What to do if my husband and I are wrongly being sued by the facility that we had our wedding reception at a year ago?

They claim our first payment to them was never made. However, we did pay it by money order and then at our following meeting with the reception hall, they told us the remaining balance (which was the following 2/3 payments) and we paid those as well. The first payment was made in the form of money orders as my father gave us cash to put towards it; the last 2 payments were made by check. We kept all receipts until the wedding was over, everything was fine, until 9 months after our wedding when they claimed we did not pay our first payment. Well, now we do not have our money order receipts.

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you could prove payment, then you should be able to deal with this lawsuit quickly--you'd provide proof of payment and even if the facility choose to try to go ahead with the suit, you'd likely be able to win it early, in summary judgment. However, if you do not have proof of payment, you may have problems. To recover money from you, the facility will have to prove that it is more likely than not that you did not pay (this called proving the case by a "preponderance of the evidence"); it can use the testimony of its staff, bookkeeper, etc. You can present your own testimony that you did pay. However, since normally people keep important receipts for more than 9 months, your credibility will be impaired--it will likely seem to the court that if you had paid, you'd still be able to prove it. This will make it more difficult for  you to undercut or dispute their case. If the amount at issue is several thousand dollars, you probably want to hire an attorney to help you defend the case, rather than doing it yourselves.


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