Is it possible to take someone to small claims court to resolve an issue that they should be suing you for?

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Is it possible to take someone to small claims court to resolve an issue that they should be suing you for?

My brother is claiming that my husband blew up the engine in his truck by running it out of oil. He says we owe him money. I don’t think that a person can be held responsible for maintenace damage on a vehicle and that the owner should take full responsibility of all maintenace issues on the vehicle. I want to take my brother to court and have him sue us, that way the issue can be resoloved and the family fighting can stop.

Asked on August 12, 2011 Arizona

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In this country, you cannot sue a person in small claims court for "declaratory relief" which is what you are asking. Small claims courts award money judgments, not a declaration of rights and duties of individuals to one another which you are asking about since your brother has not filed suit.

However, if you brother sued your husband for monetary damages for the repair of the engine in his truck, establishes liability and damages against your husband in the small claims court, the small claims court can make an award.

For your husband to sue your brother in small claims court for a declaration that he did not cause damage to the truck's engine would not be allowed in that court's jurisdiction.

 


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