How do I sue someoneI another state, who owes me money?

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How do I sue someoneI another state, who owes me money?

This “friend” signed aninvoice agreeing to pay me back for products that I paid for and sent to her in MI to start a business. The business fell through and the friend is not paying the $400 a month agreed upon. In fact, she is not paying regularly at all; she has only made 2 small payments of $100, 1 in July and 1 in November. MI’s small claims maximum is $3000. I don’t want to have to hire an attorney? What can I do?

Asked on November 7, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

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.  For convenience purposes such as future court appearances, you should file your lawsuit in OH.  You could have the defendant served with the lawsuit in MI by an MI process server.  Look in the telephone book or on-line under attorney services to find a process server near or in the community where the defendant lives.  After the defendant has been served, you can file the proof of service in the OH court where you filed the lawsuit.

If you don't know the current address of the defendant and the process server is unable to locate the defendant, you can serve the defendant by publication.  Service by publication means running the notice of the lawsuit in the legal notices section of your newspaper.  Even though the defendant probably won't see the notice, this is still considered effective service.  Your court clerk will be able to tell you how long the notice has to run in the newspaper for valid service by publication.  The time period varies from state to state.  Only do service by publication if you don't know the defendant's whereabouts or the process server can't locate the defendant. 


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