If I hire a contractor but make the check out to the individual instead of a company name, can I sue that individual to get my money back?

Basically, I hired a contractor to do work on my home but they didn’t follow through on the job. When I gave him a down payment, the check was made out to the individual instead of a business. If this ends up going to court, can I sue the individual to get my money back, since I made the check out to that person or do I still need to take the business to court?

Asked on March 4, 2016 under Business Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the business was not an LLC or corporation, then the individual IS the business--there is no legal distinction. Sue him under his own name "doing business as" the business. For example, "John Doe, d/b/a Ripoff Contractors."
If the business was an LLC or a corporation, then sue the business and also sue the individual: both are potentially liable, so name them both. For example: "Ripoff Contractor, Inc. and John Doe."


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.