Should I go about my small claims?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Should I go about my small claims?

I own a company along with my business partner, we specialize in consumer electronics but we are newly developed. Most of our projects are completed by freelancers via UpWork freelance hiring site. I hired a sole engineer to conduct thorough research for a product we are wanting to develop who is located in our state. Our first stage was to complete an RD research and development. I paid him/her by hourly of 90/hr. After a few weeks and me sending him/her a product to reverse engineer in helping their research, he/her ended with a total of 21 hours of research with a total of about 1$,900. Now keep in mind, the funds are released weekly. At the end of their research, I asked for a report and specifically asked for topics to be addressed in it as well. Few days go by and I receive it. One of the worst put together/unusable research paper I’ve seen and most definitely does not represent the 21 hours put into research. So I filed a dispute with UpWork and they requested the freelancer to refund me all the money and that of course the report completed will stay as their property. Days go by and the freelancer is not responding and the dispute team is trying to get in contact with him. From what I understood, they are not able to refund me my money because they cannot pull it from his account, of course. Also, I have just came across this same issue with one of his/her previous clients complaining about the same issue except he got away with 10k.Now Secondly, he breached our NDA form that I had him specifically sign. During our discussion dispute with 5 moderators, he/her deliberately sent a copied and pasted transcript of all of our Skype messages. And even one of the staff members specifically asked him/her not to do so and only use screenshots. Now how do I get my money back? Should I take him/her to court? I have already filed for a hearing next week.

Asked on October 28, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you would sue the engineer, most likely in small claims court (note: if your business is an LLC or corporation, you will most likely need an attorney to represent you, if you are not a lawyer yourself, since the LLC or corporation is a separate legal "person" than you, and one non-lawyer may not represent another person in court as a general proposition). You would sue for breach of contract (not providing commercially acceptable output in exchange for payment) and possibly fraud (lying about what he/she could or would do).

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