Category Archives: General FAQ

Can they issue an arrest warrant?

Q: I just received a phone call from a woman who stated she worked for a law firm handling a payday loan case from Plain Green Loans. The loan was “supposedly” given to me on Nov 2, 2011. She said I owed $993. I have not received any physical verification of this loan nor do I have any knowledge of this. She threatened me with an arrest warrant? I’ve had people call and threaten me like this before for companies I’ve never heard of and nothing has happened. Should I be worried?

A: Only a court can issue an arrest warrant and it is served by a constable, deputy sheriff or police officer. It sounds like creditor harassment. If you have nothing to do with this, and you believe this is a case of mistaken identity, as a first option, you may want to file a police report or call the consumer protection division of the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Once you do that you should talk to a civil lawyer who deals in creditor harassment. If you may owe this debt, as a short term fix you may just want to change your phone number.

Will my son be sued for breaking his lease?

Q: Son wants to break his lease, he no longer lives there. Landlord wants rent anyway. He entered a lease with his friends for a year. He has since left school and taken loans out to pay rent. He gave them over 8 months to find a sub-lease, which they did not. He does not want to pay last 8 months of rent.

A:  You need to read the lease carefully or have an attorney review it. Generally, if a tenant breaches a lease, and vacates the premises, he or she can be held for the balance of the lease. However, the landlord has a duty to mitigate the damages by preparing the unit for re-lease and finding a tenant as soon as possible. In your situation, I would have to read the lease to see if your son and his friends were responsible for finding another tenant, and not the landlord. As pointed out, you never know, there may be a defense for your son based on the facts, which an attorney could determine.

 

Do I have recourse against a collection agency?

Q: I have a collection agency calling my friends and family disclosing my name and social security on their answering machines. Do I have any recourse?

A:  You may have a case. You may also want to call the consumer protection division of the Pennsylvania Attorney General. They may be able to help or give you guidance. I would preserve the evidence if you can, i.e., voicemails, dates and times of calls. You may also want to call a consumer rights attorney.

Neighbor is disturbing the peace

Q: I press charges against my neighbor for intentionally disturbing the peace because he’s bitter about being evicted. I live in an apartment that I can’t sleep in because he is so loud. But when I am here I call the cops whereupon he gets louder. The landlord has given him 30 days notice to evict but by law he can’t do much else. This guy is intentionally setting his alarm clock to go off after he leaves (all hours of day and night) and when he is here he invites people over to drink and party and generally be loud. He doesn’t work so he does this all the time. I’m under lease so I cannot move without breaking that contract. This has been going on for 2 months. I can’t wait 30 more days. Can I simply press charges and/or have him fined for this behavior? Civil court or claims court is too costly and time-consuming. By then he’ll be evicted. I need a quick solution to an unfair situation.

A: Yes, you can see if the police will take a complaint. You can record the noise electronically or call the police to come over when he leaves the alarm on, so they can witness the disturbance. The better evidence you have, the more likely a criminal case for harassment or disorderly conduct can be proven. If the police won’t take a complaint for Disorderly Conduct or Harassment, you can see if the DA at the local District Justice office will take a Private Complaint. Remember, you will have to face him in court and this may all be over in 60 days when he is evicted.

Can we remove father from mortgage and deed without divorce?

Q: My mother in law is trying to remove her separated husband (my father) from the title of their house. He got kicked out years ago as he cheated on her for 10 years (a child was produced from this indiscretion) He doesn’t want to be on the mortgage anymore but doesn’t want to pay anything on a house that he is not living in. My mother in law doesn’t believe in divorce (old world Italian Catholic) but wants him off the deed. He also wants off. The mortgage has not been paid for in 5 plus years. Is there a way to fix this without Divorce and him not having to pay anything (it is the only way he would sign any type of paperwork, willingly). Could I get on title thru a refinance or something?

A: He can always sign a deed over to her. However, the issues are complicated. If he is on the mortgage with her, the mortgage instrument (contract) may have a due on sale clause which means if there is ever a new deed filed, the mortgage can be foreclosed upon immediately. Most mortgage contracts do not allow a change of the deed. So, drafting a deed from both of them to her, may trigger a foreclosure, or potential problems. However, the fact that the mortgage has not been paid in 5 years may trigger a foreclosure anyway. But, in general, when someone wants off a deed, and there is a mortgage, you should always check with the mortgagee (lender) and see if they will agree to release someone from the deed. Sometimes they will but it really depends. I have had mortgage companies accept a simple assumption of the mortgage but they likely will want to refinance and in either case put the house in the name of someone who has good credit.

 

How do I sue an ex-friend for money owed to him?

Q: What type of lawyer do I need to sue an ex-friend for money loaned to him? I loaned a significant amount of money, through a verbal agreement, to a friend, who is no longer a friend. He is paying me back but is doing so now on his terms, not the agreed upon monthly payment. I want to sue him, file a property lien, and potentially try for wage garnishment. I don’t know what legal specialty this situation would be considered. Is it collections or dispute?

A: If the economics of the claim warrant investing in an attorney, you will be much better off with counsel. If it is a few hundred dollars, file at the local District Justice on your own. Since you state it is a significant amount of money, you would be better off with an attorney to ensure you get a judgment and it is enforceable and if so enforced correctly. Many people obtain judgments against others, but cannot enforce them. At a minimum you need to consult with a civil attorney to see if it is worth proceeding, and if so, exactly how.

 

Can we sue my boyfriend for not paying my mother?

Q: Theft by deception in Pennsylvania? My mother purchased a vehicle for the man I’ve been with since 2009, the same year of purchase. He is under verbal agreement to pay her over $20, 000 for it and hasn’t paid a dime yet. During this time I asked about the money then he physically mentally and emotionally verbally abused me when I mention the money owed. I need to know what to do to get her paid. He makes plenty if money to have paid her. She was very ill a few years ago he was waiting for her not to survive so he could get out of paying but she did. I’m not getting any answers from anyone else. Can you help?

A: Theft by Deception is a crime. I think you will have difficulty having the police or District Attorney file criminal charges with these facts. You may be able to sue him civilly, even though this is a verbal promise to pay and not a written contract. You need to decide whether you want him out of your life as this will make the lawsuit easier to carry out. For a civil suit, you could have a one or a four year statute of limitations, depending on the facts, but most likely a four year statute of limitation. So, time is of the essence if it is not too late for a suit at this point. I advise you to speak with a lawyer. Although it is a verbal contract, recovery of $20,000.00 should be pursued.

Are late fees on top of late fees legal?

Q: Is it legal to keep charging late fees on top of late fees when everything else has been paid in full? I was charged a late fee and did not pay it. Now I am being charged a late fee each month for not paying the original late fee. Otherwise my account is paid in full.

A: It depends. What type of debt is this? If it is a credit card, PA collection laws may apply. If this debt is for unpaid real estate taxes or municipal services, there may be other consumer protection laws that apply, but generally, the laws are against the taxpayer regarding taxes. Does your original agreement for services, permit late fees? Does it allow unpaid late fees to accrue and continually charge interest? Generally, even if valid, late fees and interest can be negotiated downward. You can try this on your own, but if not successful, I advise you to see a lawyer as he or she can look at your original contract or agreement and advise if what is being done is permissible and, if any debt collection protection law applies to you.

Employer says they will deny my worker’s compensation claim for MRSA.

Q: I work in healthcare ambulance transport company and developed MRSA.I was at work one day I must of had a patient that had this MRSA I transported him or her and developed MRSA I had filled out an injury report to my supervisor, they told me I would be deny workman’s compensation what can I do ?

A: Don’t accept the answer from your employer as true. They don’t want to pay money and have no concern about your health. You may or may not have a claim, but I suggest you to contact a worker’s compensation lawyer immediately. Preserve any evidence you can from your job before letting your intentions known to your employer, i.e., copies of trip sheets, logs, etc. (do not go as far as taking company property). Also, while the events are still fresh in your mind write down everything that happened, including dates and times of conversations about this with your employer.

INSURANCE COMPANY IS NOT PAYING MY BILLS

Q: Signed a compromise and release with insurance company, Doctor bills still not payed from them, going to collection in 10 days. This was all agreed upon at court and Insurance Company is to pay for my Surgery also, with recovery. What are my options at this point? Surgery is already scheduled in 3 weeks.

A:  If you did not have a lawyer draft this settlement agreement with the insurance company, you need to review it carefully to see if what you signed obligates the insurance company to pay your continuing treatment. If you are not sure, take it to a lawyer for review. If the lawyer agrees with your assessment, he or she can threaten litigation and if necessary, file a breach of contract, or possible a bad faith claim against the insurance company. If the contract is clear, the insurance company could be dragging their feet and hoping you go away.