personal belongings. My son is also a special needs child and this whole thing has taken an emotional effect on him as well as myself and I just want this over.
1) What is my stance on the line of credit? Technically it's been "paid". But the memo we signed says I would pay it and he left me without access to it when he closed the account.
2) How binding is the Memorandum (we both signed with a witness)? I don't plan on suing him for anything but someone told me that legally I'm entitled to him paying me back half the rent (9K for half) while he was here. That amount doesn't include food, utilities, furniture and medical expenses I also paid for him.
3)Since everything happened in Virginia would he have to settle this up here?
Essentially I would just like for him to pay for his shipping and we both go our separate ways and I'll just cut my losses as they are. My son and I have been thru enough financial and emotional stress. I'm not interested in going to court over this but I have a feeling he's going to make a mountain of a mole hill.