Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 24-03-2011, 12:17   #1
Marine Service Provider
 
fstbttms's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Under a boat, in a marina, in the San Francisco Bay
Posts: 3,594
Need some legal advice...

And hopefully not just opinion. Anybody here actually a lawyer? Here's my story:

I sold a small business in December (not my dive service.) The buyer paid 80% in cash up front with the balance to be paid in two equal installments, one at 3 months out and the other at 6 months. The purchase included a boat trailer, to which I was to provide title. Before the purchase agreement was signed, I disclosed to the buyer that I had not registered the trailer, the previous owner had not registered it either and I could not find the Bill of Sale that owner had given me when I bought it. The buyer and I discussed this situation and he came to the conclusion that this was not a deal-breaker and that registering the trailer would likely not be a big problem at the DMV. For my part, I agreed to pay all registration costs and even accompany the buyer to the DMV to smooth the way if necessary. The purchase agreement was not altered to reflect any of this.

The day the first installment was due, the buyer e-mailed me to say that because I hadn't provided the pink slip to the trailer and he had been unable to register it, he wanted me to forgive one of the installments so that he could buy a different one (This was his first communication with me in several months. I had no knowledge of this alleged difficulty in registering the trailer.) I replied that that was unacceptable and offered to forgive the purchase price of the trailer (purchase price is specified in the purchase agreement) and let him keep the trailer if he wished. We have gone back and forth for the last couple of weeks with no resolution. The purchase agreement states that in the event of a dispute, we will go to a mutually agreeable arbitrator.

So here are my questions:

Am I in breach of contract as the buyer now claims?

Am I bound by the purchase agreement to go to arbitration or can I sue in small claims?

Can I take possession of the boat trailer as collateral?

What is the drill for registering a trailer with no pink slip and no Bill of Sale?
__________________

__________________
fstbttms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2011, 12:33   #2
Registered User
 
S/V Illusion's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FLORIDA
Boat: Alden 50, Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 1,693
Re: Need some legal advice...

It's really not reasonable to expect reliable advice without first reading the contract.
__________________

__________________
S/V Illusion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2011, 12:45   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Erie Canal between Rochester & Buffalo
Boat: 1970 23' O'day pop-top
Posts: 471
Re: Need some legal advice...

Got yourself in a bit of a pickle eh?
I bought a boat and trailer last year. Neither had registration or titles.
I simply went to the DMV and asked what hoops to jump through.
They were more than happy to tell me and I got my titles.
Oh yes, I'm not even close to being a lawyer so please disregard.
__________________
kenny chaos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2011, 12:47   #4
Registered User
 
Sand crab's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Boat: 34' Crowther tri sold 16' Kayak now
Posts: 3,157
Re: Need some legal advice...

Most states have a salvage title which allows you to title an untitled vehicle. Junk yards and wrecking companies do this all the time. I've done it. BOB
__________________
Sand crab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2011, 12:59   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Re: Need some legal advice...

Seems kind of odd that he's making such a big deal about a non-licensed trailer. I had a scooter when I was 18 that didn't have a title. Took me a trip to the DMV to straighten out and some additional paperwork in the mail. In the end the DMV just wanted to make sure the vehicle wasn't stolen, that I was the lawful owner, and that I paid them money.

My (completely unqualified opinion; apologies) is that the guy either doesn't want to go to the DMV and deal with the hassle, is trying to squeeze some money out of you for some reason, or both.
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2011, 13:10   #6
Marine Service Provider
 
fstbttms's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Under a boat, in a marina, in the San Francisco Bay
Posts: 3,594
Re: Need some legal advice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
My (completely unqualified opinion; apologies) is that the guy either doesn't want to go to the DMV and deal with the hassle, is trying to squeeze some money out of you for some reason, or both.
I think this is probably pretty much close to the heart of the matter. His claim is that since the trailer can't be registered, it is useless to him (his words. I dispute the allegation that the trailer cannot be registered) and without it, he does not have an operating business. Therefore he is not obligated to fulfill the terms of the purchase agreement. Never mind that the business operated for months before and after the purchase, without using the trailer, keeping the boat in a slip.
__________________
fstbttms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2011, 13:22   #7
Armchair Bucketeer
 
David_Old_Jersey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,013
Images: 4
Re: Need some legal advice...

Am not a lawyer - but I don't see this as a legal problem. not yet.

I would take a trip to the DMV, find out what is needed to Register the trailer - pick up the forms, fill them out and sign them (if you need to) and then go visit the other Party and get him to sign (if he needs to).............then take them to the DMV yourself. If that means a short delay in getting your cash, then so be it.

My guess (hey, I ain't a lawyer, not in the US, no idea how trailor registration is meant to work and haven't seen the contract ) is that if your contract only passed title of the Trailor to the buyer and did not also specify registration then you are good to sue (as he has title - under the sale / purchase Agreement). But if the contract clearly said transfer of registration then you have failed to fulfil a contract term and if you can't fix the deficiency (because you need him to co-operate) then probably arbitration to determine the remedy - but not an automatic link to the 1st installment, his not paying would be a seperate issue. If buyer won't play ball (with either helping to register the trailor or by refusing Arbitration) - then a lawyer and then courts your next avenue...........but I would avoid that if possible. albeit enroute to court I would make sure I'd put several remedies / offers in writing to him (create your own evidence before court).

If that doesn't work - then as you are in the US of A I beleive you can shoot him (I think the legal phrase is: "bustin a cap in his ass")............but preferably when you are out of the Country. Sometimes it's good to reciprocate first
__________________
David_Old_Jersey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-03-2011, 13:29   #8
Armchair Bucketeer
 
David_Old_Jersey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,013
Images: 4
Re: Need some legal advice...

Just an idea, but if his refusal on the 1st installment is linked to cash flow problems - you might want to warm up whatever actions you will need to move on his assets. Could find yourself down the list of creditors. but possession being 9/10ths of the law sometimes helps and like a cub scout - being prepared is always good

Alternatively, maybe re-negotiate the terms of the Agreement? - if he has a cash flow problem. and the un-registered trailor thing can then be addressed in that new agreement. if he don't want it you can e-bay it in exchange for deferring the 1st installment for a few months. Or if he does need it, title reverts to you and he can lease it back.........
__________________
David_Old_Jersey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2011, 20:46   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
osirissail's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: A real life Zombie from FL
Boat: Gulfstar 53 - Osiris
Posts: 5,416
Images: 2
Re: Need some legal advice...

The non-titled trailer is not a major problem. I had an commercially made trailer that I lost the paperwork on. The DMV in Florida said to just register it as a "home-built" and they would give me some VIN numbers to attach to it. Simple as pie and quick. Got a title a couple of weeks later.
__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2011, 20:59   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: West Indies
Boat: Burger 74' motor yacht, 65 foot 12 metre, Flicka and sailing dinghy
Posts: 635
Re: Need some legal advice...

As a previous poster said, without reading all the documents, its impossible to give you any meaningful advice. There are some parol evidence issues that could decide the matter. However, I can tell you that judges are reluctant to adjudicate a dispute if there is an arbitration agreement. In other words, small claims is probably not an option.
You would have to consult a lawyer, get his opinion, and have him write a letter.
__________________
dohenyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-03-2011, 15:30   #11
nes
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: San Diego, Ca
Boat: Hunter 326
Posts: 151
Re: Need some legal advice...

I have registered a trailer in California, (one of the most registration happy states in the union IMO) and it was painless, only question I was asked by the DMV.... Why bother to register a trailer?

This trailer had no numbers of any kind, had never been registered and did not even have lights. They did not do or require a safety inspection.
__________________

__________________
nes is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
legal

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cruising Florida and Being Legal... ActiveCaptain Sailor Logs & Cruising Plans 43 05-09-2013 06:40
Spearguns - Legal ? Keegan General Sailing Forum 13 04-10-2010 13:11
legal advice clifflindsey Anchoring & Mooring 31 31-01-2009 17:35
Legal Work in the Caribbean? ssullivan Boat Ownership & Making a Living 25 17-07-2008 20:43
Lights - legal requirements Weyalan Marine Electronics 33 29-06-2006 19:56



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:36.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.