Jump to content

Can a corporation be sued in small claims court?

Recommended Posts

I am in MI. I just had a clerk at the District Court, which has jurisdiction in the area, tell me that a small claims case can't be heard against a corporation but that I could initiate the proceedings in small claims by serving the registered agent for the corporation. She said they (the corporation) would move it to civil court. I knew that was their option, since no one can be forced to waive their rights and you do that in small claims court by giving up the right to be represented by an attorney. I didn't think it was automatic, she said it is. If that is the case then no one in MI, at least, can effectively sue a business in small claims court as it will get moved to a civil court venue. Is she right or just mis-informed? Does anyone know the answer?

If it goes to civil court, I would be handicapped due to the size of the claim ($900) and the expense of hiring an attorney to represent me, unless I prevail. With an attorney I am sure I would win but I wouldn't want to go it myself in a more formal civil court venue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All suits against CC companies, CA, that I've heard about here and creditnet seem never to hav gone to civil court.

I am under the same impression as the original poster. I find it difficult to believe what the clerk said (but you'd think they'd know).

I think all under $5000 suits MUST go to small, and if the defendant wants to PAY for jury and expense they can request a civil trial...

But it's the same case whether it's small/civil. If you were going to represent yourself in small claims, why wouldn't you do the same in civil? Same risk/info. I was under the impression you went up against a lawyer in smal claims when facing a corporation anyway... why would they send the janitor?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know the answer to the question, but from what I've read, MI is one damn weird state when it comes to their legal system.

In my state (PA) businesses/indidivudal sue other businesses/individuals all the time. The whole purpose of a small claims court system is to resolve small civil and monetary disputes without all the cost and hassle of hiring an attorney and so forth.

You may want to check out this link at Nolo.com (lots of helpful small claims FAQ's and related articles in the lower left hand corner):

'>Small Claims FAQ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info. I did check the link and this is what it says in regards to Michigan;

<blockquote>Can I bring a lawyer to small claims court?

In a handful of states, including California, Michigan and Nebraska, you must appear in small claims court on your own. In most states, however, you can be represented by a lawyer if you like. But even where it's allowed, hiring a lawyer is rarely cost-efficient. Most lawyers charge too much given the relatively modest amounts of money involved in small claims disputes. Happily, several studies show that people who represent themselves in small claims cases usually do just as well as those who have a lawyer.</blockquote>

This may have been what the clerk was referring to. Since I have to serve the registered agent for the corporation and since the corporation may not be represented by an attorney in a small claims proceedings, she claims that case will automatically be referred to a civil court. I know this is an option but I have a hard time believing the state would do this without the defendant filing a motion.

[Edit by fiatmoney on Friday, May 30, 2003 @ 10:53 AM]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.