View Full Version : Small Claims Court

November 26th, 2007, 05:05 PM
Hi everyone...

I have a client that has not paid an invoice from last May. The amount is not big, $600, but I'm outraged that I was asked to spend time doing a project and now they will not pay the invoice. Several emails to them have gone unanswered. They're obviously blowing me off:mad:
After I submitted the design, I got an email from the president of the company saying it was exactly what he wanted, so this is really upsetting. I did the work satisfactorily and very quickly, and now I'm faced with a deadbeat.
The company is in Somerset, New Jersey but they have a showroom here in New York City.

Do I have to file a small claims suit in New Jersey or can I do it here in the city, since they have a showroom here? If I need to file it with the NJ system, must I go there in person to Somerset(big hassle!)...
Thanks for any advice.

November 26th, 2007, 06:38 PM
According to page 6 of this link (http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/smallclaims/pdfs/smallclaims.pdf) "you cannot sue an individual or business located outside of the City of New York in the New York Small Claims Court", but you can sue if the defendant resides or works or has a place of business (showroom is a place of business). You can either sue in the county you live in within the City of New York or the county where the defendant resides or works or has a place of business.

I hope that sort of helps. :o

November 26th, 2007, 08:22 PM
Hi MG-

I don't know of any personally, but there are a ton of small law firms that will write a threat letter for very little money. Often it does get immediate results (or not, if they truly don't have the funds). It will probably cost the same or less than small claims, particularly out of area.

Good luck.

November 26th, 2007, 10:04 PM
ramvid01[/U];200737](showroom is a place of business).

Maybe, maybe not. Depends on the nature of the "showroom" -- including who owns and operates it; whether it shows products from multiple companies; whose employees staff the location; whether this company pays taxes in NY, has a phone listing in its name at the location; etc. A home decorating "showroom" in Manhattan, for example, that displays and sells wallpaper designed and manufactured by 20 different firms almost certainly is not a "place of business" of any of them.

November 26th, 2007, 11:09 PM
^^ I assumed that by the way he structured his sentence that he meant they owned and operated the showroom. Of course I could be wrong but yes ownership does matter.

November 27th, 2007, 11:06 AM
Thanks for the feedback! The showroom is solely owned and staffed by the company for whom I did the project. It is listed in the Manhattan Yellow Pages under their name and the only products they show are their own. It is basically an extension of their New Jersey warehouse and offices so they can easily meet with clients(and designers like me) who are located in the city.

I'm assuming these things mean that I could file the case here in New York?

November 27th, 2007, 11:09 AM
Also...I have sent them 3 emails requesting payment with no reply. I wonder if legally I need to send them a traditional letter by snail mail before I file the case.

November 27th, 2007, 11:37 AM
Did your work "contract" outline how & when payment was to be made?

November 27th, 2007, 12:03 PM
Such a small project, and I never had a problem with them before, so I didn't make them sign a work contract for this. I just have the emails they sent telling me what to do and then telling me I did it well. Maybe I'm screwed now...

November 27th, 2007, 12:12 PM
Not at all. The emails would be considered evidence of the agreement between the two parties.

November 27th, 2007, 01:18 PM
Send a registered letter to the client.

November 27th, 2007, 06:00 PM
I will definitely do that. Thanks for the advice.