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tswartz123, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 3006
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I hired a handyman from NJ to work on two properties, one in

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I hired a handyman from NJ to work on two properties, one in PA and the other property in NJ. I paid him and I bought the material. He never did the work and he took the material.
Should I take him to court in NJ or PA, or it doesn't matter which?


I would suggest New Jersey as the better jurisdiction. State courts always have jurisdiction over its own residents. So since the handyman is from New Jersey there would be no question whether a New Jersey court would have jurisdiction over him.

Pennsylvania could potentially have jurisdiction over the handyman since at least one of the transactions occurred in Pennsylvania. State court also always have jurisdiction over transactions that happen in their state. But there may be a question over whether a Pennsylvania court has jurisdiction over the transaction that happened in New Jersey. At least there is the possibility that the handyman would raise a jurisdictional defense with respect to the New Jersey transaction.

So, since you probably want two start just one lawsuit rather than two, New Jersey would be the better jurisdiction.

In addition, if you are considering bringing a small claims lawsuit because the amount involved is not that much, small claims lawsuits always must be commenced in the jurisdiction in which the defendant lives. And more particularly in the county in which the defendant lives. So you would bring a small claims lawsuit in the New Jersey county in which the handyman lives.

I hope this answers your question.


Customer: replied 3 days ago.
I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.
The county the contractor lives in NJ is far away from the NJ county he was suppose to work at (which is closer to me, but not the county I reside).
Can I take him to the NJ county court where he was suppose to work (according to contract)?

Not if you take him to small claims court. If you sue him in small claims court you must sue him in the county in which he lives or where his business is located. In New Jersey the small claims limit is $3,000.

However, if the amount you seek is more than $3,000, you can sue the contractor in the county where the work was supposed to occur.


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