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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10215
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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Hired a franchise in NY to clean up my house after a fire.

Customer Question

Hired a franchise in NY to clean up my house after a fire. Work terrible and they stole items. Corporate office in Conn.? Who do I sue and where?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.
Dear Customer,I am sorry to learn of this situation.In general, the defendant is going to be the specific franchise that you hired (so the company in Conn. that actually performed the work).You can go ahead and name the corporation as well, and have them served with a copy of the complaint (use the NY State Secretary of State's website to find their "Agent for Service of Process" to have your complaint served there), but I would expect that they will likely file what is called a "demurrer" or a "motion to strike" your complaint, so you are going to have to be prepared to do a fair amount of legal research and argument early on to show why the corporate entity is liable to you for the actions of the franchisee. (I am not telling you that they are not liable, just advising you to be prepared well in advance).You can sue both parties in the same action in Connecticut (the court will have jurisdiction there as that is where the injuries (property damage and theft) occurred).In addition to naming the business/corporate defendants, you can also name the individual defendants (the employees who stole your items in particular), if you wish. This is a strategic consideration on your part, having more defendants in your case means more to manage for you, but it does give you more defendants to ultimately collect from (assuming they have assets you can pursue).(In addition to your civil complaint, you can also file a police report for the stolen items - law enforcement cannot help you with the terrible work, but they can at least take a police report and possibly investigate the thefts).
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
William B. Esq. Thank you for your response. However, I clearly did not explain the situation as clearly as I might have.
Fire, inferior work and theft occurred in NY where franchise is located. Corporate office is in Conn. Do I need an attorney admitted to practice in both states? I agree suing corporate office as well as franchise is good idea as corporate would have the "deep pockets".
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.
My mistake.The answer is the same, but the states are reversed (use the Sec. of State directory for the state where the entity is located to get the information for service of process).You can sue in NY (where the damage was).You can try to sue the Franchisor (the parent corporation) but the same issues I identified above are going to arise (almost immediately after you sue them - so be prepared.Depending on the amount of damages, you are going to want to consider hiring an attorney to represent you (I'm not sure how deep the pockets are you are looking for - but if you are planning on suing for a large amount of money, having an attorney on your side is usually a good investment - a lawyer does not give you any additional legal rights, but they do help you leverage those rights more fully, such as ensuring you do not miss statutory deadlines, being able to respond to motions and pleadings more quickly and helping you plan out an overall strategy (seeing a strategy three to four steps down the road).

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