In August 2011 I was hired over email by a Photographer's Agent in London to work as a Photo Assistant for a British fashion photographer with an assignment in New York City. I had been hired by the same agent for the same photographer for a very similar job a year earlier. I am an American Citizen, the agent and photographer are British Citizens, and the work was performed in Manhattan. Photo assisting in my main vocation. The 2011 job took two days, went well, and I immediately invoiced the agent, as I had done the year prior. Despite polite reminders followed by firm demands, the agent still has not paid me. I have a long email trail in which he admits to owing me the money, but apparently he has run away from his business owing several people money.I am not sure I'll ever see the money, but I do want to have some officially registered record of his debt, which, given my modest income, is a significant sum of 700.00US.I have a long series of email correspondence with him, in which he consistently acknowledges the debt, and now I am trying to find out if I can make a claim with a small claims court, either in New York or in London. For contact information, I have only his former business address, a cell phone number that is still active, and an email address.In my research I've found that I can possibly file an N1 claim form in the UK, and I believe I found correct information that says I don't need to be a resident. But I have been unable to find out whether I need to be a British Citizen to do so.I'm also considering whether I can take him to Small Claims court in New York, at least in absentia because I don't think he'll show up.So my question is:Can I pursue this by filing a claim in either London or New York, or do I have any other legal/official options for pursuing this.
Country relating to Question: United Kingdom
State (if USA): New York
I have several pages of correspondence between us, I've tried calling the photographer, who said he's chasing the agent too, and I've asked a local contact in London to help me track him down, but he only found an office that the agent had already vacated, owing money for rent. After a two month gap in correspondence, I called him again several times a while ago and finally got him to respond to me by email, but then he has ignored subsequent follow-ups.
Hello, and thank you for contacting Just Answer.
This is really two questions that need to be split up, an attorney in the United States cannot provide information for the United Kingdom and vice versa for a barrister in the United Kingdom. I can speak to filing in the US, you would need to ask a seperate question in the UK Law section to discuss filing in the UK.
As for filing in New York, because the work over which the dispute occurred took place in New York, the New York State Court arguably would have sufficient jurisdiction for the small claims court to be used.
Under New York code of civil procedure section 302, personal jurisidiction is present where the "acts" of a particular issue took place. As that is what you are describing, there should be sufficient justification for the New York court to assert jurisdiction over the claim.
The New York Courts have published a pretty good guide to small claim courts at:
Thanks. I have sent similar inquiries to several British resources offering advice on such matters, but not a single one has answered my question about whether I need to be a citizen of the UK. I am really surprised it's so difficult for me to get an answer to the extremely basic question about who is allowed to file an N1 claim in the UK, which is just their equivalent of a small claims in the US.
You are welcome. I understand that trying to find information can be frustrating. Have you tried the UK Law section of this site? Asking a separate question in the UK law section may help. In any event, let me know if you require any further information. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer AT LEAST 3 out of 5, so that I can receive credit for my work.
Assuming I am able to file in the UK, would it be considered unorthodox or illegal for me to try pursuing the matter in both jurisdictions simultaneously?
That is a good question. Generally in the US, a rule "called res judicata" applies, which basically means that once an issue has been litigated and resolved somewhere, it cannot be litigated again (it is sort of a 2nd cousin to the double jeapordy rules found in criminal law). As such, it stands to reason that, if identical issues are being litigated elsewhere, a US Court may not be willing to re-litigate them here. It is not illegal, per se, but the court, if it is made aware that the issues are being litigated elsewhere, may dismiss the claim on the grounds of res judicata.
I hope this helps further, and let me know if you have any further questions. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer AT LEAST 3 out of 5 so that I can receive credit for my work.
OK, thanks. I'll finish and rate you now.
You are welcome, and good luck to you.
Licensed to practice law, I have experience in dealing with a wide variety of legal issues.
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