Which court do I sue in?
June 15, 2006 9:48 AM   Subscribe

My understanding is that to sue in NYC Small Claims Court, the defendant must live, work, or conduct business within NYC. If the defendant does not live, work, or conduct business within NYC--though the claimant does--what's the proper court for a Small Claims Court type of lawsuit? And this might solve it, too: If the defendant bought something from a store in NYC, is that conducting business?
posted by whitebird to Law & Government (9 answers total)
You have it almost right. My memory on these jurisdiction issues is shakey, but if I remember right, they must live/work/conduct business there, or the harm that you're suing for must have occurred there.

Buying something in NY wouldn't do it. If he bought something with a bad check though, and you were suing for recovery of the money, that would do it.

(CYA: IAAL, but this is not legal advice, and I am not your lawyer.)
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2006

He actually stopped a payment check for goods sold him.
posted by whitebird at 10:42 AM on June 15, 2006

If he bought those goods for which he stopped payment on the check in NY, I think you should be good.

Actually, looking at the small claims website, it says suit can be brought where either party resides or does business. So I think you should be good.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 11:31 AM on June 15, 2006

Oh, duh, just read the second half of that paragraph I linked to. Given that the harm your suing for is due to his purchase in NY, I'd still say I think you're good.

But is there a reason you don't just sue at his home, to be on the safe side?

Worse comes to worst, your case will be dismissed, you'll be out a filing fee, and you'd refile in the proper venue.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 11:33 AM on June 15, 2006

The NYC small claims court should have jurisdiction over this as the purchase occurred in NYC. Suing him in NYC is even better because he will have to come to NYC to defend himself which adds expense and hassle. If you want legal advice on this you should talk to a lawyer.
posted by caddis at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2006

You're fine. Sue in your home area. You can sue in any of the "logical" places to do so: where he lives, where you live, where the business lives, or where the transaction took place. You can't just pick a random court that has no connection to either of you, however.

You will have to show that you served him properly with the lawsuit papers, however (since he probably won't show up in court). Be careful about that, do it correctly.
posted by jellicle at 12:16 PM on June 15, 2006

Good point jellicle. The court clerk can give you detailed instructions on this.
posted by caddis at 12:25 PM on June 15, 2006

Thanks, everyone, for all your help--I really appreciate it!
posted by whitebird at 2:21 PM on June 15, 2006

Isn't stopping payment on a check in that way criminal?
posted by MegoSteve at 6:28 PM on June 15, 2006

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