How do I sue an out of state person who owes me money?

The transaction took place in my state before they moved out of state. I’ve been trying to get my money back for almost a year now. They keep saying they will send my money, but then when the time comes they keep giving me excuses. I don’t want to have to travel to their state, its on the opposite side of the country. Would they have to come here since the transaction took place here, or am I going to have to go to their state?

Asked on May 26, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In any lawsuit the court must have jurisdiction over the person you sue (the defendant). Typically the court has jurisdiction if the defendant has some connection to the state in which you want to sue them; it must be reasonable for the defendant to be forced into that state's courts. For example, you can sue a defendant in your state's court if they have a business your state. You cannot sue a person in a state where they have absolutely no connection. So depending on the specific facts of your case, you may have to go out of state to sue.

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