My question involves personal property located in the State of: Michigan
Unfortunately a 20 year friendship has turned bad really quickly. I was in the persons wedding party, and for his wedding I gifted him a $900 watch (I only paid ~$500 for it) and then I hand-made a clock and "gave" it to him and his wife under the oral conditions that they return it every year for an upgrade. Additionally they would have to have the software in the clock updated every time DST time hit, as when the clock was delivered to them I had not had the chance to program in automatic DST updates.
Now that the relationship has turned sour due to his actions I would like the clock back. I spent 6+ months hand laboring over this clock, with over 500+ hand solders, countless hours spent designing and testing it, and support from my family to build and assemble it. It does not belong to someone who has done the things he has done to me in the dissolution of our relationship.
After consulting with the police it looks like my only option is civil court. After some research into gift giving, it looks like case is to prove that this in fact was not a gift. The evidence that I have to support this is:
a) It was given to them under the oral agreement that it be returned every year
b) It was incomplete (i.e. the software is not done yet, as it needs to be updated for DST)
c) There is no receipt for the clock
d) I gave him the watch for his wedding gift
e) He has since defrauded/lied to me
I could come up with more reasons why the clock should not be considered a gift, but to get to the point; Do I have a case?
My course of action at this point is to file a small-claims case for the max amount in my state ($5000), for if you take into account my normal hourly wage and the hours I put into this one-of-a-kind clock it would easily be more than that, and then either get the money or settle for the return of the clock.
Are there any other options I have? Will this work, or would it be a waste of time?
Any advice is greatly appreciated.