Can I be sued personally by a customer in small claims even though I worked for a corporation?

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Can I be sued personally by a customer in small claims even though I worked for a corporation?

A customer of our company wanted to return goods purchased but the manufacturer denied. The customer filed small claim for $4700 against me personally. Can I be sued personally in small claims?

Asked on October 23, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An employee of a corporation can be sued personally for wrongs that he personally does. However, there must be some wrong done by that employee for him or her to be sued personally. (For example: suppose a delivery driver for a company drives negligently and injures someone; the driver may be personally liable the act as well as the company being liable.) In this case, if you were simply following the policy of your employer and/or what the manufacturer stated, you personally have done nothing wrong--there is no negligence, no breach of contract by you personally, and presumably no fraud (unless you made misrepresenations to the customer). Unfortunately, that may not prevent them from filing the lawsuit, but you should have a good defense against it, since the customer should not be able that you personally are liable in any way.


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