My family’s small retail business was robbed of $100,000 worth of merchandise. There is a video of the convicts assaulting my family member and stealing our merchandise which was not insured. The convicts plead guilty and were sentenced to 2-3 years in state prison even though the charges could have carried up to two life terms each. The count of assault and battery was dropped from sentencing even though you can see it on the surveillance video. The judge also did not ask the convicts to provide restitution even though this was requested by the DA.
1. How much does it generally cost to win a civil lawsuit and how long to reach a verdict?
2. Would it make monetary sense to avoid the cost of a civil lawsuit and take the criminals to small claims court for $7,000/each?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Since they are in jail, they would probably either default, or have to fight it themselves. Since they were convicted, it would be a slam dunk. You could get a civil judgment against them both for the full $100K based on the conviction and the guilty plea relatively easily, and then hound them with it for the rest of their lives. If they ever came into money, or purchased a car, or a home, you'd be in a position to take it from them - at an interest rate of 12% per year.
I would need evidence of the value of the merchandise, as well as hospital bills, and statements from the victims as to how the assault has impacted their lives. Because of the guilty plea, and due to the sympathy element (I am so sorry that this happened to your family business) it would probably be easy enough to get the judgment - so I would be willing to handle the trial portion of it for a flat fee.
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