How to Sue a Company

How to Sue a Company

Many companies excel, but there are also those that fall short and deserve to be sued. Various reasons may prompt someone to take their company to court. These reasons can range from contract violations, discriminatory treatment, injuries, and other company-related mistakes.

These lawsuits are often brought by employees, partners, customers, or other stakeholders who have been harmed by a company. So, how do you file a lawsuit against such a problematic company? Find out in the following explanation.

How to File a Lawsuit Against a Company?

Some cases of company lawsuits are handled in small claims courts. This option can be considered if you’re not ready to go to regular court. Each state has small claims court facilities ready to assist you with small claim lawsuits.

1. The Amount of Claims in Small Claims Court

Regulations regarding claims may vary for each state policy. For example, in California, you can file a lawsuit against a company with a maximum claim amount of $10,000. This provision applies to plaintiffs who are individuals.

However, for businesses suing other businesses, they can sue a company with a maximum amount of $5,000. In these small claims lawsuits, the plaintiff agrees to waive the amount exceeding the maximum limit, including if the company owes more significant debt.

For instance, if a company owes you $15,000 and you decide to sue the company in small claims court, you do not need to sue the company for an additional $5,000 because the maximum winnable claim is $10,000.

2. Preparing and Filing the Lawsuit

You may need to prepare documents and fees for the small claims filing process. The filing fee depends on the value of the claim you are filing.

The fee ranges from $30 to $75 for filing a lawsuit. If you feel unable to pay the filing fee, you may request the courts to waive the case fees.

3. Notifying the Defendant Company

After filing a lawsuit, your next task is to notify the company you are suing. This is also called “serving,” which costs around $0 to $75 for each company.

If you win the lawsuit, you can request the company to reimburse the filing and service fees incurred.

4. Preparing for and Attending the Small Claims Court Hearing

Usually, small claims court hearings are scheduled between 30-70 days after the lawsuit is filed. Some small claims hearings are informal and last about 15 minutes.

It’s important to note that small claims court hearings cannot be represented by lawyers. The defendant company can use non-lawyer employees to represent the company at the hearing.

The Process of a Small Claims Court Hearing

Before attending the hearing, ensure you have the correct name of the company. The process of a company’s small claims court hearing generally involves several stages as follows:

    1. The judge will ask the plaintiff and the defendant to present their evidence to each other. Later, this evidence will be presented to the court judge.
    2. The judge will ask you to explain the reasons for suing the company.
    3. The judge will ask the company to provide its perspective on the lawsuit being processed.
    4. The judge will ask both you and the defendant company to present the prepared evidence.
    5. The hearing lasts for 15 minutes, and the evidence documents may be retained by the judge.
    6. The judge will announce the decision and send the report to you within a few weeks to two months or possibly longer. Rarely is the outcome of the trial announced simultaneously with the hearing.

Why File a Lawsuit in Small Claims Court?

Before heading to regular court, you can take advantage of Small Claim Courts services. Besides being practical, there are other benefits you can obtain by filing a claim in small claims court compared to regular civil court. Here are some of the benefits:

1. Lower filing costs

Filing costs in small claims court are cheaper compared to filing costs in other courts.

2. Faster process

One reason why you should use small claims court is because of its faster process. Hearings can be scheduled within 30-70 days after filing the lawsuit, which is faster than in regular court.

3. No need to pay for an attorney

Generally, small claims court does not allow the use of attorneys. This provision can be advantageous because you don’t have to pay for an attorney, keeping the lawsuit costs low.

Essentially, small claims court is a good forum for minor disputes or controversies with damages below $10,000. Cases in small claims court also do not require legal assistance from attorneys or others.

The types of lawsuits you can file in court correspond to the complaints experienced. For example, lawsuits for malpractice, harassment or discrimination, breach of contract, patent infringement, and others.

Filing a Lawsuit in Civil Court

Taking legal action by suing a company in court may seem daunting. However, as a customer or employee, you must be brave because you have the power to sue companies that violate regulations or responsibilities beyond normal limits.

Companies have a responsibility to pay attention to employees, customers, and the community. If these responsibilities are not properly fulfilled and result in losses, then you are fully entitled to seek justice by suing the company.

In cases where the claim exceeds $10,000, you may consider filing a lawsuit in civil court, which exists in every state. It is advisable to understand all the technical and procedural regulations so that you do not have to start the case from scratch.

1. Find Out if the Company Being Sued is Incorporated

The first step is to ensure whether the company being sued is incorporated or not. A legally incorporated company is called a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation registered officially in the country.

Large companies are usually corporations, and small companies are often established as LLCs. So, a legally incorporated company’s name typically ends with “Inc” or “LLC.”

Apart from looking at the company’s name, you may need to verify it through online databases. For example, in Maryland, company information can be searched in the SDAT Business Entity database.

2. Find the Company’s Registered Agent

All corporate and LLC companies must have their own “resident agent.” Therefore, to sue a legally incorporated company, you must find this designated agent registered in the state.

To file a lawsuit, you can sue the company’s resident agent. Information about the resident agent can be found in the registered company list.

3. Filing the Lawsuit and Serving the Company

Once prepared, you can file a lawsuit against the company through the appropriate court. The lawsuit filing must include the legal name of the company along with its address and the address of its registered agent.

The court will issue a complaint report with a case number. The court will also issue a summons letter stamped with a seal.

The summons letter will be sent to the plaintiff and must be “served” or delivered to the company being sued. Serving can be done by directly calling on the company’s registered agent.

The above processes must be followed, and if any data or process is incorrect, the filing must start from the beginning. To assist the plaintiff, legal representation is often used.

The attorney will assist you through the lawsuit filing process, serving notice to the company, gathering evidence, summoning witnesses, and responding to motions. The services of an attorney come with certain fees that you need to prepare for.

In the process of resolving this lawsuit, all parties are required to inform the court of any changes in contact information or address. Both the plaintiff and the company must also inform each other.

This is to ensure that summonses or letters from the court can be sent to the correct address. You can update the written contact information if necessary.

How Much Does It Cost to File a Lawsuit Against a Company?

Filing a lawsuit in court incurs costs. The costs of a lawsuit depend on several factors, including:

    • The type of lawsuit involved
    • The court where you file the lawsuit
    • The amount of the claim or damages you seek
    • The parties involved in the lawsuit
    • Lawyers (if used)

On What Basis Can You Sue a Company?

There are many reasons why someone might sue a company or business. Here are some of the most common reasons why companies are sued.

1. Unfair Termination

Encountering unpleasant conditions in the workplace is common. However, in situations with excessive pressure and beyond reasonable limits, you should not hesitate to report the company.

One of these instances is wrongful termination. If you feel that you were dismissed or fired for reasons that are unacceptable, suing the company might be the right step to take.

2. Gender Discrimination

Many employees endure uncomfortable conditions due to job demands. However, when the conditions become unreasonable, such as being belittled solely because of your gender, you can seek justice.

3. Age Discrimination

Employees can also file claims if the company they work for engages in discrimination that crosses the line. Besides gender, age discrimination is a common issue in the workplace. If such discrimination hinders your ability to move forward or grow, you can report the company.

4. Unfulfilled Rights

Employees have their rights within the company, usually outlined in their employment contract or agreement. For instance, issues concerning unpaid wages or denied leave. You have the power to demand that the company fulfill employees’ rights.

5. Breach of Contract

Apart from employee claims against the company, there are also individuals or customers who file lawsuits. The reasons vary, and one of them is breach of contract. For example, if you sign a lease for an apartment but the property manager fails to provide keys or violates other terms of the agreement, you can sue the property developer.

6. Harassment

Employees can seek protection and sue companies for harassment. This can be physical, sexual, mental, or verbal harassment resulting in harm. With sufficient evidence, you can promptly report such misconduct by the company to the relevant court.

7. Injury

Lawsuits against companies can come from employees or even customers who feel aggrieved. For example, an employee working for a company may suffer violence from a supervisor, resulting in physical harm. This also applies to customers who may suffer injuries or accidents from using the company’s products.

8. Malpractice

This reason usually arises in lawsuits filed against hospitals or companies providing healthcare services. A lawsuit against the company can be filed if a patient feels they are a victim of malpractice or if the company is deemed negligent and causes harm.

9. False Financial Information

There may be company executives or shareholders who provide inaccurate or false financial reports. This can harm others, leading to the company being sued by relevant parties.

Tips for Suing a Company

It’s crucial to thoroughly understand and prepare everything before suing a company in court. This can be a challenging case because the company might retaliate and sue you back. Almost all companies facing legal issues will hire lawyers to defend them in court. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the battle in court:

1. Try Resolving with the Company First

It’s advisable to contact the company regarding your complaints and losses. The company may try to find a solution to resolve the issue. This approach can lead to a quicker resolution. If the company fails to address your concerns, then the next step can be to go to court. Start by gathering information and preparing to file a lawsuit with legal authorities.

2. Gather Information

Collect every piece of information and evidence related to your case that will assist you in court. This includes details of the incidents, chronology, and witness information. The data collected will be invaluable in helping your lawyer win the case.

3. Pay Attention to Injury Conditions and Medical Documentation

If your lawsuit against the company is due to injuries, it’s essential to pay attention to your condition. Regardless of whether your injury is minor, seek medical help. This is crucial to ensure your well-being and participation in the court proceedings. Don’t forget to document various important aspects of your injuries. Keep records of doctor’s diagnoses, prescriptions, medical bills, and even insurance companies, as they can strengthen your case.

4. Dealing with Company Tactics

Companies can employ various tactics to deflect lawsuits filed against them. With the assistance of professional lawyers, they can employ strategies including delaying tactics and intimidation.

If you don’t have a lawyer, you’ll be fighting alone, so it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the nature of the case. Beware of delaying tactics as the company might prolong the court process. Not only will schedules be affected, but the costs for the court process will also increase. You might need more funds due to this.

5. Understanding Your Case

The most crucial aspect is understanding the nature of your case. You must carefully assess whether the case is worth pursuing in the legal system or not. Not every unpleasant situation has a legal resolution. Complaints about the filed lawsuit must be supported by clear and specific information.

Additionally, you should also evaluate whether the case is suitable for trial considering the expenses involved. Not to mention the risks and dangers that may arise after filing the lawsuit.

These are some ways and tips for filing a lawsuit against a company. You can file claims for company discrimination, breach of contract, tax fraud, defamation, and many more. Make sure you’re fully prepared, both mentally, financially, and, importantly, with evidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *