First, you can file in Arkansas small claims court. According to AR ST § 16-4-101
, Arkansas may exercise jurisdiction on a non-resident if he has engaged with a Arkansas resident for business. So just because he lives in Arizona does not mean that you have to file in Arizona; you may file in Arkansas. "In Arkansas Small Claims Court, you can sue to recover for damages to personal property, money owed, or for delivery of personal property which is worth $5,000 or less."
You have two or three causes of action here, of which you only have to prove one by a preponderance of the evidence to be successful:Breach of contract
. A person may be liable for breach of contract if the complaining party can prove the existence of an agreement, breach of the agreement, and resulting damages. Ultracuts Ltd. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 343 Ark. 224, 231-32, 33 S.W.3d 128, 133 (Ark. 2000)
- five elements: 1) a false representation
874*874 of a material fact; 2) knowledge or belief on the part of the person making the representation that the representation is false; 3) an intent to induce the other party to act or refrain from acting in reliance on the misrepresentation; 4) a justifiable reliance by the other party; and 5) resulting damages. Further, circumstantial evidence
can serve as a basis for the jury to infer fraud as it can serve as a basis to infer any other fact. Moore Ford Co. v. Smith, 270 Ark. 340, 604 S.W.2d 943 (1980).Money had and received
. The action for money had and received is founded upon the principle that no one ought unjustly to enrich himself at the expense of another, and it is maintainable in all cases where one person has received money or its equivalent under such circumstances that in equity and good conscience he ought not to retain it. Fite v. Fite, 345 SW 2d 362 - Ark: Supreme Court 1961; In Vol. 58 C.J.S. Money Received § 4, p. 913
Here is the link on a step by step on how to file:https://courts.arkansas.gov/documents/small_claims_info.pdf
Once/if you get judgment, you may register the judgment in Arizona to enforce it if he does not pay you.
However, very often, the threat of a lawsuit does the job without the need to even file. An attorney's "demand letter" will go a long way to show that you are serious, and will threaten to file suit unless this is resolved. Such a letter coming from an attorney's office carries much gravitas and is often effective. It is about $75 to $100 depending on the attorney in a case such as yours. The demand letter is not mandatory before filing suit, but is a good step to take. If it fails, you always have litigation
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