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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    3

    Default Are You Liable for a Cell Phone a Child Loses While Visiting Your House

    My question involves small claims court in the state of: Ohio

    A few months ago I allowed my daughter to invite some friends over for a birthday slumber party about ten girls showed up. As the night went on one of the girls brought out a Galaxy SIII and started showing it off (I had no idea she had the phone)... It had some nice flip cover and looked pretty new.

    I noticed throughout the night she would leave it out on the breakfast nook (In hindsight I should have told her to put it up) I honestly didn't think anything of it. Fast Forward to the next morning and it ends up missing.

    I tore the place apart had all the kids empty their packs and went so far as to accuse my brother in-law of taking her phone... big mistake I still have a shaky relationship with him from this point forward he has denied taking it and is very insulted I accused him of it...

    I asked a few of the girls parents to be on the look out as they left but I never found the phone. I spoke with the mother later that afternoon and told her what happened. She tells me it was a new phone and she would not use the insurance on the plan for one reason or another. I said well they look to be about 350 on Craigslist I'll keep checking the site and hope something cheaper comes along because I can't afford that for a phone... I only said this because I felt horrible it happened.

    Fast forward to the first meeting with the parent at a school concert. I told her I could not afford anything more then 100 dollars and had discussed it with many friends who said I shouldn't even pay that. She complains and talks about how my daughter told her daughter I thought perhaps my brother in-law took it... I tell her I have no proof of anything and have ruined a relationship asking about it so she says "ok, at least its something" She never calls I don't follow up on it myself...

    I see her today at a second band concert for my daughter, she sat back and gave me the stink eye after the show was over. I walk over to her and sit down next to her and tell her to swing by my house later that week so she can pick up the $100... she says "I'm going to sue you for $400" and continued to say she had a witness who heard me on speaker phone say I would pay the full amount of $400... Which I never said

    However, she then said she spoke with the courts and they told her the case was solid and continued to tell me how I agreed to pay the full amount....

    SO my question is how legit is her case? Can she really sue me for the lost phone?

    Basically the daughter brought the phone into my house with out permission and someone I have no idea who stole the phone while it was on my property how liable am I for this child's crazy expensive phone?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    35,894

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    She's lying. Nobody at the court will even loosely comment on the viability of a lawsuit. That's plain old stinky bs.

    She can attempt to sue you, but the burden of proof (while it is lower than criminal court) will be on her to convince the court that you were somehow negligent or responsible for the loss.

    I don't see her winning this one.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Edited to add: She refuses to mitigate by not using the insurance she has for the phone? That might sink her before she even gets started.

    She IS expected to mitigate her damages.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    and nobody called the phone when it couldn't be found?

    has anybody called it since?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
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    20,589

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    My iPhones have tracking capability, I imagine other high end phones have the same capabilities ... I suspect that if the other mother worked with the carrier of her Samsung they could track it down. Or could have if they had acted right away.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    1,988

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    you are not responsible for her daughter's carelessness nor for her poor judgement in buying her daughter a $400 phone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
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    16,307

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    OK, OP, relax. Unless she bought the phone without a plan, she paid no more than $150 for it. Everyone in my house owns this exact phone. We all have tracking software installed that can track our devices to within 200 feet - software that is free, BTW.

    If she has insurance on the phone, her replacement cost will be between $0 and $150, depending on her carrier and plan.

    This is not your responsibility. Stop talking to her. If she sues, it's unlikely that she will prevail.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    3

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    Thanks guys you all have really helped me calm down... I just wish this never happened.

    We are new to the area and I really didn't want my daughter to have to deal with some kid who thinks we screwed her over in a new school. I haven't told my daughter about this court stuff and probably won't just wish I could say the same for this lady and her daughter. From how she has handled this I'm sure she has cursed my name to her daughter a number of times. Lets hope it doesn't translate into my daughter getting harassed.

    As far as the tracking stuff yes I asked about this and told her to call the police as well as call the number... She has given me many reasons why none of this will work and I'm not sure she has tried any of this stuff.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
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    16,307

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    As far as the tracking stuff yes I asked about this and told her to call the police as well as call the number... She has given me many reasons why none of this will work and I'm not sure she has tried any of this stuff.
    Her "many reasons" are all crap. The phone can be tracked through the insurance provider once they get a copy of the police report. That particular phone also automatically syncs with your Google account to back up your apps, and you can remotely install apps (like free tracking/wiping software!). (It's one of the reasons my whole household chose that phone.)

    She refuses to even call the phone? I'd lay dollars to donuts that she found the phone in her child's sleeping bag or a pocket or her overnight bag shortly after having her hissy fit, and is now trying to save face. Some people would rather continue to be idiots than apologize. I can't imagine any other reason she wouldn't at least call the phone (or the police!)

    Unless you get served, assume there will be no court. If you do get served, show up. The judge will ask her if she filed a police report, and if she made a claim on the insurance. When she answers in the negative, it will all be over.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    Quote Quoting Lucasb
    View Post

    As far as the tracking stuff yes I asked about this and told her to call the police as well as call the number... She has given me many reasons why none of this will work and I'm not sure she has tried any of this stuff.
    why didn't YOU call the phone as soon as you couldn't find it? Losing a phone happens all to often in my household. You just grab another phone and call the lost phone, especially before the lost phone has a chance to drain the battery.


    There is a funny video out there on the internet somewhere where there was a situation where a guys phone was lost/stolen and he though he knew who did it. Of course there was denial. It was quite telling when somebody called the phone and heard it ringing in the suspected thief's pocket.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: An 11 Year Old Girl's $400 Cell Phone Was Stolen in My House

    I did originally call the phone or at least had the girl call it on my phone. I don't know this family and have only seen them sense at the school concerts so I have no way of knowing if she did anything of the obvious things.

    I'll keep you all posted if I get summoned at this point I wouldn't mind going to court just so I can allow this women to see how stupid she sounds to a judge.

    Once again thanks for all the advice.

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