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Can I Sue Over a Last-Minute Cancellation? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 4/27/12

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Josh: Legal question, regarding entertainment. Can I go after an establishment for my pay if they cancelled on me the day of an event? Background, I’m a DJ. I was recruited to play for an establishment with an agreed price of $350 each Thursday night. It’s only saved in writing via email correspondence. The first week I was there they shorted me $100, the person that hired me left early. The bar paid me at the end of the night. The next week was fine, paid in full, was told see you next week. Then that Thursday, they emailed me at noon saying not to come in. I could have played elsewhere had I had prior notification. I was told I would be returning in a week, this past Thursday. I showed up, unloaded my gear and reparked my vehicle. I go in and they said I’m not performing this evening. I advised I expect to be paid in full for that night, and followed it up in writing. I have not received payment from them and wonder if I can win a case in small claims court. I was depending on the income to pay my mortgage. Please advise and thank you.
FYI, I sent them a contract ahead of time, via email, but they did not sign it. Nowhere in the contract did it mention cancellations, I regret. My new contract will have that in it for sure.

Joe Escalante: With the email evidence of a deal in place, you might win a few hundred doughnuts in small claims court with this scenario. But then you will be the D.J. that sues club owners. It might reduce the attractiveness of hiring you when word gets around. My advice is to take the high road.

Cindy: I use to have a guy renting a room from me and he left still owing me $550.00 am I allowed to keep some of his things until he pays and if so for how long do I have to keep it before I can sell the stuff? This was all a verbal agreement. He talked me into letting him move in because I am a disabled senior citizen and I need some help.

Joe Escalante: This can be legally done if you made a reasonable effort to contact your tenant in writing with a deadline, after which you will sell the items to pay the debt. The amount of time you must wait varies by state. Check out California’s applicable statute as an example. California Civil Code Section 1951.3

Adam: How does an individual start a law firm and which is the best option for someone who wants to control it privately without having to split the profits with partners?

Joe Escalante: That’s a loaded question but in general, you just start on your own as a sole practitioner. Eventually you may become a Professional Corporation, but make sure you carry malpractice insurance. You can work with other attorneys on a case by case basis, sharing fees. You can get referrals and pay referral fees, or collect them, etc. without hiring employee / partners.
You’ll figure it out. Pass the bar first.

Betty: If you give someone a life estate on real property, can liens on them be attached to the property?

Joe Escalante: Yes. This stuff varies by state, but in general, it is possible for the beneficiary to have a lien put on his or her interest in the Life Estate. Also, a lien could be put on the property itself against the person granting the life estate, but if it was put there after the Life Estate was granted, it would probably be useless. It would probably disappear upon death.

Sheila: My neighbors keep me awake day and night with stomping and thumping. I live in a lst floor condo. Their floor is my ceiling. The condo board won’t get involved. Do I have any rights at all to get a decent night’s sleep or should I just walk away from this underwater condo?

Joe Escalante: You have right to the quiet enjoyment of your property. However, proving in court that this right has been violated is an expensive proposition.

Joanna: While our condo was being stained, they found rot where the deck was attached to the outside wall. We had it repaired , but the association refused to pay for it. Is there any recourse?

Joe Escalante: I think this is worth a demand letter from an attorney. If they don’t pay, take them to small claims court over it. If it doesn’t qualify for small claims, you got a mess on your hands. Consult an attorney to see if it’s worth pursuing at that point.


Joe Escalante: A 501 (c) refers to a business entity’s tax status. A trust is an estate planning tool. The advantages and disadvantages would depend on the goals of the enterprise and the advice you get from your tax professional.

Beverly: about child custody court………My daughter has to go to family court…….in front of a judge..she has evidence on him through paper work emails stuff like that…….want to know do we have to let the court ahead of time know we will be using it in court . file it kinda…

Joe Escalante: This is a bit too cryptic to answer. It sounds like you have procedural concerns. The court clerk is the one to ask. They actually answer their phones. It’s amazing sometimes.

Ruth: I have an interesting question. My brother (whom is 54) just called to tell me that someone from immigration was coming to meet with him. Right now, he is incarcerated at a MO Dept. of Corrections facility. He was born in Stutgart W. Germany (so was a sister of ours), while our father, who was an Army Officer & an American citizen, was stationed there and our mother is also an American citizen. My question is this…Can they cause trouble for my brother and/or sister? He was born in 1957 & my sister in 1959. PLEASE HELP!!!!

Joe Escalante: If your brother was born of American citizens, he’s an American citizen, regardless of whether his parents were in the military.

Bryan: Joe I helped a young man of legal age get his life together and he has asked me to adopt him as my son, where can I get information on what would be considered adult adoptions and the forms to file myself. This means alot to me as I have no family

Joe Escalante: There’s not a lot of free information or forms about adult adopion anywhere, including Georgia. Your best bet is to get a free consultation with an adoption atty. specializing in adult adoptions.

Scott: Hey Free Joe Can U Sue For Slandar On TWITTER If Someone Calls U A Scammer/Hacker If YOU Can Prove That People Do In fact , Believe Thanks, Jordan :)

Joe Escalante: Losing followers could be considered damages if you could prove they had a monetary value. Judging by Ashton Kutcher’s latest box office receipts, they don’t.

Scott: So Even Though People Are Saying I’m A Scammer Etc.. Basically Ur Sayin’ I’m S.O.L?

Joe Escalante: Courts don’t put values on name calling. If you can prove quantifiable damages, you can seek compensation for them. If not, in the eyes of the court, there are no damages. If you are not damaged, you are not s.o.l.

Brittany: how long does it take a divorce to be processed after a order of default has been submitted?

Joe Escalante: This varies by state and jursidiction. Call the clerk and ask for an estimate.

Military Spouse: Can I legally publish the name of locations that I have lived in a book even if it includes some not so nice events that may have occurred there?

Joe Escalante: Yes!!!! Send us a copy.

Tammie: If somebody lies on Request for Admissions (custody) Can you expose it before trial if you have written confirmation that it is a lie? Use it is a tactic to discourage trial?

Joe Escalante: If the admissions contained a “under penalty of perjury” warranty then the false testimony is perjury which is a crime. Depending on the seriousness of the issue being lied about, it could help you get some concessions out of the other side I would imagine.

Brittany: In florida what is the process to change a minors last name?

Joe Escalante: You file a petition with the Chancery court, publish the hearing date, and see what the court says. If both parents aren’t on the petition, you have to give the other parent an opportunity to oppose.

Bernard: I am in Georgia. Do Non-Profit 501(C)(3)s have to be corporations, or can they be an LLC, and which would be better?

Joe Escalante: In some circumstances, an LLC could be a non-profit organization. Can they get 501 c 3 tax exempt status? I don’t know. Consult a tax pro in Georgia on this one.

Tabauren: I was discharged from the military after serving 12 years under the Lautenburg Amendment for a DV conviction that I was advised to plead guilty to by my lawyer although I being attacked and called the police. My case was recently dropped, dismissed, and closed. I was told that it would no longer show on my records. My question is if this true, will I be able to rejoin the military to continue my career.

Joe Escalante: If it doesn’t show, it’s gone, and we never have to discuss it again. If it shows up, you might need an attorney experienced in military matters to get the conviction vacated officially.

LegalZoom: That’s a wrap for Free Joe! Joe will be back next week with more free legal advice. Come join us then and have a great weekend!

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May 1st, 2012 at 5:25 am