Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
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Can I sue this person in ca civil case?
Yes, what this person has done if this was an accident is called "conversion" which is the wrongful keeping of the property of another. If you don't know the person's name, you can file a suit against "John Doe" and state that his identity will be added later. Then once the case is filed, you can get a "subpoena duces tecum" to send to the airline so that they can release the name of the passenger and you can then amend your complaint to add his name. Once he is served with the suit, I can't imagine that he would try to fight it instead of simply giving you back the computer..
Do I need to file a lawsuit in order to file a subpoena or can I file the subpoena alone?
A subpoena is a request for information either in the form of documents or for someone to appear in a civil case to testify. So you have to have a legal case filed in order to get a subpoena issued by the clerk of the court.
So you have to file a lawsuit first, then have the clerk issue the subpoena, then file a motion to amend the complaint to reflect the person's name that you got with the subpoena so that they can be served with the summons and complaint demanding the return of your personal property.
Is it advisable to hire a lawyer for this?
If you aren't familiar with filing your own lawsuits and subpoenas, then yes, hiring an attorney to assist would be a good idea.