The complexities when you sue a business can be far more involved than when you sue an individual person. Typically, when you sue an individual, you know their name and address and can find out “who” you need to file your claim against, however, when dealing with a business, there could be complicated structures, holding companies, corporate shells or other holdings that make the who to sue question, far more complicated.
Here is an example.
Let’s say you are in a store and you slip and fall, injuring yourself. Do you sue the store? What if the store is part of a chain? What if the chain is headquartered out of state? These are central questions to completely understand when understanding who it is that you need to file your lawsuit against as you can’t just file a suit against the manager of the store as they are likely just an employee. Also, you need to make sure that whoever you are going to sue has the means to pay up when you prevail or settle, otherwise you will win but loose in that you may be unable to collect.
Now the next layer of complexity comes in…what “kind” of business is it that you need to sue? There are many business structures and they each require an understanding of structure to guide how you go about your lawsuit. The three most typical business structures used are Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships, Corporations and Limited Partnerships.
If you need to sue a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, you need to find out who owns this business and will likely sue the owner. Similarly, for a Partnership, you will need to find out who all of the partners are by name and these will be the parties to your lawsuit. The reason for this is that the Sole Proprietorship and Partnership structures are legally simple and under the law, the owner or owners are responsible for the obligations of the business.
If you need to sue a Corporation or Limited Partnership then once again, research is required. In these cases, these business structures are separate legal entities and often have far more complex structures where the managers and owners are afforded extra protections under the law. Finding out the proper name, agent for service of process and other data, much of which can be found via the Secretary of State’s office. While you can do this study on your own, it can be difficult to understand what to look for and can further complicate gathering this information.
Even once you’ve sort out “who” you need to sue, when dealing with a business, it is essential that you remember that most businesses will have legal counsel with only one job…protecting the business. Therefore, it is essential that you are protected with your own counsel who can make sure that your case is properly prepared, filed and prosecuted through to a successful outcome.
Leiva Law Firm is here to help you with a team of dedicated and experienced attorneys that will help determine how to approach your case and get you the best outcome. contact us today or call us at 818-519-4465 to get a case evaluation and protect your claim.