Several years ago I began remodeling houses in Portland Oregon. The Portland market has been good to me keeping me busy year round. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered trusting people can still have negative consequences, despite best intentions.
During the past several years I met and extended assistance to an individual that was nearing retirement and needed a few more years of earning money before he could retire.
After several joint ventures with this individual I discovered he had stolen over $100,000 from me over a period of time. After discovering this and confronting him about it I knew I was not going to get the money back and frankly just wanted to get away from him. I can make more money but I can’t put my family through a long drawn out legal battle.
So instead of going after him, I walked away not asking or demanding anything. In doing this I ended up ceasing his income. In his greed he filed a $120,000 lawsuit against me for performing work outside our relationship and claiming that the joint venture relationship was in fact a partnership. His pray is that I owe him profit from any remodeling project I have done without him.
Apparently, in Oregon, a joint venture can somehow be legally construed as a verbal partnership, despite a defined joint venture agreement. By doing business in the same industry his counsel is arguing that we have a partnership and that he is entitled to all my work outside our relationship. His lawyer has a reputation of litigating people into bankruptcy, which is where I’m heading quickly.
I am $30,000 into attorney fees and facing an additional $80,000 to get through discovery and likely settlement.
I’m quickly nearing bankruptcy as I’ve liquidated assets to cover my expenses and attorney fees. Remodeling houses is now less than a part time job as I expend much of my energy defending myself, producing documents and going through depositions.
It’s just mind boggling to learn that you can help someone for several years and end up being frivolously sued all the while losing all your hard earned money defending yourself. At 50, this is a serious blow.
Thank you for any assistance you’d be willing to provide to help me.