Is my defendant a person, sole proprietor, or a business?
Updated: Oct 29
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.
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!
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.