Can I sue LLC after DBA did not pay small claim judgment?

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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 01:04 AM   #1
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Default Can I sue LLC after DBA did not pay small claim judgment?

Hi,

So I sued a company several years ago in small claims court in the state of Washington for 2500 dollars. I received a judgement against them however they never paid me. They were listed as a DBA and subsequently closed up shop under that DBA name and I think transfered to another one. They didn't own any property so I couldn't put a lean against them. There is an LLC of the company in the state of California (its a martial arts chain). I was considering going down to San Francisco to sue the LLC in small claims court. I want to know if this would work. Basically I would be suing the LLC because one of their DBA branches did not uphold the judgement and pay me. Can I and should I also sue for travel expenses if I do this? Also, is there any length of time before the judgement is rendered not in effect? It has been 5 years I think.

Thanks
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 02:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Can I sue LLC after DBA did not pay small claim judgment?

I wish to inform you that the Statute of Limitations on collection of court judgments is 10 years in Washington State. As the judgment was against the DBA in the Small Claims Court of Washington State, you may file a lawsuit for enforcement of the judgment in California against the LLC. You may claim costs. You can also claim interest at the rate of 9% per annum on the judgment amount. You may place all the facts before the court. The court will consider all the facts and decide the matter. You may self represent in your case. The burden of proof will be on you to show the relationship between the LLC and the DBA.

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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 06:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: Can I sue LLC after DBA did not pay small claim judgment?

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Originally Posted by abysis212 View Post
Hi,

So I sued a company several years ago in small claims court in the state of Washington for 2500 dollars. I received a judgement against them however they never paid me. They were listed as a DBA and subsequently closed up shop under that DBA name and I think transfered to another one. They didn't own any property so I couldn't put a lean against them. There is an LLC of the company in the state of California (its a martial arts chain). I was considering going down to San Francisco to sue the LLC in small claims court. I want to know if this would work. Basically I would be suing the LLC because one of their DBA branches did not uphold the judgement and pay me. Can I and should I also sue for travel expenses if I do this? Also, is there any length of time before the judgement is rendered not in effect? It has been 5 years I think.

Thanks
First you will have to have the judgment transcribed to the Superior Court judgment rolls. Small claims judgments do not transfer from state to state. That would be your first step. Once you have the judgment transcribed in Superior Court, then you can take it to California to collect in San Francisco.

Just be sure you have the same principals, that you are going against the holding company and that the judgment you obtained is good against the parent/holding company entity.

Your interest would best be served by having a lawyer do the collection for you rather than traveling to San Francisco to try to navigate their court system and judgment, lien laws. In order to collect, once the judgment is accepted in California, supplemental proceedings will have to be ordered through the court to discover bank account and other asset information to attach. An individual would have to apply to the court for all summonses which a lawyer, being an officer of the court does not have to.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 12:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Can I sue LLC after DBA did not pay small claim judgment?

Thank you both for your replies. It seems I have two roads I could travel. Perhaps you could each provide me with a little more information as this is new territory for me.

AFF: The line that stood out for me from your post was "The burden of proof will be on you to show the relationship between the LLC and the DBA." If I were to go your route my intention was to get two sworn statements from previous instructors stating that the initial deposit paid by me for training (which is the amount I am suing for) was, according to company policy, sent from the DBAs to the LLC. According to my logic this would show that the LLC could be held responsible to pay me. Thoughts?

Friend in Court: As you pointed out traveling to California would be a hassle. I like your more hands off approach though it raises several more questions for me. Do you have a reference I can consult on how to go about transcribing a judgment to the superior court? I am unclear how to go about doing it.

Secondly, when it comes to hiring a lawyer would I be paying for the lawyer out of pocket or is there some way of including this cost into the judgment to be collected?

Finally, I have discovered that this company has had an ill reputed past and I am sure they will do what they can to not pay me. Just thinking out loud here, but In the event that a lien has to be placed against them would I be out the money for the lawyer until that lien is paid? Having a lawyer do what you suggested sounds like it could be spendy though probably more effective than myself

Thanks again,

Erik
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 10:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Can I sue LLC after DBA did not pay small claim judgment?

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Originally Posted by abysis212 View Post
Thank you both for your replies. It seems I have two roads I could travel. Perhaps you could each provide me with a little more information as this is new territory for me.

AFF: The line that stood out for me from your post was "The burden of proof will be on you to show the relationship between the LLC and the DBA." If I were to go your route my intention was to get two sworn statements from previous instructors stating that the initial deposit paid by me for training (which is the amount I am suing for) was, according to company policy, sent from the DBAs to the LLC. According to my logic this would show that the LLC could be held responsible to pay me. Thoughts?

Friend in Court: As you pointed out traveling to California would be a hassle. I like your more hands off approach though it raises several more questions for me. Do you have a reference I can consult on how to go about transcribing a judgment to the superior court? I am unclear how to go about doing it.

Secondly, when it comes to hiring a lawyer would I be paying for the lawyer out of pocket or is there some way of including this cost into the judgment to be collected?

Finally, I have discovered that this company has had an ill reputed past and I am sure they will do what they can to not pay me. Just thinking out loud here, but In the event that a lien has to be placed against them would I be out the money for the lawyer until that lien is paid? Having a lawyer do what you suggested sounds like it could be spendy though probably more effective than myself

Thanks again,

Erik
It has been awhile since I was in Washington State and had to go through the process of getting a judgment transcribed from Small Claims Court to Superior, but if you contact the Superior Court Clerk you may get the procedural instructions there. Also, the law library has information on how to get the job done.

Once you have a superior court judgment, you can get a collection agency to collect for you, too, nationwide. They work on a contingency/percentage basis which makes the cost predictable and you should not be out of pocket. Considering travel costs to California....lodging and back, you could end up spending more in the long run anyway. The procedure for registering a lien is available, too, and that can be done long distance.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 11:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can I sue LLC after DBA did not pay small claim judgment?

excellent! very good information there. thank you.
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