Can I sue my roommate for the damages that she caused me?

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Can I sue my roommate for the damages that she caused me?

I need to sue a roommate for leaving in the middle of a lease. She refused to sign the lease settlement unless I offered to pay the entire portion. I am now trying to sue her for my entire damages that she caused. But since I was forced to offer to pay the entire portion what advice do you have?

Asked on April 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you signed an agreement or settlement in which you agreed to pay the entire cost, you likely cannot sue your roommate to recover her share of those costs--you have already agreed to bear them. While you may feel you forced you to sign that, she did not coerce you from a legal point of view: in the eyes of the law, duress or coercion is the application of threats or leverage which is itself illegal or improper, like physical threats, blackmail, extortion, or threatening to take your property. But if she simply said she would sign unless you agreed to pay the entire portion, that is her right, just as it would have been your right to not sign the settlement, accept the consequences thereof, then sue your roommate for the losses, costs, or damages she caused you.


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