Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Ohio

Small Claims Court

I and my husband signed a agreement for family Child Care that stated ''Term of Agreement'' This Agreement will continue until terminated, but can be terminated by either party for any reason by giving (2) weeks notice.

We took our 2 children out of this ladies's care (in home child-care) because I got into a disagreement with this lady and she demanded that I get out of her home and take my kids with me. She is stating in her Small Claims statement that I came in the house yelling at her and that it took her 7 times to get me out of her house. In the course of our agrument she pushed my two year old in anger and ordered me out her house and not to come back. When she tried to apolgize and offer to sit down and talk, I said no because she made no claim of every touching my two year old. My 8 year old daughter witnessed the entire scence alonger with her husband.

I want to know that since she ordered me out the house does that constitute her voiding the contract; I interrupted it as such. Please clarify. I don't think I should have her to pay, but based on the terms of the contract would we be held responsible based on Ohio Law.

Thank you for your time

614-537-2911

Asked on 12/18/03, 10:36 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Steven Martinek Steven Martinek Lawyer Ltd.
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Re: Small Claims Court

You describe a tragic fact pattern. I urge you not to become engaged in making it worse. If you are being sued for services rendered, you should pay for them. If you are being sued for causing the termination of the contractual relationship without giving the two weeks notice, you may be found liable for the minimum service for such two week period. I urge you not to subject your 8 year old daughter to testifying in Court. It is unlikely the child-care provider's husband will support your version of the events. If you possess an earnest moral certitude that your actions, conduct, and comments were completely appropriate and courteous (no threats, bad language, or raised tones), and that the care provider was out of control and acting inappropriately toward your children, then you should consider reporting her to her licensing agency or to Children's Services. However, if you acknowledge that you were also caught up in the heat of the moment, I would advise you not to do so. I would advise you to attend the Small Claim hearing and, if consistent with the facts. give testimony as follows: differences arose between us concerning the child care for our kids...despite discussion we were unable to resolve our differences...the child-care provider told me to leave and take my children and not to come back...now she has sued me...I don't believe I owe her anything. (I would downplay the confrontation that occured. Maintain a reasonable, controlled, respectful, businesslike, parental demeanor, and the Magistrate will probably rule that you only have to pay for any services you actually received. If so, pay it immediately to avoid further aggravation.) Good luck.

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12/19/03, 11:15 am

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