Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Arkansas

Can someone file a lawsuit on behalf of their spouse? After a whiny call from his "freind", my (all too trusting and nice) husband loaned him several hundred dollars cash in Feburary against my advise, on a verbal agreement that it would be repaid "in a few weeks"...we of course haven't seen a cent of it since, and his "friend" has been avoiding us like the plague. On the few rare occasions they have spoke, this friend has offered excuse after excuse as to why he hasn't repaid the loan, yet he also boasts of buying expenisive electronics and offers his reviews of the newest restuarants. Obviously he has the money to make good on his word of repaying the loan, but chooses to frivolously spend it on himself. I have been asking my husband for months to confront his "friend", but he absolutely refuses. We are not rich by any means, he simply avoids confrontations at all costs. I finally confronted this "friend" myself through a text message, and he responded only by forwarding it to my husband ,along with a threat of calling the police on ME! I am completely fed up, but I worry that since it was my husband who handed him the money, it will have to be him that files the claim, which obviously he will not do. Can I bring this small claims court myself since it's technically my money also?

Asked on 9/25/12, 7:35 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Cale Block Niswanger Law Firm

Generally, one person can't file suit on behalf of another absent a special relationship such as guardian, parent, power of attorney, personal representative, etc. However, if your husband loaned his friend marital funds, there's an argument to be made that the friend has committed some form of theft or fraud against you. So, you wouldn't be bringing suit on behalf of your husband--you'd be bringing it on your own behalf.

This is a pretty novel argument that I've never seen tested. I don't know what a small claims court would make of it. Of course, your best option is for your husband to bring suit himself, but if he's unwilling, you may have a chance with this longshot.

--The preceding is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Nothing herein is intended to eatablish an attorney/client relationship. You should not rely on the preceding in making decisions, legal or otherwise. Before acting, I recommend you conult and retain an attorney.

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Answered on 9/25/12, 7:45 am

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