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<<I would very much doubt you can just decide to offset one with the other. That's what courts are for. Whether or not he WOULD make an issue of it is another question, but if you are obligated to pay him for work completed and don't he can sue you over it.>>

Generally speaking, people are entitled to make offsets for damages against amounts owed. Theft is a tort, and a crime to boot.

If you owed someone $100 for services rendered but on their way out the door they had hit you over the head with a fireplace poker and put you in the hospital, would you still fork over the $100?

Furthermore, courts generally expect plaintiffs to come to court with clean hands. If someone sued you for amounts due when you had convincing evidence of theft, I would suppose courts would have little interest in awarding them amounts they might otherwise have been due.

After seeing convincing evidence that a crime had been committed, a court might just decide to order the offender arrested pending the filing of criminal charges. I suppose that might be a stretch to expect, but it might weigh on the mind of someone thinking about suing you.

In short, I wouldn't pay the guy if I had convincing evidence of the theft.

Seattle Pioneer
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