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Answers in General Civil Litigation from Blake P. Lipman

OAKLAND, WAYNE, MACOMB, WASHTENAW, LIVINGSTON, AND GENESEE COUNTIES

Ownership of Dog

QUESTION
I had asked a former friend to hold on to a Import dog for me and train it. Papers have never been signed over to that person. I had asked her to return Dog to me for the past 4 month, Dog is now 7 moth old. She is claiming the dog was a gift to her from me. Dog papers are still in my name. I also maintained vet bills. person is now refusing to return the dog. Dog is supposed to be used and trained for future police k-9 or personal protection dog. Paid for him 1500.00 dollars to import from Germany to US. Dog now values about 3500.00 dollars. Import pedigree,money bank transfers are all still in my name. What are chances to get my dog back?

ANSWER
Dogs are personal property and are subject to a lawsuit called a claim and delivery. Do not use self help or breach the peace, you will only get yourself in trouble. I suggest filing a lawsuit for "claim and delivery," if you cannot reason with this person to return your dog. For more info, please contact my Oakland County law office at (248)851-3175.

Cosigner on student loan for brother who will not pay

QUESTION
Last year, I co-signed for a $10,000 student loan for my brother to participate in a 3-week construction/heavy equipment operation course. He is 20 years old and is currently employed, however, not in construction, but as a janitor. He completed the training from the school. The loan is currently in repayment status and has been for over 7 months. He agreed to pay this loan but has failed to pay every month. I have been forced to pay each month to prevent my credit from being affected. However, I cannot afford to continue to pay the loan. My brother makes enough money to pay the loan, but refuses. I have talked with and pleaded with him numerous times, to no avail. Is there something I can do to remove myself from the loan and to make him pay for his own loan? What resources are available?

ANSWER
I'm afraid that this is the risk of co-signing for someone. This is the exact reason the creditor wanted a co-signor. Obviously the creditor knew your brother was a credit risk and you did not. Short of bankruptcy, I see no way for you to be released from this obligation. You should encourage your brother to make the payments on time explaining to him that it is destroying your credit. Good luck!! For more info, please contact my Oakland County Law Office at 248)851-3175.

Rats

QUESTION
The city of Westland approved the placement of a dumpster by my house on my privacy fence without a rat wall over a sewer line, the dumpster is rented by a bar which is on the opposite end of a parking lot by my house. The city of Westland also let them place a grease pit by my house which sits on the ground with no screens and a hole in the lid. Consequently my property has been infested with rats. I have gone to the city council, gone to the media, talked to the mayor, gone to the county environmental health department, written the state representative,etc. As of today the dumpster is still by my house and I still have rats on my property, next to the base of my house and I have rat tunnels throughout my backyard. The value of my property is in question and the exterminator I hired said he cannot do anything about the rats as long as the dumpster remains by my house over a sewer line with out a rat wall. The bar claims the city approved the placement of the dumpster so they are not liable. I am living with rats in a suburban area. I have even been on WDIV with Jeff Vaughn, but the dumpster and grease pit are still there. Thanks

ANSWER
The dumpster may be considered a legal "nuisance." You can sue to have the dumpster removed. You may also get damages. You should seek legal counsel immediately. For more info, please contact my law office at (248)851-3175.

Lawsuit entered into wrong forum

QUESTION
What are the chances of collecting monetary damages resulting from lawsuit entered when it should have been arbitrated? The purchase agreement arbitration clause was misunderstood by buyers attorney and I was sued. A default judgment was awarded because a serious health issue prevented me from responding. My income is social security disability and exempt from garnishment.I entered a motion and the judgment was stayed. The judge explained the meaning of arbitration and ordered the case to be abribtrated.The complaint contained a figure of $2,300. The default judgment was sum certain in the amount of $22,000.Judge was suspect of the true object of the lawsuit.My former husband was a co-seller but was not included in the lawsuit.He has supplied the buyer with my social security number without my consent.A disclosure statement signed by both sellers was signed and all known problems were stated. Structural damage was noted and the property was inspected four times by purchasers' chosen inspector.Property was bought ''AS IS''.The purchaser knows I have no assets to attach and my income is exempt.Would this be viewed as harassment and frivilous?Is it unlawful for my ex husband to give my soc # without my consent? Thanks for the help!

ANSWER
You can file a motion with the court to have the default judgment set aside, arguing that the court had no jurisdiction and the default was taken during a time you were incapacitated with illness. Short of that, the judgment will stand and the plaintiff/creditor can take all steps available to collect on the judgment. That is assuming you have any assets. For more info, please contact my office at (248)851-3175.

Harrasment or stalking

QUESTION
I have a 80 year old man that walks the streets in my neighborhood. 6 months ago he thinks I almost hit his leg with my can tuning the corner on my way home from work. He said nothing to be for months about it. If I did I am not aware of it. Fot the last 6 months he has been walking around my house over and over when he sees my car in the driveway yelling at my children and wife. I drop my son at the bus stop at 8:45 each morning . He times it so that he goes for his walk at that exact time. I called the police and filed a report. He admitted to the police officer he is doing it to bug me. He stays in the public road careful not to step on my property. I try to look the other way when he walks by me each morning but after 6 months I have had it. Help what to do and not to do.If I did come close to him I am not aware of it. however what he is doing trying to bug me and my family every day by repeatly walking by my house every day at the same time on my way to work to me is odd behavior and needs to stop. also,at 8:45 this is where the elementary bus stop is and picks up children at that time, Iam trying not to confront him in front of the children. I need a restraining order to stick if I file one. What would you do?

ANSWER
You can try to get a PPO against him, but you will not be successful unless you can show that he is threatening you with actual violence. Most jurisdictions are reluctant to give a PPO unless the person poses an actual threat. The police will not intercede? You could allege he is disturbing the peace. For more info, please contact my Oakland County law office at (248)851-3175.