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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Default Suing a Former Roommate for Expenses

    My question involves small claims court in the state of: New York

    Hello everyone,

    This case involves money owed by one of my rooomates that I lived with for some time. It is for various expenses as well as other funds that I can never receive back.

    It should be noted that 3 people lived in the apartment. Me my friend, and the person I want to sue.

    When moving in we all agreed to use a platform called Splitwise.com to manage our expenses. Basically if somebody buys something you put that record into that app on your phone and it splits the amounts due for everyone over a period of time. Payments were always made until there was a fallout with the person in question. Below are the list of things that I wish to sue him for with explanations of what I have for proof.

    List of expenses:

    1) When it was time to move out he owed me about $250 dollars in funds for various expenses through the Splitwise app.

    Proof: I have the ability to export all payments through the splitwise.com website since 2013 which adds up the value as a whole. I have proof of payments and maybe a check laying around. Do I need to prove that he agreed to use this system or is our word good enough?

    2) We received a security deposit filed back to us on the moveout, however the landlord refused to split it by the prorated charge we originally had one 900 one 1100 one 1200. By splitting it equally the person received an additional 166 dollars that wasnt his

    Proof: emails from our landlord

    3) We had several days worth of manual labor construction that had to be done before we left to make sure the deposit was received. Painting, repainting, ripping down walls, cleaning appliances etc. I would say 2 guys with three days of work. If you would have paid for the labor at at least minumum wage it would be about $200. Can I sue for the amount of work done or a value of the deposit?

    4) We all agreed to that since he did not do any work before we left that he would clean up the apartment mop the floors before he left. He did not and they charged us $300 for cleaning

    Proof: Word of mouth agreement between all roomates

    5) I have to take a day off of work and just started a new job and they will not pay for a sick or vacation day yet. This amounts to about $180 + the expenses for going to court about another 50 bucks.

    Proof of how much I make

    So the total I want to sue for is about 1100 dollars.

    In all respect I would actually give this money to charity its more about the principle of him being a friend and not returning the money. He also owes my roomate money as well. Would my roomate need to come to court to be a witness? or would a letter signed by him be enough proof.

    Out of curiosity mostly, It would be really great if someone can let me know how this will likely play in court as I dont want to waste time coming home with nothing or very little, its just not worth the effort in that case. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Bringing Friend to Court. How Good is My Case .help

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    1) When it was time to move out he owed me about $250 dollars in funds for various expenses through the Splitwise app.

    Proof: I have the ability to export all payments through the splitwise.com website since 2013 which adds up the value as a whole. I have proof of payments and maybe a check laying around. Do I need to prove that he agreed to use this system or is our word good enough?
    Yes, you would have to prove he agreed to use the system but it appears that his agreement can be inferred from the splitwise records and the testimony of your friend who also agreed to use it.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    2) We received a security deposit filed back to us on the moveout, however the landlord refused to split it by the prorated charge we originally had one 900 one 1100 one 1200. By splitting it equally the person received an additional 166 dollars that wasnt his

    Proof: emails from our landlord
    That one's a little iffy. Depends on what the emails say. Does the landlord write that he received three different amount or do you have each tenant's receipt. The presumption is that there is one deposit for three people to be returned evenly or one check written with three names on it. How do you prove that the errant roommate gave a smaller deposit than the other two. Also if the $166 is owed to you and your friend you can only sue for your portion. Your friend will have to sue for his or be named as a joint plaintiff with you on the same lawsuit.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    3) We had several days worth of manual labor construction that had to be done before we left to make sure the deposit was received. Painting, repainting, ripping down walls, cleaning appliances etc. I would say 2 guys with three days of work. If you would have paid for the labor at at least minumum wage it would be about $200. Can I sue for the amount of work done or a value of the deposit?
    Also iffy. Judges don't care much for people who try to charge for their own labor but you can certainly give it a try.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    4) We all agreed to that since he did not do any work before we left that he would clean up the apartment mop the floors before he left. He did not and they charged us $300 for cleaning

    Proof: Word of mouth agreement between all roomates
    Also iffy. You could have and should have gone back when he was leaving to check up on it.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    5) I have to take a day off of work and just started a new job and they will not pay for a sick or vacation day yet. This amounts to about $180 + the expenses for going to court about another 50 bucks.

    Proof of how much I make
    Sorry, nobody every gets paid for the time they have to take off work to file a lawsuit.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    So the total I want to sue for is about 1100 dollars.
    Your case has some strong points and some week points but small claims court is informal and small claims judges sometimes relax the rules of evidence a bit.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    He also owes my roomate money as well.
    Again, your roommate would have sue as well, either on his own or as a joint plaintiff.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    Would my roomate need to come to court to be a witness?
    Yes.

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    or would a letter signed by him be enough proof.
    It wouldn't. You can't cross examine a piece of paper. Every defendant has a right to face and question the witnesses testifying against him or the piece of paper will be ruled inadmissible.

    And if your friend wants to join in the lawsuit to get his money, he would certainly have to come to court. The two of you supporting each other's allegations would be better than one of you going it alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    4

    Default Re: Bringing Friend to Court. How Good is My Case .help

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Your case has some strong points and some week points but small claims court is informal and small claims judges sometimes relax the rules of evidence a bit.

    Thank you so much for your quick reply. There was one stipulation regarding the Splitwise payments that he started making to my friend. From about August to febuary me and the person I wanted to sue agreed that we would pay 88% percent of the electric bill from then on. This was because my friend was not living at home most of the time and me and the person I was suing were using the electricity most of the time. We had all agreed to these shares beforehand and I remember asking him multiple times to confirm. I had text message records but they have been overridded because they were so long ago.

    The only thing I have is that our word against his in which he agreed to Me paying about 44% him paying 44% and my other friend to pay 12%. I mean he agreed to this and we were paying our bills for it for a long period of time. Would this be an argument for him. We would like to know in this case whether he could dispute a majority of point number 1 made above. Is this something he would be able to dispute. I mean we would both take him to court regarding the payment of this stuff and can be there as wiitnesses.

    Thanks again for your help

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Bringing Friend to Court. How Good is My Case .help

    Quote Quoting withoutvice
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    Is this something he would be able to dispute.
    Of course it's something he would be able to dispute. In other words he has the ability to stand up and say "I never agreed to any of that."

    Then it's up to you to convince the judge by presenting a preponderance of evidence which is a standard that is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true or more probable than not.

    In your own situation you and your friend would tell your side of the story and present whatever evidence you have.

    The Defendant would then get up and tell his side of the story, which would likely involve denying all or part of your allegations.

    The judge is likely to recognize that it's more probable that 3 roommates would make the agreements to share duties and expenses which would favor your side of the story and then he would have to figure out who gets what. That last part is impossible to predict. He might award you all of what you claim or part of what you claim.

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