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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>DCM Got A Lawyer....Over $350
cillybean83 08:57 AM 01-13-2011
So, the mom that I'm taking to court to get the money I'm owed from her breaking her contract has hired an attorney. He called this morning and he's drafting a letter, he said I should have it by late afternoon via email and in tomorrows snail mail. The way he was wording things made me a little curious, there was a lot of "after you see the letter, if you still decide to go to court we'll set a date" and "well, look over the letter and see what you think before you make any decisions"...I have a signed contract, she has words, so I'm wondering if this guy is just a lawyer who happens to be a friend of the family she's gotten to try and scare me off getting my money, or try to mediate without going to trial...very interesting developments!

Hopefully she isn't trying to scare me off because I have my contract, receipts, and billing statements, emails... and she has the words "but I didn't say I wanted to leave"
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Blackcat31 09:02 AM 01-13-2011
Where I live lawyers are not allowed in conciliation court (small claims court) so if YOU are the one filing the case, I would assume it is in small claims court...her attorney can only advise her but not be present in the court with her. Your court rules may be different but I would call the court administrator asap and find out. If SHE is filing against you for something then she can hire who ever she wants.....But call the court administrator and find out. If I am correct and you do go to small claims she can appeal the ruling if she loses but again can not have an attorney present in court with her. Most attorneys have a retainer of atleast $1500 so it would seem as though she may just be trying to intimidate you. Perhaps her attorney is a friend or relative who can help her write a good, scary, intimidating letter because it seems an awful lot to pay for an attorney for a two week bill at daycare! There has got to be more to it....
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Blackcat31 09:04 AM 01-13-2011
Sorry I read your post a little closer and you did saythe lawyer was a friend...I think she is trying to strong arm you....call the court administrator. YOUare the one filing a court case not her so what in the world would her lawyer "friend" possibly say in a letter...File and you will be sorry? You have proof...she has a friend who likes to express his power....
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lvt77 09:04 AM 01-13-2011
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Where I live lawyers are not allowed in conciliation court (small claims court) so if YOU are the one filing the case, I would assume it is in small claims court...her attorney can only advise her but not be present in the court with her. Your court rules may be different but I would call the court administrator asap and find out. If SHE is filing against you for something then she can hire who ever she wants.....But call the court administrator and find out. If I am correct and you do go to small claims she can appeal the ruling if she loses but again can not have an attorney present in court with her. Most attorneys have a retainer of atleast $1500 so it would seem as though she may just be trying to aintimidate you. Perhaps her attorney is a friend or relative who can help her write a good, scary, intimidating letter because it seems an awful lot to pay for an attorney for a two week bill at daycare! There has got to be more to it....
ditto on that!!
I think shes blowin' smoke......
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cillybean83 09:08 AM 01-13-2011
in tennessee there is no such thing as small claims, everything is general session and everything goes to trial, it's lame! So her lawyer can show up and do his nails in the courtroom or something, I'm not quite sure what else he can do for her in this situation...if I had to guess I would assume she's got some sob story like "I didn't feel like my child was safe so I had no choice but to pull her so I shouldn't have to pay to break the contract" because from what I've seen and heard, most parents cry abuse/neglect to get out of paying...but even that is discredited by her emails that say she didn't cancel care...so I don't know what in the world he could possibly do for her.
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cillybean83 09:11 AM 01-13-2011
I would bet my life savings that this letter he sends is going to say something along the lines of "let's not take this to court, come to my office, lets settle outside the courtroom" because on the phone he said "well hopefully after you read the letter we drafted you'll consider talking with me further about the matter" if he had something on me he would have been like "look, she filed a report stating abuse so unless you want to deal with abuse charges you should just drop this and move on" but no, he was sugar coating everything
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jen 09:12 AM 01-13-2011
My guess is that she didn't give her lawyer friend the whole story! Once you have gotten his letter, draft a careful response which outlines the whole story for him. Once he has all the information, he may change his tune.
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Blackcat31 09:12 AM 01-13-2011
Originally Posted by cillybean83:
in tennessee there is no such thing as small claims, everything is general session and everything goes to trial, it's lame! So her lawyer can show up and do his nails in the courtroom or something, I'm not quite sure what else he can do for her in this situation...if I had to guess I would assume she's got some sob story like "I didn't feel like my child was safe so I had no choice but to pull her so I shouldn't have to pay to break the contract" because from what I've seen and heard, most parents cry abuse/neglect to get out of paying...but even that is discredited by her emails that say she didn't cancel care...so I don't know what in the world he could possibly do for her.
In that case, just stay calm, cool, collected and keep your files and records. You have all the proof necessary no matter what sob story she may try. I would think that judges aren't dumb and have seen and heard most every sob story out there...just stand your ground no matter what because you are right. You also have physical proof and she has nothing so....keep us posted on the legal letter that is suppose to have you shakin in your boots...I'm dying to know what it says now! When is the attorney suppose to get it to you?

Plus, when a judge sees she supposedly hired a lawyer to get out of $350 she/he is gonna be thinking WTH?
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Childminder 09:20 AM 01-13-2011
In MI if you take someone to small claims they can refuse it and it sends it to civil division to be judged. Happened to me once. She hired an attorney and I represented myself cause it cost more for an attorney than what she owed. If she had won I would have had to pay for her attorney.
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nannyde 09:22 AM 01-13-2011
She can either give you the money or go to court. It's nice he's willing to play her hand out for you in advance. Just take whatever they will give you and give NOTHING to him.

Do NOT argue ANY of the case with him.
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cillybean83 09:30 AM 01-13-2011
i'm so excited about getting this letter, it's like Christmas morning for me. All my life I wanted to be a lawyer, I truly believe it was my calling. I was prelaw in college, I got excepted into a J.D. program at Northwestern...then life happened and I ended up falling back on a "safe" teaching degree because I wanted to be involved more with my children and not work a 60 hour week as a lawyer.

This stuff is right up my alley and if I get to face off with a "real" lawyer in a courtroom I will be able to die a happy girl which is why it cracks me up that she thinks she's scaring me, I live for stuff like this! lol

When I get it I'll post what it says!
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MommyMuffin 09:55 AM 01-13-2011
Just curious...did you have her sign a term or end of care contract or on your original contract did she date and sign the last day the child would be there?
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Little People 09:57 AM 01-13-2011
Originally Posted by cillybean83:
So, the mom that I'm taking to court to get the money I'm owed from her breaking her contract has hired an attorney. He called this morning and he's drafting a letter, he said I should have it by late afternoon via email and in tomorrows snail mail. The way he was wording things made me a little curious, there was a lot of "after you see the letter, if you still decide to go to court we'll set a date" and "well, look over the letter and see what you think before you make any decisions"...I have a signed contract, she has words, so I'm wondering if this guy is just a lawyer who happens to be a friend of the family she's gotten to try and scare me off getting my money, or try to mediate without going to trial...very interesting developments!

Hopefully she isn't trying to scare me off because I have my contract, receipts, and billing statements, emails... and she has the words "but I didn't say I wanted to leave"
I have never heard of an Attorney calling. They usually send a letter with Delivery Confirmation. But I may still be in the old days.
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cillybean83 09:59 AM 01-13-2011
she wouldn't sign anything, everything was FINE until she just decided not to pay anymore! I told her she needed to pay and she freaked and said "I'm never coming back if all you want is money!"

Which is fine, I thought about the fact that she might say she never broke the contract and claim that I kicked her out, but it isn't true, and I told her several times in emails that she was NOT termed, she just needed to pay her balance to continue care, to which she replied "I will never step foot in your house again, i'm done, I want my child's spare outfits" which, without saying the words "i am terminating my contract" is a clear admission that she is the one who decided to leave.
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cillybean83 10:00 AM 01-13-2011
I'm thinking Mr. Attorney is a family friend with no real interest in the matter because he doesn't stand to gain anything from it...but he's an actual attorney, it was a law firm on the caller id
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safechner 10:02 AM 01-13-2011
I had laugh about this because your dcm's lawyer is trying to scare you to drop the court or whatever reason. Your dcm is an idiot big time. lol.. I would love to read what it says in the letter...
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Little People 10:05 AM 01-13-2011
Originally Posted by cillybean83:
I'm thinking Mr. Attorney is a family friend with no real interest in the matter because he doesn't stand to gain anything from it...but he's an actual attorney, it was a law firm on the caller id
Sometimes you can go to an Attorney and pay them JUST to send a letter. Maybe this is what she is doing in hopes it will scare you away!
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Lilbutterflie 10:07 AM 01-13-2011
Maybe the letter is saying she'll give you X amount and asking you to settle? Either way, you should stay strong, stay cool, and take her little butt to court to get the full amount you are owed.
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cillybean83 10:18 AM 01-13-2011
I'm positive the letter will be some sort of settlement offer, my husband thinks it will be an offer to pay the previous balance and knock off late fees, to which I say no dice! I shouldn't have to sit here without my money for a month and not be compensated for it.
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dEHmom 10:31 AM 01-13-2011
Originally Posted by cillybean83:
I'm positive the letter will be some sort of settlement offer, my husband thinks it will be an offer to pay the previous balance and knock off late fees, to which I say no dice! I shouldn't have to sit here without my money for a month and not be compensated for it.
More than likely.
Sorry to hear all this. But I'm glad you're enjoying it! LOL!

I agree, in a sense the settlement may be more worth it, than going to court. But if you go to court are you asking for treble damages on top of late fees? Then it's much more worth it to go to court!

If you can, I say go for the treble damages. With this nut, I'm sure the judge is ruling in your favor anyway.
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countrymom 10:36 AM 01-13-2011
1.I hope you kept every email,letter,form that you have on this kid, even text messages, don't forget dates and times (I watch way too much peoples court)

2.do you guys have legal aid, its a service that is for people based on income. Or call around and ask a lawyer what they think before you respond.

3.she's blowing smoke, she wants to scare you, I've never heard of a lawyer sending things thru email, I thought it was all thru registered mail (you have to sign for it) also, I kinda wonder if he just works there, he's really not a lawyer. I would call back and find out more info on him (pretend you are looking for a lawyer) for all you know it can be a divorce lawyer.
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marniewon 10:49 AM 01-13-2011
Originally Posted by countrymom:
3.she's blowing smoke, she wants to scare you, I've never heard of a lawyer sending things thru email, I thought it was all thru registered mail (you have to sign for it) also, I kinda wonder if he just works there, he's really not a lawyer. I would call back and find out more info on him (pretend you are looking for a lawyer) for all you know it can be a divorce lawyer.
It's probably someone who works in the mail room who is a friend of this dcm...
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QualiTcare 12:20 PM 01-13-2011
i HAVE heard of lawyers calling BUSINESSES before and speaking to owners. i actually worked at a place where the lawyer of a client called and spoke to the owner - and daycare is a business.

i wouldn't talk to him anymore (unless whatever in the letter is what you want to do), but i DEFINITELY would NOT write anything down. not in an email or in a letter.
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Abigail 12:34 PM 01-13-2011
To avoid extra headache, I would ignor this new guy completely and don't respond AT ALL. He has nothing to do with it. You are simply taking this DCP to court....end of case. I'm wondering about your contract though because you said she didn't sign anything? I'm wondering how it holds up in court. Good for you for being excited about it, LOL, I would be stressing out!
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cillybean83 12:38 PM 01-13-2011
I've decided not to do anything until I consult with my attorney, Mr. Magic 8 Ball,

Me: Mr. Magic 8 Ball, do you think I should sue to get my money?

Magic 8 Ball: All signs point to yes

Because, that's about the equivilent of her lawyer...you should see the email he sent me. "Ms. *** has asked me to represent her regarding your potential future lawsuit against her. Please let me know if you do decide to file a lawsuit."

Um, ok...see here is the thing, how do you represent someone against something that hasn't happened. He's just going to sit there and wait until I decide if and when I file? I can't wait to see what this letter says, it can't be much more than "prety please with a cherry on top, dont sue my client" hahaha
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cillybean83 12:39 PM 01-13-2011
oh she signed a contract, she just didn't sign anything or send me a letter officially terminating care, she just quit and never came back, which I'm sure isn't uncommon...
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misol 12:48 PM 01-13-2011
Originally Posted by nannyde:
She can either give you the money or go to court. It's nice he's willing to play her hand out for you in advance. Just take whatever they will give you and give NOTHING to him.

Do NOT argue ANY of the case with him.
This is the best advice. Keep any letters and document the date and nature of any calls, emails, or texts that you receive from either of them and bring it all to court. Don't play their game.
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Abigail 12:48 PM 01-13-2011
oh okay, that's good. I thought you meant she was paying and had no problems without a contract. Got it now. Magic 8 ball is funny! Make sure to keep it real and down to business. It will be just one more experience that will help you be successful in the future too.
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dEHmom 12:49 PM 01-13-2011
Definitely waiting to hear what the letter states.

I guarantee she is trying to scare you. She probably walked into the law office with her brother and they said they had a flat tire can we use your phone, lol. They called you, and made a fake email address. lol. JK

The longer she sits there, the more she is worrying about what she has against you in court. She can make up as many lies as she wants, they're lies, and judges aren't stupid. Most people can spot a liar by the expressions and eye contact. She'll dig herself into a hole when she lies to the judge, and she won't be able to climb out of it.

If the judge for some reason goes in her favor, he/she does not deserve to sit in that seat.
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cillybean83 01:05 PM 01-13-2011
i won't be responding to the lawyer via email or regular mail, he's more than welcome to send me mail, but the only thing i'm willing to talk with him about is getting my money--all of it.

the deal with her is that she's crazy (obviously) she was given $$ and decided to prepay a certain amount, then have half her weekly fee deducted each week from that account, and pay the remaining balance. So for 8 weeks she's been dipping into that reserve account, which I was fine with, I thought it was weird but i didn't mind because i keep good records.

Well, when she quit she had $250 remaining in that account. She didn't pay for a week of care, she didn't pay for an extra day of care and she didn't pay the $400 I charge for breaking the contract early so all that she owed added up to close to $550, I took off the $250 that she had left, which still left her with a balance due.

She wants to claim that she shouldn't pay me for anything--and I should give her the $250....not happening!
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dEHmom 01:08 PM 01-13-2011
yeah I remember that was the woman! lol.

Is the 400 for breaking the contract legal though?

I know I could never do that!
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cillybean83 08:00 AM 01-14-2011
I can't see why it wouldn't be legal. I require 1 months written notice when parents want to leave daycare, or they can choose to pay for the final month of care and leave without attending, it's up to them. This nutjob decided to up and leave which meant that she chose to pay the 1 month in leiu of notice, I charge $100 per week so that would have been $400 she owed.
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dEHmom 08:04 AM 01-14-2011
ooooh ok, I thought you were saying that ONTOP of all of those. LOL. It sounded more like a charge then the leiu of.
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cillybean83 08:20 AM 01-14-2011
I wish I could throw in a couple thousand for her being stupid and annoying, but the judge might not go for that lol
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dEHmom 08:22 AM 01-14-2011
HAHA, don't we all?

I am hoping I never have to go to court.
I sent that certified letter re: the deposit, I know they read it, they never responded. I know it's not good for business, but I'm not pursuing it. Not worth it to me. If I had ACTUALLY provided a service and they didn't pay that would be different. I was just annoyed that they knew I had interviews the next morning, and insisted on coming before those interviews. It was my mistake to allow it, LIVE AND LEARN.
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Tags:lawyer, non-payment, small claims
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