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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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