My friends parents are taking my ex-boyfriend to small claims for not finishing a remodeling job, am I liable for the checks written to me for the job?

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My friends parents are taking my ex-boyfriend to small claims for not finishing a remodeling job, am I liable for the checks written to me for the job?

Last year my ex-boyfriend had a contract with my friend’s parents to remodel their income property. When it was time to collect partial payments for material and labor, the checks were always written in my name instead of the business name to cash. Although I never really saw the money, am I still liable for the checks? The parents are telling me I have nothing to worry about because they are taking him to court and not me for breach of contract.

Asked on August 15, 2011 Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could indeed have something to worry about, in that since the checkers were written to you, they could change their minds and try to recover them from you; or your ex-boyfriend could claim that you never turned the money over to him, which is why he did not finish the job--i.e. as far as he was concerned, he was not being paid. If you cashed the checks and gave him the money as cash, without getting a written receipt or acknowledgment from him, how would you prove that you turned the money over to him? On its face, it would be very plausible that you kept the money yourself. In short, you could find yourself potentially be sued by one or even both parties. This is potentially a very dangerous position you placed yourself in, and you might also ask yourself why (really; not the stated reason) your ex-boyfriend made sure that papertrail of payments leads to you, not him.


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