My Former business partner stole my belongings. What should I do to get them back? I went into business partnership with a long standing friend of mine to form a new company. As the months rolled by we finally secured a location to do business from. We had come to an agreement that she would pay up front for the space and I would pay a portion of the costs of running it. However, shortly after I moved in many personal belongings (estimated at $15,000) to use in the business, she dissolved the partnership and withheld my belongings under lock and key until I paid restitution far exceeding our original agreement. I filed a police report, but never heard back from them and now am at a complete loss.

ANSWER TO QUESTION #3– Well the first response is that this is why, when you are doing business with anyone, most importantly , friends and family, that whatever the agreement is with regard to the business set up; funding; operations; future funding; shutting down; projections and the like; original capital contributions, and many more items, that the entire matter is set out in a memorandum of understanding- contract etc.

At this point you have said she held your equipment hostage until you paid her more than the worth of the equipment; her actions appear to be clearly wrong, but on the other hand, you paid her, so she could argue that you waived any claim against her by paying her etc.

As far as filing a police report and any action by the police , they will likely look at this as a civil dispute between two business partners and your help from them will be little if any.

You could have filed an action in a limited money/ jurisdiction or small claims court, although small claims is usually for matters under $7500 in many states and $5,000 and under in other states.

So a limited action against her, before paying her the ransom, the claim being conversion of your property etc. and then go in and try the matter in pro per (without an attorney ) and ask the judge to order her to return your property;

Your real problem is , who should the court believe? There is nothing in writing and so one has to assume that the other party’s version of what took place is likely 180 degrees away from your version. If the evidence is even, and you have the burden of proof, then you will lose.
So, you can see, that it is pretty much a dog’s breakfast any way you go other than putting the agreement down in writing and making sure that a final agreement gets signed.

If you are going to petition a judge to order a disgorgement of fees, do you have to file any other lawsuits at that time? I was told that if I wanted to file a lawsuit against someone, I would have to do it at the same time that I request a disgorgement of fees. Is that true, if so why?

ANSWER TO QUESTION #4- This question is a little curious- ‘disgorgement of what fees’- the question is fees for what?

Regardless of the dispute, if part of your damages are that you were charged excessive fees on the contract, or by whomever is representing you then there has to be an underlying action from which the Judge can first make a finding that you are due any fees based upon your claims and the evidence supporting the same vs the evidence not supporting the same;

So, it is not a matter of having to have two separate actions, but rather, first having a judgment on the underlying claim, and then as part of the Court’s or Jury’s judgment you ask them to make the losing party’disgorge fees’ as part of that judgment and order of the Court.

So, bottom line is that there does , first need to be an underlying lawsuit , claim, on which you prevail, and then a ‘disgorgement order’ would be part of what you are asking for in relation to your claimed damages. Whether or not a ‘disgorgement order’ is proper legally or enforceable legally will depend upon the underlying substantive laws of the given state.

Respectfully Submitted,

Steven H. Wilhelm