My friend has texted me saying that her DP has received a letter from a solicitor saying that his XP wants to sue him. She is the jealous type and their relationship ended on very bad terms, with her fighting over practically everything they bought for his house claiming it was hers. She is now claiming that he kept her food processor (which they brought together), which probably only cost about £50 new. She is trying to sue for £5000! claimng it had sentimental value and for the emotional damage she's suffered as a result!
TBH I can't take it seriously as the whole thing just seems so ridiculous. They are getting married next year and certainly can't afford to lose £5000 plus solicitors and lawyers fees.
Is it very likely that this will go much further and should they be worried?
As he has had the machine since the divorce (and no doubt used it) and the machine has a limited finite lifetime I would just send the machine in a box to the lawyer with a letter saying he does not accept her arguement in any way shape or form or accept liability for any legal fees but making clear that the machine is of little second hand value and has no wish to discuss this matter further.
Let her sue, the court will not award cost against the man if he has given her the machine. He can defend himself in court at zero cost if she pushes the matter.
Personally, I would send her the food processor, via the solicitor, but keep all the correspondence about this as evidence of her unreasonableness, to use the next time she asks for something or causes trouble. The silliness of her claim, and the reasonableness of his response, would make good evidence of their relative attitudes if anything bigger comes along!
Does the claim for not just say "limited to £5000"? Husband says this just means that it goes in the small claims court (max claim there is £5000) and neither side can claim solicitors costs. It doesn't mean he's expecting £5000. He says you can't damages for sentimental value in the UK - only for hurt feelings or diagnosed psychological damage.
I'd stick to my guns if I was him. Jointly owned property is that which was bought from a joint account. Anything bought using his money belongs to him, and vice versa. It's possible that she could prove the existance of an agreement to buy everything as joint, whether or not it was from his account or hers, but that's unlikely.
But come on! A food processor? She'd be mad to issue proceedings, he would draw up a list of everything she's got that is either joint or his, and the judge would kick the case out. Will be small claims court so he wouldn't have to worry about a costs order. I think it unlikely that she'd get her court issue fee back even in the event that she wins her case.
I suspect she's bluffing. If she's not, she ought to get a life. Tell him to lock his rabbit hutch.
Is it just me that's constantly surprised that solicitors write these sort of letters and don't tell their clients to get a reality check? My ex's solicitor was something of an expert in this sort of correspondence all of which was completely ignored by the judge when we ended up in court. I ignored all of the letters and I suggest your friend's DP does the same.
Thank you babyb. Got in there before me. Every solicitor or barrister I know would rather flush their head down a toilet whilst chewing razor blades than have to write letters about contents and similar triviality. All cases can be settled. It's usually just the clients that get in the way. To us, it's just business. To the client. it's often a ton of emotional baggage and hidden agendas. We can only give best advice. We can't take the decisions for them.
Having said that, though, most accept the advice given sooner or later.
In that case I apologise but my ex's solicitor wrote some really stupid letters and it coloured my view. For example, I moved out of the house, took substantially less than half of the joint possessions (making sure I took nothing she needed to continue living in the house) and told the council and energy companies to swap the bills to her name. I got two letters from her solicitor. One objected to me putting the bills in her name and asked me to pay a ridiculous amount to cover them (I ignored it). The second asked for £2,000 to cover the cost of the things I took from the house (I ignored that one as well). This was soon after the judge at the first hearing had encouraged us to negotiate a settlement instead of coming back to the court. You can guess how many letters I got offering to negotiate a settlement.
My ex had a decision making disorder and I believe she would have taken advice from her solicitor. I guess she would also have taken advice from her mother so that might have been the problem