There are many legal services in Ohio that help people with little or no income. There are pro bono attorneys, organizations where lawyers volunteer their time and services, and legal student services that you could use for a discounted rate or free...
Watch Out for the Dotted Line!
This week, the Ohio Sixth District Appellate Court in Toledo dismissed a consumer’s appeal after he claimed he was convinced to sign a consent agreement with the property owner through fraud because he had entered into a contract that barred his case. The lesson to learn from the Sixth District is to be aware of what you sign and how it can affect you into the future.
Charles Hanson was living in a house when Flex Property Management purchased it at a sheriff’s sale. Flex Property gave notice to Mr. Hanson to leave the property, and was directed to vacate by the end of February 2015. Mr. Hanson, representing himself pro se, entered into settlement agreement with Flex Property outside the courtroom. In exchange for $1000 cash, receiving a pre-approval letter from the bank, and an appraisal on the home, Mr. Hanson was permitted to stay in the house and make an offer to purchase. Mr. Hanson signed a consent judgment in April 2015 that was sent along with a drafted purchase agreement for the property.
However, when the two sides returned to the court, Flex Property filed the consent judgment and, according to Mr. Hanson, this showed that Flex Property had no intention of allowing him to purchase the property. With the consent judgment duly filed, the court informed Mr. Hanson that he would be removed from the house on May 30, 2015. Mr. Hanson appealed the court’s order.
The Sixth District court dismissed Mr. Hanson’s appeal.
The key issue identified by the Appellate Court is that a consented judgment entry or settlement agreement is a binding contract between the parties. Generally, one cannot appeal a contract. Since Mr. Hanson did not expressly reserve the right to appeal in the terms of the consent agreement, he was barred from contesting the judgment in that fashion.
Since the fraud that Mr. Hanson alleged to Flex Property occurred outside the courts, there is no evidence of it on the record. As such, Mr. Hanson could not argue the fraudulent inducement claim in a direct appeal either. Instead, the Sixth District instructed that Mr. Hanson would have to petition the court to set aside the judgment under Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 60(B) and make that case to the trial court. This is a more difficult process than a direct appeal.
Realize that when you sign something, you are likely forming a contract with the other party. Mr. Hanson represented himself and entered into two contracts with Flex Property: the settlement agreement & the consent judgment. Without realizing it, he had given up some of his rights and limited his options for the future.
A contract does not need to be a formal document that reads “Contract” at the top, or have “Wherefores” and “Therefores” sprinkled throughout. If the essential legal elements of a contract (offer, acceptance, and consideration) are met, the court will likely deem an agreement a legally binding contract.
Before you sign anything, ensure that you understand the consequences of each term and element. If you are across from a bank or property management company, you know they have had their attorneys make sure their rights and options are well protected. The best option is to get an attorney on your side to review everything and protect your interests. Contact Doucet & Associates to help ensure that your rights are protected.
Read the decision [Capital Income & Growth Fund, L.L.C. v. Hanson, 2016-Ohio-2973]
Doucet Recovers Treble Damages in Auto Repair Lawsuit
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. recovered treble damages (three times the actual damages) plus attorney fees, in a civil breach of contract and Consumer Sales Protection Act lawsuit against Jacobs Proformance Engines LLC (JPE an Ohio Corporation entity 1709437 – Columbus Ohio). The consumer lawyers at our law firm handle many cases against dishonest car repair shops. Sometimes the claims our lawyers handle result in the sizable recovery of money damages.
In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof to establish all the elements necessary to sustain a claim, which includes the element of damages. With legal representation from a consumer lawyer with Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A., in this civil lawsuit, the magistrate determined that all elements were met by default. The case was filed in Franklin County Court as a civil breach of contract claim lawsuit and the Consumer Sales Protection Act (CSPA).
Referred to a Magistrate for damages after the court issued a decision and entry granting plaintiff’s Motion for Default, the magistrate awarded damages based upon the default judgment.
The lawsuit was filed in Ohio after our client paid $28,400 for a high performance custom built racing engine “F2SBC Turnkey Engine”. Upon delivery of the finished motor from JPE, our client became suspicious that something was wrong with the engine. The client began disassembling the engine and noted wear and tear not normally associated with new products. Our client contacted Jacobs Proformance Engines LLC (JPE) and raised his concerns, but the defendant told him not to take the engine apart because it would “harm it.” Our client proceeded to take the engine apart and discovered his concerns were correct – the “new” engine was actually used.
After our client identified the breach of contract by JPE and contacted Doucet & Associates, our consumer lawyers filed a consumer protection lawsuit on his behalf. Our client not only recovered actual damages, but for the personal stress that lead to issues with his family, his sleep, and his general well being.
The court decided that our client would recover civil damages against Jacobs Performance Engines LLC (JPE) in the amount of $70,400 plus $500 for non-economic damages, plus attorney fees, plus interest, and plus court costs.
As a civil breach of contract lawsuit with elements covered by the Consumer Sales Protection Act, colloquially known as consumer protection, our client utilized our consumer lawyer services to obtain a favorable judgment in the breach of contract case against JPE. If you are an Ohio resident facing a similar issue with an auto repair, maintenance, upgrading shop, or another issue with this same company, you are invited to call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219 to discuss your legal options.
Attorneys for Small Business Legal Assistance
We take our consumer law practice very seriously at Doucet & Associates, but we also take pride in the assistance we offer to small businesses. The small business attorneys at our firm are proud to offer quality representation and legal services to small business owners throughout the State of Ohio, whether you are starting a new small business, or taking the next crucial steps in expanding or selling your small business. We offer legal services to a wide variety of small businesses in Ohio, but always maintain our law focus of assisting hard working individuals and businesses that need legal assistance to ensure they are working towards the right direction.
If you are looking to acquire or sell a small business in Ohio, Doucet & Associates can help you by drafting security agreements, purchase agreements, and U.C.C. Article 9s, as well as reviewing any existing legal contracts that you may have yet to sign. Our trained lawyers can help identify pitfalls in purchase agreements that can leave a small business owner’s personal property vulnerable, or effectively take away their right to legal action. Many small business owners worked hard to build a business they can be proud of. However, if it comes time to sell a small business, you need to be assured that you are getting a fair deal for the client base you spent years building and the assets that you spent hard earned money to acquire.
If you are looking to acquire a small business, Doucet & Associates is also happy to help. We file Article 9s to ensure that businesses get what they pay for when they agree to purchase a business, and are well versed in a variety of purchase agreements including cognovit notes , security agreements, and the previously mentioned Article 9 filings. These tools are designed to prevent bad business deals when purchasing a small business and we use them to ensure our clients get the best deal they can for what they worked so hard to build.
If you are looking to sell or acquire a small business, or need help starting a new one, Doucet & Associates is proud to have access to excellent attorneys that can assist you. Call us at (614) 944-5219 if you need assistance in drafting or reviewing a purchase agreement, or even what type of business would be best for you.
60 Minutes Video Worth Watching About Foreclosure Fraud
Here is a great 60 minutes video on foreclosures and foreclosure fraud. It is worth watching if you are concerned about what the banking system has done to force foreclosures through the system: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-next-housing-shock/
Our firm looks out for homeowners by questioning these kinds of documents during litigation. Call us today if you are concerned about your foreclosure and the bank’s standing.