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


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."

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