Friend's relationship went south Small Claims court next stop.

A buddy of mine was dating a girl for 3 years. They decided to start looking for a house together in addition to getting married. They were able to go in on a house together (a real fixer-upper) however my buddy was not able to be on the mortgage. He had to file for bankruptcy previously. They were kind of in a hurry because of the home buyer’s credit incenetive, but I digress.

So anyways she purchased the home since she was the first time buyer, and his contribution was essentially giving her approxiametely $15k (between savings and paychecks) to go towards fixing the house up. He also busted his ass doing all kinds of repairs (the previous owners decided to take all the copper pipes out for scrap for example).

From what I understand the relationship ended (as she was banging a so-called friend) and he is out $15k. He can show with bank statements how his savings dwindled, and also show with receipts alot of money being spent at various home improvement stores. He also has pictures of before and after shots of the various stages of the fixing up of the home with many of the pictures showing him in it. I wonder if all this is “good enough” for a judge in small claims court to rule in his favor? Of course they didn’t sign any agreements/contracts as they both just went by each others words and actions.

I also want to know if it is possible for him to go for the whole $15k through some other avenue or court. How hard would it be for him to sue her outright, and how difficult would it be to win? One other thing that I will add is that he has am email from her stating very succintly that she promises to pay him back when she sells the house. Is an email like that worth anything in this mess? Admissable in court, or good enough for him to file a lien on her at least?

I’d aim to put a lien on the house. My experience with liens is walk into the court house ask for the appropriate form, fill it out which involves briefly describing the reason, and mail it in. The court notifies the property owner and they have a period in which they can contest it. Of the few liens I’ve filled no one contested. It would force her to honor her claim in the e-mail. There may be a court cost associated I can’t remember if so it was like 40-50 dollars.

If he is trying to get money here and now he can go to court. 15k may be to high for small claims. If she doesn’t have the money or does not want to pay the money it can easily be drawn out and time consuming enough that it would not be worth the man hours or legal fee’s

He should speak to a lawyer before doing anything. $15,000 is too high for small claims court anywhere that I’m familiar with. He should review the facts with someone who has knowledge of the law as it applies where he lives, to determine if it is worth the filing fees, process serving, etc, before proceeding.

This kind of sounds like a quasi-contract scenario, and that sort of case just isn’t a slam dunk, ever, if it even can succeed in your jurisdiction. The email could create evidence of a reasonable expectation of future payment for the work he did. Don’t take my word for it though.

This is probably the best advice he’ll get here. I’m going to close this because the OP seeks legal advice about an existing case.

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