If I’m a freelance designer in one state that did work for a company in another state that did not pay me, where do I file asmall claims suit?

UPDATED: May 5, 2011

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If I’m a freelance designer in one state that did work for a company in another state that did not pay me, where do I file asmall claims suit?

Company previously offered to pay once and did not. Offered once again but took it back. I sent informal demand letter on 3 weeks ago for payment but it did not pay. The defense for not paying is that its customer has not yet paid it and that my terms for payment were “unreasonable.” I want to send final formal demand letter but do not think it will take it seriously if it comes from me. If I file, I want to do it in NY; I have been told that is possible but I also been told it could be dismissed and it could request change of venue. What do I do? This has been going for almost 5 months.

Asked on May 5, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

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

It would be convenient for you to file in NY where you live for filing documents with the court and attending the hearing.  You can have the defendant (company that has not paid you) served with your lawsuit  by a process server who is in or near the city where the company is located.  Process servers are listed in the Yellow Pages or online under attorney services.

Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your Small Claims Court  lawsuit) should include the amount you are owed plus court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee. 

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