What city do I sue in a car manufacturer?

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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

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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