Legal Question in Civil Litigation in New Jersey

What are my rights as a lein holder

I sold a truck to someone in June of 2004, we agreed to a weekly payment plan $250/week. I wrote up a small contract to cover myself and we both signed it and got the contract noterized. The truck broke down a couple of weeks later and has been sitting at a repair shop, REPAIRED for 5 1/2 months. Now the owner of the shop will not release the truck until the bill is paid plus storage fees $2000, I haven't recieved any money from the person who bought the truck and the owner of the shop has not recieved any money from the person who brought the truck to them. What can I do?


Asked on 11/29/04, 7:49 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Alan Albin Alan S. Albin, Attorney at Law

Re: What are my rights as a lein holder

It depends. The terms of your contract govern your rights with the person you sold the truck to. You don't say what those terms are; you don't say how much you sold the truck for; you don't say how much the truck is actually worth; you don't say whether you knew it was having problems, i.e. had some reason to know it might soon have a breakdown.

In any event, assuming you actually sold the truck, I would also assume that you transferred the title. Whether or not you transferred the title, however, technically you have no obligation to the repair shop--it's not your truck, right? Your only legal claim is for the contract price against the person you sold it to. If that person refuses to pay, then you could sue that person on the contract. Of course, they could defend or countersue based on the claim that you sold them a "lemon."

No one gets the truck back from the repair shop until the repair shop is paid, as they have a mechanic's lien on the truck. Unless you're claiming that they overcharged.

Sounds to me like a little poetic justice might be going on here. Did you sell this guy a "lemon"?

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Answered on 12/03/04, 6:52 pm
Raymond Weicker Weicker Law, PLLC

Re: What are my rights as a lein holder

Your status as a "lien holder" may be in question, and your rights will turn on how well the contract was crafted and whether your lien was properly perfected. I recommend you consult the attorney who drafted your contract and handled the title transfer; he or she can probably best advise you of your rights and responsibilities regarding repossession.

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Answered on 11/29/04, 8:11 pm
Drew Hurley Law Offices of Drew M. Hurley

Re: What are my rights as a lein holder

From your question, I'm guessing that you do not presently have a lien on the vehicle, but rather merely some contractual rights. I would suggest you consider filing suit against the buyer as soon as you can in order that there might still be some value as the mechanic will have a mechanic's lien for his costs which likely will be superior to your claim.

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Answered on 11/29/04, 8:55 pm


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