Time to sue, but who?
December 29, 2017 9:43 AM   Subscribe

So, for the first time in my multi-decade career as a writer, I have a client who isn't paying. But who should I be sueing?

It's time to go to small claims court. I tried to file there listing the publisher and the LLC behind the publication, but the clerk bounced it back, saying that they need the owner or president of the LLC. Problem is, I am not sure who that is. The LLC (in Illinois) has someone listed as a manager, but not as owner or president. It appears to be a Delaware LLC, but Delaware does not seem to list the owners of LLCs registered there.

So, who should I be listing on the small claims court paperwork?
posted by baggers to Work & Money (8 answers total)
MGR is the title i am forced to give myself on my llc. MGR is me, other subordinate llc owners in mine are called MBR (member). So manager might actually ne who you're looking for.
posted by chasles at 9:54 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

To add, i am forced to use that designation (manager MGR) when legally registering and creating my llc)
posted by chasles at 9:55 AM on December 29, 2017

The Illinois manager should be who you are looking for if I'm understanding the question. They probably just need a real person listed for the purpose of being served process on the LLC's behalf. In "big claims" court that's usually the registered agent in your state for a foreign corporation, but small claims is quite different.
posted by wierdo at 10:20 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I sued a local Geek Squad/Best Buy in small claims and was frustrated trying to figure out who to list as the defendant... finally I just gave up and put "Geek Squad/Best Buy" and listed that one store's address. I didn't have to do anything else.

(Their corporate attorney called me a week before the court date and offered a full settlement, but not until after the court date. I went and got a default judgement on their no-show.)
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 12:19 PM on December 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

You can sue an LLC without naming anybody else as a defendant. If you have a contract with the LLC and the LLC has failed to pay you, then you should sue the LLC. The issue you are probably encountering is how to serve the complaint on the LLC. For that, you need to send the complaint to a person who can accept it on behalf of the LLC. In Illinois (and most places) an LLC is required to have a "registered agent" - that is the person you serve with the complaint. You should be able to find a registered agent for the Illinois LLC by searching here. Delaware LLCs are listed here.

Where are you filing your lawsuit? That may help answer these questions and any others.
posted by Mid at 5:04 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all for the advice. To answer the Qs:

- Filing the lawsuit in MA, in the somerville district court.

The Illinois LLC site lists one person as agent, and another as manager. The "manager" is the person who signed the contract. Would it be more productive to put both, or just the LLC and manager?
posted by baggers at 8:29 PM on December 30, 2017

Not clear what you are putting them down for - as defendants or as persons to serve the complaint on? If you don't know, the best bet is probably to put both down and then see what happens. Along the same lines, I would just tell the clerk you think the "manager" is also the "owner," if the clerk is hung on up identifying the "owner." Once you get past the clerk and get your lawsuit filed, you can usually correct mistaken party information - but you need to get past the clerk first and get the thing filed.
posted by Mid at 7:41 PM on December 31, 2017

Response by poster: I was planning to put them down as defendants. I'll try listing the LLC and the person listed as manager as well.
posted by baggers at 2:00 PM on January 1, 2018

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