Is it worth my time/money to attempt to obtain the $1,000 owed to me?

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2011

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Is it worth my time/money to attempt to obtain the $1,000 owed to me?

Approximately 9 month ago my then-business partner offered to buy my half of the business for $4,000 minus $500 pay advances already taken from the business. We have a signed/notarized agreement that gave her 6 months to pay the $3,500 owed to me. After sending a certified letter nearly (2) months after the 6 month deadline, she remitted a check that was $1,000 short. She cited “outstanding utilities and consignor payouts”. Our signed agreement says nothing about eligible deductions from the agreed buyout figure.

Asked on August 19, 2011 Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is probably not worth your time to retain an attorney--at hourly rates usually (even for solo practioners) ranging from $100 to $250, it doesn't take many hours of attorney work to put you in the red even if you won the case and collected the money. And if you lost, you'd have spent several hundred or thousand dollars for no reason.

On the other hand, you should be able to sue on a contract in small claims court for $1,000, representing yourself. If you do this, your out-of-pocket expense would just be the filing fee (usually $50 or less). This would very likely be worthwhile, especially if the contract is as clear cut as  you indicate. Contact your local court, either in person or online, to find out about bringing a small claims action. Good luck.

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 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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