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Looking for Pa law to support argument in court

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by Robert LaBrie, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Robert LaBrie

    Robert LaBrie Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am full time real estate investor. I bought a house on the court steps, which had a camper in back yard. When I went to the home I noticed someone had been maintaining the lawn on the vacant property. I met my neighbor who told me he had been doing it for a year and said he would continue to do so for me. It was a small yard and I said cool, and thanked him. Over the 1 year flipped we became somewhat friends. He help me by checking on the home, lending me a shove no and then. I helped him, shoveling driveway when he hurt his back, excetra
    At one point I lent him my $400 jackhammer, 5 months prior to closing on home. When I actually closed on home, I had forgotten I had lent it to him. After another 5 months passed, I had a home I needed that tool and began looking for it. Remembering he had it i went to his home where he told me he had lent it out to someone else and could not get it back. He then told me he did not feel bad about it because I never removed the ugly camper in my back yard. When I took ownership of the home he had asked what I was going to do with it and I had said I was going to remove it.

    He feels upset having helped me over the year but not seeing the camper gone and had now justified him not returning item.

    He says if I want my jackhammer back I need to pay him money for mowing the lawn.

    It’s my understanding I had no legal obligation to him to move the camper since no consideration was ever given to him for mowing the lawn. I had told him I was going to move the camper independent of his actions

    I intend to file a complaint with the local court and wish to site this basic rule of contract law but don’t to where to find it in the pa law books. Can someone point me in the right direction as well as any other Relative thoughts.

    Any suggestions on how to prevail in court would be most helpful. I fear a local judge may tell me to shut up if I get to legal and tell me it’s only fair I give him money for mowing my lawn, foregoing the legal rule set
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your fears are well founded.

    Small claims courts aren't often interested in legal arguments.

    In your situation you and the neighbor didn't have a contract.

    You can sue for the jackhammer at its "fair market value" which is probably much less than the $400 you paid for it.

    The smarter play here is to chalk the matter up as another life lesson.

    Ben Franklin said it best, I'll paraphrase, "Never a borrower or a lender be".

    He also spoke about fences and good neighbors.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    This is not a contracts issue, it's a bailment issue and I think you'll be making a mistake bringing contracts into the argument. It'll just muddy the waters.

    Here's what you need to know about bailments:

    Bailment - Everything2.com

    Couple of other things:

    1 - If you win you are only entitled to the depreciated (used) value of the jackhammer, not the cost of a new one.

    2 - You "forgetting" about it for a long period of time could be construed as abandoning it and work against you.

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