Is my defendant a person, sole proprietor, or a business?

Updated: Apr 28

A defendant within a case can be a person, a sole proprietor, or a business. It is important to correctly identify the type because it will help ensure that you can collect the money from the appropriate party if you win the case.

The types of parties are defined below:

  • Person: an individual who is personally involved in the dispute

  • Sole Proprietorship: a business owned by one person with no legal distinction between the owner and the business

  • Business: a business owned by one or multiple people or businesses, which is a separate legal entity (LLC, corporation, association, etc) from its owner(s)

Typically the confusion is between a sole proprietorship versus a business. Many businesses are really just sole proprietorships.


Business Types

Once you have the business’s legal name, you can determine what type of business it is.

  • 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.

Why it's important?

  • Business Name: 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.

  • Business Registered Address: the demand letter will be mailed to the correct party and you use the right information to fill out your court forms.

  • Registered Agent: 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!

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