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Cat urine destroyed my property!

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This incident took place in Richmond, VA:
While visiting my girlfriend's apartment, her roomate's cat urinated on and ruined my $400 Coach briefcase. She now says she will not pay to replace it because it was my girlfriend's partial responsibility to keep her bedroom door closed (where the bag was) and she is not totally at fault. Moreover:

1. The cat is not listed on the lease and shouldn't even be in the apartment, but I'm concerned this would also put my girlfriend at fault.
2. She agreed to pay for it and told 2 other people she would pay for it immediately after it happened. Does this constitute a verbal agreement?
3. To what extent can my girlfriend be expected to keep her door closed? She was keeping it closed as much as possible (at all times), so how can she be at fault?

Can anyone tell me what my chances in small claims court are? Thanks.


Third Party

Go for it.

Well, I think you lucked out here... Take the roommate to court. Her cat did the damage, thus she is responsible. (It does not matter if the cat was allowed to be there via the lease or not because you knew it was there. By the way, that wouldn't get your gf in trouble anyway. The landlord would never know about it and a small claims court would not pursue the matter.) Sue for $400 plus interest and court cost.

If she claims it was your girlfriend’s responsibility that is the roommate problem. The cat is not your girlfriend’s; it is the roommate’s. If the roommate wishes to seek money from your gf, then she will have to take her to small claims court. (Use strategy here. If you gf wasn't at the trial then it leaves fewer avenues for the roommate to maneuver. Make it appear that she will go though so she will not be subpoenaed.)

Can your gf be at fault? If it is agreed upon to shut the door and she never, which resulted in damage, who do you think should pay? To her advantage, there is the burden of proof, which will be nearly impossible for her roommate to prove.

A$$ Saver aka…
I hope this is tidbit of fiction is helpful. Again, I am not an attorney. Do not perceive this as legal advice. You should consult an attorney to answer your questions. Do not rely on this advice. Forget you ever read it. You are not a client. I am not an attorney. This is merely babble in the wind.

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