In California, I loaned my $6000 car to someone who paid a $500 deposit. If he returned it today, according to the agreement, he would owe $1500 (so he would need to pay $800 more since he once made a $200 payment, albeit late). But, he now refuses to pay more and refuses to return the car. I am pressing criminal charges, but want to focus here on just my potential in a civil suit. Also, I understand that I am unlikely to ever get paid even if I win the civil suit, but let's not discuss that.
Then, what is the most I can reasonably sue for? My guess is that I can sue for the $6000 car (minus whatever value I can sell it for if I get it back) plus the $800 debt plus my court-related costs (maybe $500). Does California civil court have any punitive/double/treble recovery precedent? Is there a common practice in California civil courts which would allow me to sue beyond my true expenses?
He makes arrangements to pay or return the car but reneges on these actions. I could claim that he has caused me 40 extra hours of work to manage this but I don't believe I can expense my own time for a suit, so hoping instead for a more official California civil court punitive rule.