California small claims
Asked Feb 21, 2012, 07:54 PM
During an acrimonious separation from my partner, I ended up with a large mass of property: some is his, some is mine, and some is contested. I even had to adopt out our cats, since he fled the state and I wasn't able to be there to care for them. During a police-supervised standoff, I tried to return his stuff physically to him in a rented truck, but he didn't even look through it and told me to leave. I left.
Soon afterward, I sent him messages both by email and by certified mail asking him to contact me to arrange to pick up his stuff by the end of the month. My certified mailing came back to me, refused, and he answered my email (three weeks after I'd sent it) with a terse demand for all "his" stuff back (including the cats, who he knows I no longer posess) and an explicit refusal to accept anything less. I don't even know which things he's claiming as his, since he refused to respond to any of my offers to parlay. Although I would be thrilled to give him his junk, I get the distinct feeling that he's not really interested in getting it back...
Now, 2 months afterward, the only other communiques I've received from him are some papers indicating that he is attempting to sue me for $4995 for "petty theft" of these items. Now, I have two questions:
1. Some of the "contested" items were purchased by him, but on my credit card. (He was an authorized user of my card, NOT a cardholder in his own right.) (Yeah, yeah, I know.) Can he really claim ownership of these items? Does it matter who paid it off? (He paid for a significant portion of it, but still not enough to cover what he spent.)
2. Given that I pursued all available avenues to negotiate a return and received no cooperation from him, am I still on the hook for what he claims as the "cash value" of his stuff?
Thanks for trudging through that mess. Any replies will be greatly appreciated!