Am I obligated to appear in a small claim court in one state if I am in another?

UPDATED: May 21, 2012

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Am I obligated to appear in a small claim court in one state if I am in another?

Ex-customer of our brought an iPad upon receiving stated the unit did not charge, asked him to ship it back to us once we received it everything works fine. Threaten to sue us, told him if that’s the case we rather refund you the full amount which we did. A week and a half later I received a letter from Missouri Boone county court of a small claim, claim of $3000 when the amount of purchase was $404. He stated “delayed in settling dispute after dispute agreement, lost of ability to conduct business and customer harassment by employee” this statement never true. We have document.

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Business Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lawsuit can be filed where the plaintiff resides or where the defendant resides or where the claim arose.

You should file an answer to the complaint (complaint is the lawsuit) within the time set forth in the summons.  The answer to the complaint denies the allegations in the complaint.  File your answer to the complaint with the court and serve a copy by mail on the plaintiff.  If you don't timely file your answer and serve it by mail on the opposing party, the opposing party will have a default judgment entered against you.  If that happens, you will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants your motion to set aside the default, the case is then back on track and litigation will continue.  Small Claims Court may have a court form for an answwer to the complaint.

You don't have to appear in person in Missouri.  You can appear by telephone and participate in the hearing.  Contact the court clerk in Missouri to find out about their rules for telephone appearances because you will probably need to file a form requesting a telephone appearance and if the form isn't timely filed, the court will deny your request for a telephone appearance.

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 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.

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