Legal Question in Business Law in Florida

Stop Payment on Check -- Sued by Check Cashing Company

I am threatened by a local check cashing company with a lawsuit after they cashed a check for someone after I had stopped payment. The person to whom I wrote the check never returned to my home to complete the repairs for which he was paid and he obviously never intended to complete those repairs when he cashed the check. The check cashing company never bothered to check with me or my bank as to whether there might be problems in getting the check paid. If the standard practice is to verify or not to cash third party checks at all, can they still claim I am at fault under Florida Statute 865? Would a court really award them triple damages even though I was only trying to protect myself against fraud? The amount involved is not huge and I have offered the check cashing comapny to pay them for the value of the work already done. But I think they could have been more careful in this case (the FL AG office also advises people not to cash third party checks and similar companies thay I querief said they wouldn't do it either or would verify with the bank first. Is thsi company still entitled to be a holder in due course?

Asked on 3/03/09, 5:52 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Alan Wagner Wagner McLaughlin, P.A.

Re: Stop Payment on Check -- Sued by Check Cashing Company

The statue does not apply to you and they are not entitled to treble damages and the like. No intent to defraud.

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Answered on 3/05/09, 10:05 pm

Brent Rose The Orsini & Rose Law Firm

Re: Stop Payment on Check -- Sued by Check Cashing Company

The statute doesn't apply to you. The Florida civil worthless check statute only provides remedies where a check is stopped with intent to defraud. You stopped it for a legitimate reason, so you're not liable for all the extra penalties like treble damages and attorneys' fees.

However, Florida law is not very clear on whether check cashing companies are holders in due course. The answer is probably, yes, so you may be liable to the check cashing company for the value of the check.

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Answered on 3/03/09, 7:18 pm
Philip Duvalsaint Philip A. Duvalsaint, P.A.

Re: Stop Payment on Check -- Sued by Check Cashing Company

You should use this opportunity to have the check cashing company verify the individual's identity and require that they "implead" them in the case. This means to add them as a necessary party. This way, if you are held liable, you could potentially claim against this third party. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible as there are some strict time limitations.

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Answered on 3/05/09, 5:45 pm

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