Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Virginia

Non-repayment of Loan from Friend

A ''friend'' borrowed $4,000 so that they could pay their mid-year taxes in July of 2006 and promised to pay us back the end of August 2006.

This loan was a verbal agreement so we do not have any written proof that this was a loan.

It is now October 2006 and our ''friends'' have moved and are not communicating with us. Do we have any legal recourse in this case? If so, what would be our next logical steps?

Asked on 10/11/06, 3:48 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Kaufman Kaufman Law, A Professional Corporation

Re: Non-repayment of Loan from Friend

There are several parts to your question and therefore several answers. First, oral contracts are valid contracts in Virginia. They are enforceable in a court of law. So, if you can show that there was an oral contract to lend $4,000 the contract will be upheld in court. Second, you say your friends have moved and are not responding. You need to send them a letter reminding them of their obligation to pay you back. In that letter you could remind them of the damage to their credit rating and reputation which would occur if you have to sue them and win. In this letter you could require a response within (say) a week or so. If you do not get a satisfactory response you can sue. (BTW, a letter is not a requirement to have the right to sue--it is just a cheap, easy way to prove that you tried to work it out.) The letter could also be used to get the written proof of a contract if it is worded properly.

In any case, if the response to the letter is unsatisfactory, you have the right to sue. In VA you can sue for $4,000 in General District Court. GDCt is designed to be relatively inexpensive and quick. The filing fee in GDCt is $31 and then there is the cost of serving the defendant with a copy of the lawsuit. The sheriff can do this if the person in in Virginia and you have a valid address for them. The cost is $12.00. Forms are available online. A lawsuit in GDCt. can be done in less than 120 days if all goes well.

I hope this answers your questions

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Answered on 10/11/06, 4:27 pm

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