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View Full Version : Partnership turned sour -- do I have to give back the money?


HollywoodCitizen
10-16-2006, 02:35 AM
I am hoping to get some advice about a problem that I am having. I met a person recently who shared some television show ideas with me. I liked his ideas, and I have some contacts in the business -- not alot, but a few.

So, this guy asked me to partner with him and my job was to try to get us some meetings. At the time, I was looking for work, and one day he handed me a check for $1000.00 and told me that he was in the financial position to pay me for my work so that I could concentrate on the projects. He said that if any of the projects ever got off the ground, then we could deduct the $1000.00 from my first paycheck as "co-producer" of the projects.

Meanwhile, I made many calls to friends, as well as cold calls, and I managed to line up one meeting for us at a network, with others pending. But, as time goes by, the less that I enjoy working with him. He's revealed himself to be impatient, controlling and embarassingly naive. I don't want to continue the partnership.

So, my question is, do I legally have to refund this guy the $1000.00? We DON'T have a written contract. I am not currently living in California, so perhaps this is a question that can only be answered by an attorney in my state. And aside from that, do I have a moral obligation to refund him his money? Thank you.

rockridesva
10-16-2006, 03:18 AM
If you leave the "team" then Yes, I think you owe him the $1,000, if he leaves, then it's yours. IMO.

curious
10-16-2006, 03:45 AM
I would say that legally you shouldn't have to give back the money and I dare say you've done more than enough work for it, but if you are in a position to give it back and are worried about it to the point of asking this question, then it seems like giving it back would be the 'right' thing to do.

HollywoodCitizen
10-16-2006, 04:56 AM
I am not in a position to pay back the money at this time, and that is probably why I feel compelled to ask for advice on this. Thanks for the reply, BTW.

HollywoodCitizen
10-16-2006, 05:34 AM
If you leave the "team" then Yes, I think you owe him the $1,000, if he leaves, then it's yours. IMO.

It seems that he left the team, and now is trying to return to it. He sent me an angry email this weekend, complaining that I don't return his calls soon enough, and that I haven't contacted him in the past 1 & 1/2 weeks while I was ill with a bad case of bronchitis (he was aware I was ill). He also asked when I would be sending the $1000 back to him. I wrote back, reminding him about my illness, and now he wants to continue on with the partnership on the projects. I don't think this guy is playing with a full deck.

I do not look forward to going to small claims about this, but I have a feeling that's where it will end up. Thank you for your reply.

ylekot43
10-16-2006, 07:56 AM
I'm a contracts attorney -- feel free to PM me.

jimjimgrande
10-16-2006, 09:09 AM
Do you have to? Probably not. But how much is it worth to you to have to keep dealing with this guy? He sounds crazy enough to keep calling and making your life miserable, but not quite sane enough to take you to court over it, which would be cost prohibitive anyway.

So tell him to f--- off and sue you

or call him and say you'll make payments

or call him and reach an agreement with regards to performing services such that he'll feel he got his thousand dollars worth.

the moral of the story: never take candy from strangers

Joe Unidos
10-16-2006, 09:10 AM
the moral of the story: never take candy from strangers

Bears repeating.

TwoBitHack
10-16-2006, 09:15 AM
Or maybe consider continuing the partnership.

Sounds like he had ideas good enough to pitch and you had contacts good enough to make meetings a reality.

Separate the responsibilities and play off each others strengths

HollywoodCitizen
10-16-2006, 01:43 PM
the moral of the story: never take candy from strangers

Yes, I see now that it was foolish to accept money from someone that I don't know really well, even though I worked for it.

amandag
10-16-2006, 02:58 PM
I'm not a lawyer(but I do watch a lot of Judge Judy).

It seems like the agreement was roughly, you'll pay him back "when you get a job based on one of his ideas" which could be soon or never.

If he sues you, at least on Judge Judy, Judge Judy would say, "Well that hasn't happened yet, sir." And when he argues that you had an agreement, she'll stress, "That hasn't happened yet, sir!"

There's no timeframe covering the amount of time you're going to work together (or when you part ways).

You didn't sign an exclusivity deal with him.

The bggest problem sounds more like a personal one rather than a legal one. (again, I'm not a lawyer). The guy sounds like someone you have to deal with really constrictively.

You might sit down with him, tell him (in the most believably kind of ways) that you understand his urgency, but you really need to come to a meeting of the minds for this partnership to work out. If not, it may be best to go your separate ways.

He'll say, "then give me my f'in money back".

To that, you might say, "I'd be more than willing to give you $1000 as a gesture when I get my first assignment...OR, if you prefer, in lieu of the $1000, I'll let you retain the ownership of the ideas (on the story you least like, Hollywood) we generated together. Then LIE: We really have something with that script (that you least like), and just because I don't have the time to get them finished as fast as you'd like, doesn't mean you shouldn't profit from it."

(And have a lawyer draft something to sign!!!)

Anyhoo, this is just my opinion. Is it worth anything? (If you say $1000, I'll call the guy and tell him where to stick it. Even Steven!)

TwoBitHack
10-16-2006, 03:38 PM
The guy sounds like someone you have to deal with really constrictively.

I would say just the opposite. You need to deal with this guy in a laid back, loose manner.

If the projects are viable, make it work.

He freaks out a lot? Demanding and unrealistic? Just accept that he is a very high strung person. Ignore the freak-out and wait the ten or twenty seconds until you can discuss business.

Let it roll right off your back.

Unless the guy is really nuts, but I get the feeling that is not the case (two sides to every story and all).

You both probably have issues that make you difficult to deal with.

Pull Back Reveal
10-16-2006, 03:52 PM
Anyhoo, this is just my opinion. Is it worth anything? (If you say $1000, I'll call the guy and tell him where to stick it. Even Steven!)

Who made you judge judy and executioner?

amandag
10-16-2006, 03:54 PM
Who made you judge judy and executioner?

I guess...no one. :(

LIMAMA
10-16-2006, 03:55 PM
"He said that if any of the projects ever got off the ground, then we could deduct the $1000.00 from my first paycheck as "co-producer" of the projects."

You have your answer right there. So far, nothing has happened. He gave you $1000 as an advance against possible future commissions. If you never sell anything, he doesn't get the money back. End of story.

Pull Back Reveal
10-16-2006, 03:56 PM
I guess...no one. :(

I should hasten to add -- that's one of my favorite lines from the last few years of the Simpsons. Say it aloud.

:rolling:

TwoBitHack
10-16-2006, 03:58 PM
"You have your answer right there. So far, nothing has happened. He gave you $1000 as an advance against possible future commissions. If you never sell anything, he doesn't get the money back. End of story.


Unless this poster did not make a good faith effort.

amandag
10-16-2006, 04:04 PM
I should hasten to add -- that's one of my favorite lines from the last few years of the Simpsons. Say it aloud.

If you're talking about the episode where Marge is hallucinating, that's one my favorites too :D (In addition to when she's drunk, brushes Lisa's hair across her face and garbles, "You're such a pretty girl...")

LIMAMA
10-16-2006, 04:07 PM
The poster did say that he's already had one meeting with others pending, so it seems like he's made an effort. If he wants to dissolve the partnership ie independent of other issues, then yeah, he owes the money.

Pull Back Reveal
10-16-2006, 04:56 PM
If you're talking about the episode where Marge is hallucinating, that's one my favorites too :D (In addition to when she's drunk, brushes Lisa's hair across her face and garbles, "You're such a pretty girl...")

The Emmy-winning 2003 episode Three Gays of the Condo. (I hadn't realized it was that long ago -- had to look it up)

Homer: Marge, I can't live like this, I'm tired of walking around on eggshells!
Marge: Maybe if you didn't throw them on the floor... [Gesturing towards eggshells that Homer is standing on]
Homer: Now you're just making up rules! Who made you Judge Judy and executioner?

courtesy www.tv.com episode summary

amandag
10-16-2006, 05:29 PM
Homer: Marge, I can't live like this, I'm tired of walking around on eggshells!
Marge: Maybe if you didn't throw them on the floor... [Gesturing towards eggshells that Homer is standing on]
Homer: Now you're just making up rules! Who made you Judge Judy and executioner?

:rolling: :rolling: :rolling:

HollywoodCitizen
10-22-2006, 03:03 AM
I'm a contracts attorney -- feel free to PM me.

Thank you so much for your information -- I really appreciate it.

Pull Back Reveal
10-22-2006, 03:19 AM
What did you decide?

HollywoodCitizen
10-24-2006, 11:08 PM
What did you decide?


This is the legal advice that I got: "The contract was for $1000.00 dollars in exchange for the consideration of your efforts to further the sale of the work through your own contacts. The fact that your efforts did not result in a sale has no bearing on the agreement whatsoever. The only thing a sale would have done would be to reduce your "producer" share by one-thousand dollars. If you exhausted your contacts, then you should feel free to keep the money. Any argument by him to the contrary implies a contract requiring you to negotiate a sale of his work in perpetuity. If (your state) has a statute of frauds, then this would make the agreement voidable.

At this point you should Log every phone call/letter you have done and the amount of hours you have put into understanding the literary work. This way if you are taken to court, you will be able to show that he received a fair service for the price that was paid (in addition to access to contacts he would not otherwise have had -- that fact is extremely important as it greatly enhances the reasonableness of your services)."

However, because we haven't had the one meeting that I've set up so far (the exec. was ready to schedule it but my partner wanted to hold off on setting the meeting to see if we could get others the "same day", which is very naive and downright dumb), and because I now do not feel comfortable taking meetings with him (let alone working with him), I've decided it would be best to give back the money. Otherwise, I would be obligated to attend the meeting with him and share my contact. And I certainly don't want to ruin a perfectly good relationship(s) with a network exec. for $1000.00!

And as a side note, who in the world lands a meeting with a Sr. V.P of Production & Development at a network and puts it off?! What are the chances of getting another meeting with another network the same day?! Whew! I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders already...

TwoBitHack
10-25-2006, 06:27 AM
And as a side note, who in the world lands a meeting with a Sr. V.P of Production & Development at a network and puts it off?!


You did.

You should have made the appointment, had the meeting and sold your project. Instead, you let your partner be the boss and call all the shots.

Pull Back Reveal
10-25-2006, 02:40 PM
You did.

You should have made the appointment, had the meeting and sold your project. Instead, you let your partner be the boss and call all the shots.

My understanding, it wasn't Hollywood Citizen's project to sell. Hired to facilitate contacts. Right?

TwoBitHack
10-25-2006, 02:55 PM
I believe this was presented to us as a partnership and Hollywood Citizen was a co-producer with the partner.

Pull Back Reveal
10-25-2006, 03:31 PM
So, this guy asked me to partner with him and my job was to try to get us some meetings.

Doesn't sound like co-producer to me. Or that they'd done any collaborative work to develop the TV ideas.

TwoBitHack
10-25-2006, 03:37 PM
So, this guy asked me to partner with him...

... if any of the projects ever got off the ground, then we could deduct the $1000.00 from my first paycheck as "co-producer" of the projects.

... I don't want to continue the partnership.

And the thread is titled "Partnership turned sour --"

Hollywood Citizen should have managed this relationship better and moved this project forward to the point of making a deal.

Not sure what the debate is on this.

Pull Back Reveal
10-25-2006, 03:42 PM
And the thread is titled "Partnership turned sour --"

Hollywood Citizen should have managed this relationship better and moved this project forward to the point of making a deal.

Not sure what the debate is on this.

You're right, I just didn't get the impression Hollywood Citizen had much connection with the tv ideas other than setting up some meetings.

HollywoodCitizen
10-25-2006, 03:51 PM
You're right, I just didn't get the impression he had much connection with the tv ideas other than setting up some meetings.

Why do you assume I'm male? Also, you cannot possibly know how well I managed the relationship from my few postings on this forum.

Pull Back Reveal
10-25-2006, 04:06 PM
Why do you assume I'm male? Also, you cannot possibly know how well I managed the relationship from my few postings on this forum.

Sorry about the assumption. No excuse. But I didn't question your management of the relationship. I was defending your options in answer to:

You should have made the appointment, had the meeting and sold your project. Instead, you let your partner be the boss and call all the shots.

Was that wrong?

HollywoodCitizen
10-26-2006, 01:15 AM
Sorry about the assumption. No excuse. But I didn't question your management of the relationship. I was defending your options in answer to:



Was that wrong?

Oops, sorry! I misunderstood your post! :)

I have PM'd you.