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1) In small claims court against a corporation, I am a bit

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1) In small claims court against a corporation, I am a bit confused about who exactly will be at trial. Obviously I will be as the individual plaintiff (I'll go pro se). Evidently it's not mandated in my state, IL, that the corporation have legal counsel but I'm sure they will.

If they do in fact have legal counsel, will an officer of the corporation still be required to be present as the defendant? I ask because I do want to be able to ask an officer questions as a witness (like they will probably do to me). I really don't want to pay fees to subpoena a witness though b/c they would come from far away and evidently I would pay their travel expenses.

2) In regards XXXXX XXXXX motion for change of venue, I believe it is quite likely that they will attempt to do this based on pubic statements their officers have made on bbb.org. If that is in fact true, would I as the plaintiff be given the opportunity to present an argument of why I filed correctly? I read in our IL Rules and Procedures book that the judge bases his decision on evidence presented in the claim, etc. Clearly my claim will be quite brief. If I can't do this as a response, can I attach a statement laying out my reasoning for venue and attach it to my claim up front, noting that I am concerned they will attempt this venue change based on prior information?

3) I am still confused about the types of civil cases I can try in S.C. court which seem to be a little different everywhere. I have read that part of the IL Rules and Procedures and it doesn't make a decision between Illinois civil cases in general vs. Illinois (or local county for that matter) S.C. court. I ask because I would like to build a case of intentional misrepresentation, deception and possibly even fraud (I have read that definition and I believe it applies) as the basis of my emotional damages and overcharges claim (all related to a move). I can't find a list of types of claims heard in my county's S.C. court manual but have read where sometimes torts might not be heard in S.C. court. Would there be a specific place to read the actual laws if there could be differences from the overall IL civil case law instead of the manual? I haven't seen it in the state rules and procedures book but I definitely haven't read it cover to cover.

4) Finally, is it possible/advisable to use 2 types of reasoning (for me misrepresentation/deception and breach of contract) as the basis for my total monetary claim (I've separated it into 3 parts, 2 overcharges and emotional damages) or should I still to just one? If I should use just one, I would choose the 1st (if allowed in my local court) for sure to establish the emotional damages component)? I really can go with 1 line of reasoning or both to cover all my points since they mesh together (unless I can't use a tort claim).
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

LegalGems :

Hi! LegalGems here. I'll do my best to assist you.I can only provide general information, so a follow up consult with a private lawyer is recommended. I will do my best to answer your questions. First, small claims does allow a party to hire an attorney. An offIf icer can choose to have an attorney appear on their behalf, but generally the attorney will require the officer to be there so the judge's questions can be addressed. If they file a motion for change of venue, you would be given an opportunity to respond to the facts/law they set forth in their motion. The judge bases their decision on the documents submitted by the parties, by the legal precedence, and in small claims, often the judge has much more discretion and will try to do what they think is "right" and just. Generally a response cannot be received until an actual motion is filed -you really can't preempt their motion, so to speak. Torts can be heard -

LegalGems :

The court's jurisdiction is based on monetary amount, not on the underlying claim, so long as a monetary judgment is being sought. For example, a small claims court can't order injunctions- they only award monetary damages. So if an injunction is desired, civil court would be the proper forum./

LegalGems :

Generally, the plaintiff will build a case on a few different causes of action; for example, say it is breach of contract - the causes of action can be: 1. fraud in the inducement, 2. breach of contract, 3. misrepresentation. This is so that if one cause of action is struck down because an element is not met, the plaintiff still has other causes of action to make a claim. Otherwise, the party would be barred from bringing a subsequent lawsuit, since the underlying facts were already litigated (this is called issue preclusion, and collateral estoppel).

Customer:

Excellent. Thank you for your clarification of all these issues.

Customer:

in the last one though, I would like to give a quick example to make sure i understand this

Customer:

Company A has a written contract with me but we also had a verbal agreement/contract in place. After a while, it became clear that these 2 contracts were different. Due to mistrepresentation and fraud, the written contract was very deceptive and did not follow proper rules and regulations. Therefore, it is void. Therefore, there is a breached verbal contract involved

Customer:

As I have now discussed, given the issue of fraud and breach of contract, not only will I seek monetary damages for overcharges related to the breached contract, I will now also prove my case for emotional damages which were caused by the fraud (since my understanding is I can't included emotional damages solely based on breach of contract).

Customer:

Therefore my claim is called breach of contract

LegalGems :

That is correct - a breach of contract will not give rise to emotional damages. Your claim would actually be two--fold: breach of contract, fraud. 2 separate causes of action, but they can be litigated on the same day, since the underlying facts and the parties are the same.

Customer:

my causes of action are 1) misrepresentation 2) breach of contract and 3) fraud. This 3 build a case for the tort portion

Customer:

sorry, last clarification: I understand the causes of action part but I just want to be double sure on what my actual claim is called now (or is that "I'm suing you for $10,000?)

LegalGems :

Your actual claim is based on all 3. You have 3 claims. An umbrella term would be a civil suit. But you would be suing for all 3 issues. So for example, say you were going to do a Memorandum of Points and Authorities (unusual in small claims), you would have 3 parts to it. The facts would be introduced, and then cause of action #1, incorporating facts #1-17 say, then applying these to the cause of action's elements. Then so on, with cause of action # XXXXX etc.

Customer:

i see. so the same facts could essentially be used for all 3 causes or action (or at least many of them would overlap). i think i got it.

Customer:

thanks a bunch for your help

LegalGems :

You are welcome. Good luck!

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Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.
I hope you found the information I provided useful.
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