Resolving a dispute in court is a daunting matter for many residents of New Jersey. Going to court is expensive, time-consuming and there is no guarantee a judge will agree with you. This is why many people choose to resolve legal disagreements in an alternative dispute resolution setting, which can be described as a form of legal negotiations under the guidance of professionals.
In a recent dispute that was settled outside of court the New Jersey State Police agreed to pay $135,000 to a man whom was arrested because he disputed a $129 bill from his auto mechanic. The man is also going to receive a $15,000 settlement from the auto repair shop that reported him to police.
The case stems from an incident in 2007 in which the man took his car to the shop for an oil change. He was ultimately told he needed more repairs and received a bill for $129.44. The man wrote a check to pay the bill, but later canceled it because he wanted to dispute the charges.
The auto shop then complained to the state police, who then arrested him without a warrant and did not release him until his wife came to the station with money to pay the bill.
An appeals court later found the police had no probable cause to arrest the man, and he followed with a civil lawsuit accusing the New Jersey State Police of false arrest and imprisonment and of violating his civil rights.
Cases such as this often take place outside of court, which tends to be best for everyone involved. However, it is also important to be prepared to litigate the claim should that become necessary.
Source: NJ.com, “N.J. State Police to pay $135k to man arrested over disputed $129 bill,” Ryan Hutchins, Jan. 31, 2013