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File in GA or CO? Do I need to appear

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by tibby, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. tibby

    tibby Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Colorado
    I live in Colorado.
    Took a contract job from a company located in Georgia to Install a Digital Touchscreen for a Doctor's office out in Colorado. Approx 150 miles away from where i live.
    It's been 30 days ago. The company now is telling me that they can not pay me, because of the COVID-19 issue and they have financial difficulties. They can't even tell a date when they are going to be able to pay me.

    I am afraid they are going to file for Bankruptcy and I'll loose my money.
    I would like to file at small claims court to get paid for my services before they go out from business.

    My question: Do I need to file in Georgia, where the company located?
    Do I need to file in Denver, where I live? ( I was told not here)
    or Do I need to file at the county where I have completed the work?

    Someone told me I will have to file at the county where the company who gave me the work is actually located, So that will be Georgia.
    I have seen I can e-file, but do I have to appear in person at court? That will be a travel charge that I can also add to my case as an expense?
    Thank you!
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you were a contractor, versus an employee when you preformed your services, your only option is to sue the company the contracted your services in small claims court.

    However, the company might be difficult or impossible to serve, as it is located in GA, not CO.

    Another issue for you is most small claims courts across the nation are shuttered as the ChiComm virus goes about it's deadly mission.



    Probably GA, because most small claims courts don't have the power/ability to compel citizens outside their jurisdiction to appear.

    If sue you must, an option is to sue in federal court.

    If you go that route, expect to wait four to six years before the matter to be heard, presuming you are able to file the case correctly in federal court.

    Many lawyers have never litigated a case before a federal court because it is cumbersome, difficult process.

    If you choose to sue in a GA small claims court, your travel expenses from CO to GA are not compensable, but the GA small claims fees and costs are.


    How much money do you think is owed to you?

    If it is under $10,000, maybe even $50,000, you might just have to write it off on your taxes (assuming that is even possible).
     
  3. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    You can't sue in Colorado small claims court for this because the small claims court rules in Colorado only effectively allow you to sue defendants located in within the state. So if you want to sue in small claims court, you need to go to Georgia for that.

    You need to appear in court to present your case. You can ask the court clerk for the court in the county in GA where you'd sue to see if it has options for you to appear by video or some other remote option, but that's probably not likely to be available. If you have to travel there those travel costs don't get added to whatever judgement you get unless your contract says you can get those kinds of expenses included.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Where this poster posted on two other sites I noted that Colorado's "long arm statute" allows you to sue a non-resident if the person (business) transacts "any business" within Colorado.

    http://www.lrcvaw.org/laws/colongarm.pdf

    Tibby can use the county or the district court to take advantage of the long arm statute and domesticate any judgment in Georgia.
     
  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Since the OP stated he/she was interested in suing in small claims court, that tells me the claim involved here is substantially less than $75,000. Assuming that's correct, then federal court would not be an option for this.

    The OP is likely a cash basis taxpayer. What that means is that there is no tax deduction for the fees he or she does not collect. Instead, if the fees are never collected there just is never tax on that in the first place.
     
  6. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but that cannot be done in small claims court in Colorado. Suing in Colorado county court would potentially be an option, but doing that would be a lot more complex than small claims court, and there is also the problem of getting good service on the out-of-state defendant.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I didn't draw such a conclusion.

    I've seen people sue in small claims court foregoing amounts in excess of the state maximum for small claims desperate to do something, even though the person understood that a small claims judgment often is uncollectable.


    I never implied that the OP could sue in federal courts but he/she MIGHT have that option should certain conditions be met.

    The word "exceeds" as used in Section 1332 implies that the amount in controversy must be MORE than $75,000 (maybe as in $75,000.01); a case removed from state court (or initiated in federal court) to federal court must be remanded back to state court (or summarily dismissed) if the amount in controversy is exactly $75,000.00.

    As I don't know the amount in dispute, I asked the OP in a reply above that question so additional information could be shared.
     
  8. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    So have I, but not in an instance where the claim involved was easily tens of thousands of dollars. Colorado's small claims court limit is $7,500. I've yet to see someone with a claim of $75,000 or more (and you are correct that more than $75,000 is required for diversity jurisdiction in federal district court) be willing to give up all but $7,500 of that claim just to proceed in small claims court. Might the OP be the one willing to do such a thing? Perhaps, but in my experience at least that would make the OP rather unusual indeed. ;)

    I totally agree knowing the amount at issue here would be useful to know.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I have to ask...(for the OP):

    If the company doesn't have money now, what do you think suing will accomplish? At this time, you have a company who wants to pay you, but can't. If you sue, then you're going to have a company that not only can't pay you, but doesn't even want to.

    These are unprecedented (in our lifetimes) times. Your most likely avenue (for successful collection) is to simply wait.
     
    army judge likes this.
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Why did a company in Georgia hire you to do this job in Colorado (and why would a doctor in Colorado hire a company in Georgia to do it)?

    30 days since you took the job or 30 days since you did the work? I assume the latter.

    That depends. What, if anything, does your contract say about this?

    Regardless, unless this company has assets in Colorado, a judgment from a Colorado court isn't going to be of much use to you. You would have to domesticate your Colorado judgment in a court in a state where the company does have assets. Presumably, that's Georgia, so you might be better off filing there. On the other hand, suing in Georgia would likely require a personal appearance, whereas domesticating a Colorado judgment would not. That weighs on the side of Colorado being a better choice if the company is subject to jurisdiction there.

    Unless the court permits you to appear by phone or video link, yes.

    No.
     

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