I sold my sign business to an employee when I retired 2 years ago, what are my rights if they have now stopped paying?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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I sold my sign business to an employee when I retired 2 years ago, what are my rights if they have now stopped paying?

We both signed a contract stipulating total cost, assets and repayment schedule. He began making payments but then stopped. I have spoken to him, private messaged him and emailed him, each time, he promises to send money but never does. I sent him a demand letter 2 months ago, giving him 30 days to catch up his “past due”. He said he would get a check in the mail ASAP but never did. How do I go about filing a lein or a lawsuit to get the other $42.000? I now live in another state.

Asked on December 10, 2015 under Business Law, Florida


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can file a lawsuit for breach of contract / account stated.  You are the plaintiff. The other party to the contract is the defendant.
A lawsuit can be filed in the state where the plaintiff resides or in the state where the defendant resides or in the state where the claim occurred.  For convenience purposes such as court appearances and filing documents with the court, you can file your lawsuit in the state where you now reside. 
After filing your lawsuit with the court, you will need to have it served on the defendant.  A process server in or near the city where the defendant resides should be used to serve the defendant.  You can find process servers listed under attorney services in the Yellow Pages or online.  The summons will state how many days after being served, the defendant has to file an answer to the complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit).  If the defendant does not file an answer with the court within the requisite time and serve it on you by mail, you can file a default.  This means the defendant has lost the case unless the defendant files a motion to have the default set aside.  If the defendant succeeds with setting aside the default, the case is then back on track and litigation will continue.  You will then be pursuing discovery such as interrogatories, request for production of documents, request for admissions, etc.
If you prevail in the case either on the default or subsequently if the default is set aside, you can then enforce the judgment with a lien, wage garnishment, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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