What city do I sue in a car manufacturer?

UPDATED: Nov 9, 2011

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What city do I sue in a car manufacturer?

I’m trying to find out where to sue. I bought a car in one state (new dealership) but now live in another state. A contract dispute has come up but the dealership went out of business when the owner died. I called the manufacturer’s headquarters located in still a third state but they do not want to take responsibility. I’ve decided I want to sue the headquarters in small claims but I’m not sure if I will have to travel to court there or can I do this in my district?

Asked on November 9, 2011 under General Practice, Pennsylvania


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.  You can file your lawsuit in the state where you live or in the state where the defendant is located or in the state where the claim arose (where the transaction occurred). 

For convenience purposes such as filing documents with the court and court appearances, it would be preferable for you to file in your state.  If the manufacturer is doing business in your state, then the manufacturer should have an agent for service of process located in your state.  You may be able to obtain information on an agent for service of process in your state for the manufacturer from the Secretary of State's Office in your state.  Then, you can serve the manufacturer's agent for service of process located in your state with the lawsuit.  If there isn't any agent for service of process for the manufacturer in your state, you will need to serve the manufacturer in the state where it is located (corporate headquarters).  You can have a process server in the city or near the city where the corporate headquarters is located serve the manufacturer with your summons and complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons).  Process servers are listed under attorney services in the Yellow Pages or online.

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

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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