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I recently quit my job due to rampant drug use by my co-workers. now my boss is trying to keep my tools as collateral for a small debt I owe him.
my tools and boxes worth a minimum 15,000.
I owe 1,400
this was a no collateral personal loan that I make payments on and am not late.
what can I do?

Asked on February 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Sue him for the value of the tools. He has no legal right to keep them unless you had signed an agreement making these tools collateral or security for your loan. You could also sue not for the tools' value (which is procedurally simpler) but for a court order requiring their return (getting a court order, as opposed to just a money "judgment," involves an extra procedural hoop or two). You can even bring the lawsuit on an "emergent" (think: "urgent" or "emergency") basis to get into court faster, such as if you need the tools for your livelihood (you have to show or describe why there is urgency to the situation when you bring an action on an emergent basis). 
Clearly, hiring an attorney would help with doing this, and for $15,000+ of value seems worth it.  A lawyer will know the court procedures; you (presumably) do not. You are allowed to act as your own attorney, however, if you want to: download a copy of the court rules and see if there are any forms and instructions available from your county court (such as online). 
Bear in mind that if repayment of the loan is due from you at this time, the employer can countersue or counterclaim for that money and get a judgment requiring you to repay the $1,400.

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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