What are my defenses to not paying an ex-roommate for the final utility bill?

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What are my defenses to not paying an ex-roommate for the final utility bill?

My ex-roommate is taking me to small claims court over $300 in utilities. I have not payed him the moneys owed because of an altercation that began during the process of moving out. We had an agreement to split a u-haul truck and after helping him with his furniture, he would help me finish. After loading up his furniture, he took off and never came back (when we were supposed to unload everything at the storage unit.) This forced me to miss work to get everything moved and unloaded alone, so that I would not be charged for an extra day with the u-haul. He never contributed financially for the moving costs. He also confronted me another day at the storage unit about the $300. When I attempted to drive away to avoid an altercation, he reached in my car window and hit me in the face. Do you think he has a case after all of this?

Asked on October 5, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You both have a case for something.  He has a right to half the utility bills as agreed (was it orally or in writing) and you have a case for half the costs of the u-haul and other expenses (I am assuming orally).  What you are going to do is to counter-claim - if permitted in small claims court - for the expenses that he was supposed to pay half of.  Bring a detailed accounting and all receipts for the u-haul, etc.  You can even throw in the missed wages, if any, to show the court you lost a days pay as well.  What will happen will be a crap shoot.  No one can tell you for sure.  Now, I am hoping that you are not sharing the storage unit as he seems like a hot headed kind of guy.  That incident I would speak with an attorney about.  Good luck.


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