[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Bad Checks and Possible Remedies | 04-05-2013
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
69°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 22
1891 - Future First Lady Lou Henry (Hoover), 17, poses for photo at R.E. Nickel's Acton store [story]


Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

My client Jim owns Lubricate This, a local oil and lube shop, which provides super-quick oil changes and free shoe shines to its waiting patrons.

Jim called me. He had had enough. He had been stiffed again with a bad check.

In the past month, one customer paid with a check obviously written on rubber, because as it bounced so high when he deposited it. Another person gave Jim a check and then stopped payment on it.

When Jim contacted these ne’er-do-wells, both urged him to put the checks through his bank again. As he had found to be typical with this type of person, they offered excuses and rationales for what happened.

“Oh, I deposited my paycheck a day late.” Or, “That damned bank. This is the fifth time they’ve done this. I have a mind to take my business elsewhere.” (Actually the last one should have been a clue to Jim, but he’s always been a glass-half-full type of guy.)

Not surprisingly, when Jim tried depositing the checks again, they came back again, unpaid. Now the bank charges for the bad checks were threatening to exceed the value of the original checks.

Jim wanted to know if the death penalty was available for such scofflaws. Or at least have a court order them to pay all of the money owed, plus bank charges, plus interest, plus attorneys fees, plus pain-and-suffering damages.

“Well, Jim, I have good news and bad news,” I told him.

Yes, you can get a court order saying the person passing bad paper has to pay you the face value of the check, plus some service fees and a penalty of up to $1,500. Sorry, no pain and suffering or attorneys fees.

Under California Civil Code section 1719, if you get a bad check from someone and you follow proper procedures, you can recover 1) the face amount of the check, 2) a $25 service fee for the first check and $35 for each subsequent ones, and 3) three times the face amount of the check or $1,500 – whichever is less.

This how the California Supreme Court in the 2009 decision of Imperial Merchant Services Inc. v. Hunt described the process:

“If the payee sends the check writer a certified letter seeking the amount due on a dishonored check, the debtor has 30 days from the date the written demand was mailed to pay the amount of the check, the statutory service charge and the cost of mailing the written demand for payment (§ 1719, subd. (a)(2)).”

“Failure to comply with subdivision (a)(2) renders the check-writer liable for triple the amount of the outstanding balance on the check (the face value of the check minus any partial payments made within this 30–day window), which shall not be less than $100 or more than $1,500. If a check-writer is liable for treble damages, he is not required to pay the statutory service charge, or the cost of mailing the written demand.”

Section 1719 even has a helpful draft of the letter that the person who received the bad check (that is, the “payee”) has to send to the check writer.

Simply sending a certified letter demanding payment does not immediately entitle you to $1,500 plus the face value of the check.

The check-writer can offer defenses that include having a good-faith dispute about whether the money is actually owed, or that the bank screwed up and the check should have been paid, or if the only reason the check bounced was because a Social Security or “government benefit assistance payment” (something like unemployment or disability insurance) check was late.

But as I told Jim, once he sends the certified letter (and keeps a record of sending the letter and evidence as to whether the letter was either delivered or refused), he’s set up a situation where it’s now up to the guy who wrote the bad check to prove that he’s got a good excuse for why it bounced. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s one way to go after the bad check writers.

The company and client in this column are fictional for purposes of illustrating a California Supreme Court ruling of state Civil Code section 1719.

Carl Kanowsky is an attorney in Santa Clarita. He can be reached at cjk@kanowskylaw.com. Visit him online at www.kanowskylaw.com.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017
If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to some really bad outcomes, including kidney problems, glaucoma and other eye disorders, foot ulcers, amputation of feet or legs, stroke, diabetic coma, and even death.
Friday, Aug 11, 2017
There is no doubt the vast majority of Democrats and liberals loathe Trump. Certainly all of the leftists thoroughly hate him, and they have some company. They’re called Republicans.
Wednesday, Aug 2, 2017
In his August message to the community, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin details the city's emergency preparedness resources.
Tuesday, Aug 1, 2017
As our first president George Washington said, “We must consult our means rather than our wishes.”
Sunday, Jul 30, 2017
Many shocking surprises have shown up around the world as the ice melts. We’ve found a perfectly preserved baby woolly mammoth, a field of dead reindeer that died of anthrax, and then last year, infected people in Russia, and in Alaska, an Air Force plane that disappeared was finally found in the Colony Glacier. It had crashed in 1952, killing everyone on board.
Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017
When President Donald Trump ordered Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review the status of 27 national monuments created by three former presidents, many across the nation took it as a call to action to advocate on behalf of the monuments closest to their homes, and their hearts.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1891 - Future First Lady Lou Henry (Hoover), 17, poses for photo at R.E. Nickel's Acton store [story]
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to a possible burglary call at a warehouse in the 29000 block of Avenue Sherman in Valencia Monday morning.
SCV Deputies Investigate Reported Valencia Warehouse Burglary
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a once-in-a-century solar experience took place Monday. Plus, on Saturday, dozens of people gathered in Newhall to celebrate the legacy of the old Saugus Speedway, its racers and its crew. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, August 21, 2017
The 28th Annual Fine Art Show & Gala presented by the Santa Clarita Artists Association and the county of Los Angeles takes over Hart Hall on Saturday afternoon, October 14.
October 14: SCAA, County’s 28th Annual Art Classic at Hart Park
Organizers of the city of Santa Clarita's quarterly photo contest are now accepting entries for the fall 2017 competition.
City Opens Entries for Fall 2017 Photo Contest
The Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club invites everyone who shares a special connection with the club to the Alumni BBQ on Saturday afternoon, September 9.
September 9: Boys & Girls Club Alumni & Friends BBQ
Comedian and magician Fritz Coleman brings his stand-up show to Santa Clarita with an intimate, one-time performance at the Keyboard Galleria Music Center on Saturday, August 26.
August 26: Comic Fritz Coleman Stands Up at Keyboard Galleria
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station issued 38 traffic citations Friday and arrested a Newhall man on a parole violation warrant on Saturday.
Deputies Cite Speeders, Arrest Parolee
Lancaster JetHawks right-handed pitcher Jesus Tinoco has been named the California League Pitcher of the Week for August 14-20, 2017.
JetHawks’ Tinoco Named Cal League Pitcher of the Week
The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson and cash considerations from the New York Mets in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Dodgers Aqcuire Outfielder Curtis Granderson from Mets
The TMU Mustangs' women's volleyball home opener proved to be exactly what the doctor ordered as the hosts dispatched Lewis & Clark State College (ID) in straight sets 25-19, 25-22, 25-17.
Lady Mustangs Dispatch Lewis & Clark in Straight Sets
The Master's University's men's soccer team inaugurated their 2017 season with a 5-0 win over Northwest of Washington on Reese Field Saturday afternoon.
TMU Men’s Soccer Blanks Northwest in Season Opener
The Master’s University women’s soccer team’s 2017 record improved to 2-0 after beating the No. 8 ranked Northwest University Eagles 3-1 on Saturday morning at Reese Field.
TMU Women’s Soccer Team Grounds Eagles 3-1 Saturday
CalArtians Mathieu Libman (Film/Video BFA 19) and Aram Sarkisian (Film/Video BFA 17) are among the seven finalists for Student Academy Awards in the Animation category.
Two CalArtians Named 2017 Student Academy Awards Finalists
Western singer and songwriter John Zipperer headlines the next episode of "SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series" at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall the evening of Friday, August 25.
August 25: John Zipperer Headlines ‘SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series’
The Lancaster JetHawks clinched a franchise-record sixth consecutive winning season with their 71st victory, a 7-2 win over the Inland Empire 66ers, on Sunday afternoon at San Manuel Stadium.
JetHawks Sweep Sixers Sunday, Secure Winning Season
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the city of Santa Clarita launch the “Heads Up” campaign this week to combat distracted driving and increase pedestrian safety.
City, Sheriff’s Station Launch ‘Heads Up’ Safety Campaign
An 18-year-old man from Lancaster surrendered to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Special Victims Unit Monday morning in connection with an alleged sexual assault earlier this month on College of the Canyons' Valencia campus.
Suspect Arrested in Alleged COC Sexual Assault
The Lancaster JetHawks scored seven runs in the fifth inning, propelling themselves to a 9-4 win over the Inland Empire 66ers on Saturday night at San Manuel Stadium.
Seven-Run Fifth Inning Carries JetHawks to Win Saturday
Hundreds of drivers were screened in a DUI checkpoint in Stevenson Ranch Friday night, but no arrests were made, CHP officials said.
CHP DUI Checkpoint Screens Hundreds of Drivers
1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]
The Santa Clarita Public Library invites residents to view the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 at the Old Town Newhall Library starting at 10 a.m.
August 21: Solar Eclipse Viewing at Newhall Library
1967 - New Town of Valencia dedicated; homes sell for $25,000 [story]
1879 - Newhall civic leader Charles Henry Kingsburry born in Missouri [story]
Alerted by a concerned citizen Friday, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies once again rescued dogs the owner left in a car with the windows rolled up and no water.
Deputies Break Window, Rescue Dogs Locked in Car
40 oz. to Freedom arrives in Santa Clarita as part of its anniversary tour at Concerts in the Park at Central Park on Saturday, August 19, with showtime at 7 p.m.
August 19: 40 Oz. to Freedom Rocks Central Park
Two local environmental groups filed a complaint in L.A. Superior Court Thursday regarding the approved plan to provide water to the Newhall Ranch development, set to break ground in 2018.
Environmental Groups File Complaint Against Newhall Ranch Water Plan
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has provided $143,000 in funding to extend the season of youth and adult swim programs offered at the Castaic Aquatic Center through October 31.
Castaic Aquatic Center Programs Extended to October 31
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Los Angeles County firefighters and government leaders welcomed back the Super Scoopers Friday morning. Plus, the Old Town Newhall Library helped get the community ready for it as well by handing out free eclipse viewing glasses. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, August 18, 2017
CalArts alumna Audrey Chan (Art MFA 07) will host a free, all-ages interactive arts workshop in Little Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20, as part of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center’s 2017 Nisei Week activities.
August 19-20: Nisei Week Arts Workshop with CalArts Alum Audrey Chan
Habitat for Humanity SFV/SCV is honored to have received a $25,000 grant from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, which will fund trauma workshops.
Habitat for Humanity Receives $25K Grant from Disabled Veterans
Here are agenda highlights for the next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, set for Tuesday, August 22, starting at 9:30 a.m..
August 22: Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda
Ashley Olivier, a student worker at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, summited Mt. Whitney with her dad, a lieutenant at LASD's Monterey Park station.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Student Worker, LASD Dad Top Mt. Whitney
Looking to enter the win column for the first time in 2017 on day two of the Summer Slam volleyball tournament, the TMU Mustangs squared off against 11th-ranked Eastern Oregon but lost in straight sets.
Mountaineers Spike Mustangs at Summer Slam
Caltrans has released "Rail and the California Economy," a research report investigating how the state’s vast passenger and freight rail system contribute to California’s economy, as well as an overview of opportunities for rail to address the state’s needs and challenges in the future.
New Report Details Rail Role in State Economy
The Master’s University women’s soccer team soared to a 7-0 victory over the visiting Eagles from Sierra Nevada College Thursday.
Lady Mustangs Soccer Win Opener 7-0