Do I need a lawyer to sue a business partner in a special civil case? If I do not get a lawyer and represent myself can my case get dismissed?

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Do I need a lawyer to sue a business partner in a special civil case? If I do not get a lawyer and represent myself can my case get dismissed?

I’m a minority shareholder and I want to sue my business partner who is a majority shareholder in the LLC business we have. He has breached the fiduciary duty operating agreement by not informing or consulting me on StarCrews LLC business decisions. He has not given me any updates on the business activity when I asked him. He has used the company checking account as his own personal checking account. I asked for last year’s income tax return and he has not provided this information to me. I do not know what he is doing as far as the business goes because he ignores my text messages and phone calls. He barley responds to my email. I wanted to know if its necessary to get a lawyer to sue him in the county courthouse where the business is located. The claim is $5,000.

Asked on June 20, 2018 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since you are a minority shareholder (or actually "member": shareholders own shares of corporations, but members own LLCs) and are not suing on behalf of the business entity (and in fact have no authority, as a minority member, to institute an action on the entity's behalf) but rather only on your own behalf, for violation of his fiduciary duty to his fellow owner, you do not need a lawyer. Any person may act as his/her own attorney ("pro se"). Only if you were suing on behalf of the business would you need a lawyer.


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