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Old 25-06-2014, 18:23   #46
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pirate Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
You knew this guy 3 years and knew his history and still made the trip with him. This is starting to sound like a personal issue.

These armchair lawyer threads are pointless.

You are not a dumb guy and the advice has been given.

Go to court or not. Get a lawyer or not.

Other than getting this guy's name on the internet and some folks to commiserate with you I am not sure what you gain here.

The only guy that comes to mind that has experience with what you have is Boatman - there is a huge thread on his experience and the CF forum rallied around him pretty good.

If you decide to fight this guy legally get on with it. Otherwise it's a painful $2k lesson.

BTW - Forget all the BS about tattoos and sabotaging your ride if you are going to court. This is a contract matter - simple. And it's a small claims issue - simple.

You haven't answered the fundamental issue - Is there a provable contract?

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Old 25-06-2014, 18:34   #47
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

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Back 17 years ago when I worked as a house painter, I had a client (a-hole) do the same thing to me. I spent an entire month painting their house, they were never happy with anything.... it was all pre-planned. They were having an entire team of professionals remodel their house, with no intention of paying anyone.

The licensed guys probably eventually got paid, but I not only didn't get paid, but they also sued me to get their initial deposit refunded. The court system in Massachusetts is a joke, never favoring working people. It was an expensive lesson for me at the time. Don't make any threats on the guy, if he's a professional thief... he'll be waiting for that, and it will be used against you.

Good luck, but you'll probably never see and money.
What did I get out of this thread? In my next life I wanna be a painter! An Oyster 53 and lost in the Med? You da man!
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Old 25-06-2014, 18:48   #48
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

I have a voicemail of his offer, when I returned his call, he was on speakerphone. Someone else heard it as well. Also I have txt msgs saying he refuses to pay me. I have emails from the couple who gave me a lift to Norfolk. They also heard him say he wasn't paying. I had never seen him like this in the past either. I'm headed to the magistrate tomorrow. Thank you all for the comments.

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Old 25-06-2014, 19:01   #49
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

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Problem is that not many lawyers will take a case if the damages are at the $US2,000 level. If the lawyer's fee is more than the damages courts often view the damages as de minimus.

Most small claims courts (where you don't need a lawyer and judges often don't like lawyers there) have an upper limit of $US3,000 or even more. But the problem with small claims courts is there is really no enforcement if you win the case.

I am not even sure what jurisdiction you could seek relief in. If the trip started out side of NC and the boat is ever moved out of NC it would make enforcement of any judgement a problem.

I am not trying to minimize your problem and I know two thousand dollars is a chunk of change to many folks. But the courts view it as small peanuts.

Is it a documented vessel? If so, I believe you can have a lien applied. Contact CG vessel documentation and ask for help. The cost should be low but the hassle to the owner will be relentless.
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Old 25-06-2014, 19:10   #50
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

What you may simply try as well is letting him know you need payment and if you don't get it by X date (maybe give a week at best) that you will be taking legal action which will include placing a lein on his boat and any other appropriate action that the law allows. If he takes it as a threat, then it probably won't help, but I think if you approach it the right way maybe he'll take it for what it is - reasonable action on your part for not being paid and a big PITA on his end and he'll settle up. Figure its worth a try to help avoid you some added hassle..

And you could even mention steps you have taken so he knows you are not just making idle threats.
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Old 26-06-2014, 00:48   #51
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

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What you may simply try as well is letting him know you need payment and if you don't get it by X date (maybe give a week at best) that you will be taking legal action which will include placing a lein on his boat and any other appropriate action that the law allows. If he takes it as a threat, then it probably won't help, but I think if you approach it the right way maybe he'll take it for what it is - reasonable action on your part for not being paid and a big PITA on his end and he'll settle up. Figure its worth a try to help avoid you some added hassle..

And you could even mention steps you have taken so he knows you are not just making idle threats.
In battle never let the enemy know what you are up to. Knowledge is power.

The next thing he should see is a summons to small claims court...
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Old 26-06-2014, 01:58   #52
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
In battle never let the enemy know what you are up to. Knowledge is power.

The next thing he should see is a summons to small claims court...
It appears that in the US, it is the same as in this part of the world, so here's the first step, which won't cost any legal fees:

Letter of Intent - To Sue
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Old 26-06-2014, 02:07   #53
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

Be aware the following so not intended to be legal advice, and no attorney client relationship is intended or created by this advice.

Get in touch with the NC Labor department at speak with them about filing a Wage Complaint. In many states refusal to pay owed wages is takes pretty seriously by the government, and you may not need an attorney. In other states if you do hire an attorney you can also seek attorneys fees.

North Carolina Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Bureau
1101 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1101
(919) 807-2796 or (toll-free NC only) 1-800-NC-LABOR
Web site: N.C. Department of Labor


If you have e-mail, text messages, and voice mails, keep them as they are pretty good evidence of the contract that was arranged.
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Old 26-06-2014, 03:41   #54
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

OK, here we go to try and explain marine liens and their enforcement. I am an attorney but have to give the standard disclaimer that this is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. This is a very short, and not comprehensive, look at maritime liens.

First, a quick search on this vessel shows that it is documented and its # is 666067. There are no existing liens on it.

Next-a marine lien comes into existence at the point at which services have been provided to a vessel, a demand for payment has been made, and no payment is forthcoming. It exists by operation of law. It is in rem, meaning that the lien is against the vessel, not its owners. It is enforceable against the boat. To enforce a marine lien, one needs to go to the Federal District court in the jurisdiction in which the boat lies. An affidavit is filed setting out the specifics and if the court agrees, an order is issued seizing the boat until the lien is satisfied. the US Marshals go and literally chain the boat to the dock, put a big sticker on it prohibiting anyone, including the owner, from boarding. The cost of filing is minimal. Now the bad part-the person requesting enforcement must post a bond covering the approximate cost of all this, in case he loses his case. Most Federal Districts have set that amount at $10,000. Of course, if you win, you get it back. You should note that federal courts move quite quickly on maritime liens as the point of the lien system is to address to fact that boats move. Sometimes, you can get in front of a federal magistrate in as little as a day to get an enforcement order.

All that is a bit complicated and expensive for a $2,000 bill. However, there may be an alternative. First, check with a maritime attorney, most will give a short 30-60 minute consultation for free or a small amount. Many times paying an attorney a few hundred $$ to write a letter to the owner will suffice. Another option is to look at www.marineliens.com. This is a commercial website on which you can file a notice of your lien. Of course it has no real legal consequence, but can be used to let the owner know a lien is out there and you are serious about it. Most lenders and others do check that website for outstanding liens. Let the owner (and an attorney of you have spoken to one) that you have filed something there.

A local small claims court is not going to do you much good. Most small claims courts these days push you to have a negotiation/mediation before they will even hear the case. That is if the guy even bothers to show up. Many don't. If you do get a judgment, it will be against the owner and you will have to figure out how to enforce it and pay all costs of enforcing it. There are means of pursuing and getting paid, but the $$ add up quickly.

Best of luck with it, and let us know what happens.
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Old 26-06-2014, 07:04   #55
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Be aware the following so not intended to be legal advice, and no attorney client relationship is intended or created by this advice.

Get in touch with the NC Labor department at speak with them about filing a Wage Complaint. In many states refusal to pay owed wages is takes pretty seriously by the government, and you may not need an attorney. In other states if you do hire an attorney you can also seek attorneys fees.

North Carolina Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Bureau
1101 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1101
(919) 807-2796[IMG]resource://skype_ff_extension-at-jetpack/skype_ff_extension/data/call_skype_logo.png[/IMG](919) 807-2796 or (toll-free NC only) 1-800-NC-LABOR[IMG]resource://skype_ff_extension-at-jetpack/skype_ff_extension/data/call_skype_logo.png[/IMG]1-800-NC-LABOR
Web site: N.C. Department of Labor


If you have e-mail, text messages, and voice mails, keep them as they are pretty good evidence of the contract that was arranged.
Remember a contract obligates both parties.

The owner may well claim the OP failed to meet his obligations under the contract, or that the OP was not legally able to enter the contract (stuff like insurance, competence, license, whatever). Not saying the OP did anything wrong, just that obviously the owner had some reason(s) not to pay the OP.

Another issue may be jurisdiction. If the OP boarded the boat in FL, got off the boat in NC, and the boat is now in NY I am not sure the NC DOL has any jurisdiction over a breach of contract issue. Probably need to know where both parties were when the phone calls or emails originated. If one party was in FL and the other in NY it is not clear to me who has jurisdiction.

I am not trying to take anyone's side, just being a devil's advocate and pointing out possible issues the OP may face.

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Old 26-06-2014, 07:36   #56
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

You say you've known the guy for 3yrs. Now that things have settled down, have you tried talking to him?
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Old 26-06-2014, 08:09   #57
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pirate Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

There's always the Irish Solution..
Don't get yer money.. but the satisfaction is sometimes sweeter..
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Old 26-06-2014, 08:18   #58
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

20 years ago I delivered a boat to from Hilton Head SC to Solomon's Island, MD.
It was a very late season delivery as I remember. I don't remember the the amount I charged and the arrangements were made informally. I don't remember a contract being signed or proffered. I am Licensed Master w/ Sail Endorsement.
I made the delivery single handed. It was a Tartan 37. Upon arrival, the boat was inspected by the owner and I was paid in full by check. I was provided a rental and fare for the return trip. After depositing the check, the check bounced. Owner claimed damages to his boat. It was a bogus claim and I had my ducks in row. I kept all correspondence between the owner and myself and a copy of the check. I hired a commercial firm and presented my side of the story. They acted similar to a bail bonds operation. I don't remember any upfront fees but agreed to 33% recovery fee. The had the boat arrested and in a very short period time I received a check in the mail that did not bounce.
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Old 26-06-2014, 08:36   #59
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

I will repeat, this belongs in Admiralty Court, wages, injuries, ect, are covered under The Jones Act. It is very easy to put a lien on the vessel, IF it is US flagged.
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Old 26-06-2014, 08:38   #60
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Re: Owner refuses to pay crew, need advice

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There's always the Irish Solution..
Don't get yer money.. but the satisfaction is sometimes sweeter..
.
Hey!
Leave us out of it... its secret.
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