3 Key Details for Suing a Business
Updated: Oct 29
If your dispute is against a business, you will need to provide three pieces of information:
1. Business Name
Businesses typically use "Fictitious Names" or "DBAs" to interact with their customers so it's likely that you are more familiar with a business's DBA rather than its legal name. Both are important when you are filing a case against the other party.
Determine Business Structure
If the business has “Inc.” or “Corp.” attached to its name, then it’s a corporation.
- There are different types of corporations, like “S” and “C” corporations, but you don’t need to concern yourself with what type of corporation the business is. All you need to know is whether it is a corporation.
If the business has “LLC” in its name, then it’s a limited liability company.
If the business has “LP” in its name, then it’s a limited partnership.
If it has an “LLP” in its name, then it’s a limited liability partnership.
How to Find the Information
Once you have identified the type of business, you can begin your search for the business's legal name one of three recommended ways. State Registration: corporations, LLCs, and LPs are required to register at the state level. Many states have an online search to locate the business in question.
o The search result will include the registered address and registered agent information for the company.
o Tip 1: the company you are looking for may be registered in a different state.
o Tip 2: if you see multiple companies with similar names, pick the one that has an active registration.
Why It's Important
Naming the correct business will make sure that you are bringing the case to the right entity, and that you are able to collect your money if you win your case.
2. Registered Address
This is the official address of the company. If you do not know the address of the other party (defendant) that owes you money, you may want to see our tips for finding the address of a person or business.
Why It's Important
The demand letter will be mailed to the correct party and you use the right information to fill out your court forms.
3. Registered Agent
If the defendant you are suing is a corporation, limited liability company, or public entity, you will need to indicate the person or agent authorized for service of process when filling out your SC-100 (Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go To Small Claims Court).
Why It's Important
The demand letter is sent to the right place and court forms are "served" to the right party. Court forms must be served before you can attend your court hearing!
NEED HELP WITH YOUR JUSTICE JOURNEY?
The quest for justice is never easy, particularly when it comes to getting your money back. However, thanks to advances in technology, it has become easier. Quest for Justice’s first app, JusticeDirect, is the only app of its kind designed to support people without lawyers resolve their dispute and get their money back, both in and out of court. The first step to getting money back is through a letter demanding payment from the other party JusticeDirect offers customizable demand letters for free. If the letter demanding payment does not work, then the next step is taking them to court. JusticeDirect* will guide users every step of the way through the small claims court process by helping them:
Understand the legal process;
Evaluate the pros and cons that come with taking someone to court;
Generate small claims court forms; and,
Avoid common mistakes when filing your forms and serving notice on the other side.
*Currently, JusticeDirect can only help litigants sue in California’s small claims court.