If I am owed money from someone who lives out-of-state, where doI file a lawsuit?

I purchased a dog from an out-of-state breeder fpr $1,500.  After 1 month we communicated with the breeder and sent the dog back. The breeder agreed to refund our money. I have requested the money, and have received no response. To file a claim in small claims court, should this be filed in NC (where I live) or in FL (where the breeder lives)?

Asked on January 30, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, North Carolina


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Courts must have both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over a matter. Subject matter is the issue at hand and personal jurisdiction is the defendant/respondent. Here it appears the contract was probably considered entered into in Florida, where you sent the money and where the dog was originally located. Further, this is where the breeder lives/resides. So, you would need to file in Florida, but consider this is where you will need to attend the hearing. Consider whether you have a contract with the breeder and if the contract requires you to first attend mediation or arbitration first.

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