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  1. #1

    Default What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: Virginia.

    Long story short I was arrested and spent some time in jail. Im currently in a hospital after being found NGRI.

    My belongings were split between my mother, aunt and cousin who is extremely irresponsible.

    My mom got all my clothing and electronics, my aunt took my car and my cousin got my tools. A few months ago my aunt moved and couldn't take the car with her due to not having room for it so she dropped it off at my cousins house.

    When I got a chance to check on my stuff at my cousins house I found that someone had keyed a triangle into the hood, and my cousin who lays in bed in all of his free time allowed the battery to die. My aunt says the triangle was not carved into the hood when it was at her place, and I believe her because she would actually start the car and drive it around her property to charge the battery and keep the fuel from gelling up and collecting moisture.

    My tools were scattered all over the place in the toolbox, things out of place and tools even missing. I haven't had a chance to check my tools over so I don't know how much has gone missing but I use my tools to make a living so I'm not happy.

    I have decided that if I need to replace more than $100 in tools I'm going to ask for reimbursement. The car Im not worried about because I was planning on eventually replacing the hood after dropping it during and engine replacement which dented it.

    I spoke with my cousins mother this morning and explained how dissatisfied I was about my cars and tools and when I brought up reimbursement she got upset and said you dont do that to people who take care of your things and claimed if he wouldnt have took them they would of sold my tools or given them away. When I said he should've put the tools back and also asked my permission to use them she stated the family gave him permission to use my tools without consulting me.

    I have reason to believe that he won't pay me in the event I ask for reimbursement, as he wouldnt even buy a car for his daughters when they got their licenses. He left it up to his mother to do so despite having the money to do so; so I believe I may need to take him to court.

    Before anyone says anything, there is really no love between me and my cousin. He's am arrogant ass, does absolutely nothing for his kids as he sees caring for children to be a woman's job and he even brandished a firearm at me back in 2007 when I pulled into his driveway. He was high as gas and mistook me for an intruder, thinking he could shoot someone who stepped out of their car into his driveway.

    I'm just curious as to what I would need to prove in small claims court.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    I'm just curious as to what I would need to prove in small claims court.
    What difference does it make. You'll see a nickel from any of the low lifes even if you win.

    I suggest you gather up your car and your tools and your clothing, take them all home, and get on with your life.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    I agree with adjusterjack, but I will also answer your question. You need to prove (1) that the person (or people) that you are suing actually caused your loss and (2) the value of the stuff that you lost. I think you will have great problems proving either.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    And I obviously meant "You'll never see..."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    I'm curious how each person got the property they had. Did you specifically split it as you describe? Did you say "Mom, take care of my stuff" and she split it up?
    I am the Mouse Man

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    Isn't there also a requirement to show that Mom etc. had a DUTY to take care of the stuff?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    Isn't there also a requirement to show that Mom etc. had a DUTY to take care of the stuff?
    Yes. Holding property for others is a bailment. There are several levels of care required. When a bailment is for the benefit of the bailor (OP), as in this case, the care required is no more than the care that a reasonable person would take with his or her own property.

    The cousin could be legally liable for the dead battery (or the cost to recharge) and the missing tools. The hood was already damaged by the OP so I don't think the keying would be much of an issue since the keying isn't likely to effect the cost of repairing or replacing the hood.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Yes. Holding property for others is a bailment. There are several levels of care required. When a bailment is for the benefit of the bailor (OP), as in this case, the care required is no more than the care that a reasonable person would take with his or her own property.

    The cousin could be legally liable for the dead battery (or the cost to recharge) and the missing tools. The hood was already damaged by the OP so I don't think the keying would be much of an issue since the keying isn't likely to effect the cost of repairing or replacing the hood.
    I disagree about the battery. The cousin agreed to store the vehicle...that's it. The cousin was under no obligation to maintain the vehicle. Additionally, the OP seems to expect that the cousin would have driven the car. I suspect there was no insurance on the car. There's no way in hell I'd have driven it in similar circumstances. As for the tools, the OP really doesn't have any way to prove what (if any) tools are missing, nor does he have any way to prove their value (again, if any).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    Quote Quoting Zigner
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    I disagree about the battery. The cousin agreed to store the vehicle...that's it. The cousin was under no obligation to maintain the vehicle.
    OK, I'll give you that one.

    Quote Quoting Zigner
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    As for the tools, the OP really doesn't have any way to prove what (if any) tools are missing,
    Maybe, but we have no way of knowing that for sure. He could have receipts and photos of his tools. You never know.

    Quote Quoting Zigner
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    nor does he have any way to prove their value (again, if any).
    Definitely no on that one. Once a tool is identified, it's easy to find the cost of a comparable replacement. Tools don't depreciate much. Especially tools with lifetime warranties that get replaced new for old when broken. You'd pay almost as much for name brand tools (Snap-On, Mack, Craftsman, and a host of others) at a swap meet as you would to buy them new.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What Needs to Be Proven in Small Claims Court

    Ok, I can see your point about the tools. I suspect that the OP doesn't have the proof for them, including the fact that the specific tools exist in the first place, but if he does, then he might have a shot at it.

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