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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I am a freelance designer in Dallas. I did work last year for

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I am a freelance designer in Dallas. I did work last year for a company in California and did not receive my final payment. If I file a small claims case, can I file in Texas since the work was done here? Or do I need to file in California?

Possibly. You can sue the California company in Texas small claims court since they breached a contract with you where the work was performed in Texas. However, you must be able serve the California business with your legal papers within Texas borders. You can do this in basically in two ways. First, you should contact the Secretary of State of Texas to see if the California business is authorized to do business in Texas. And if so, they would have an registered agent for service of process registered with the Secretary, and you would serve that registered agent. Second, if the California business has some office or other physical presence in Texas, you can serve that office. A third possible, but less likely, way would be if an officer of the California business was in Texas, you could serve this officer while he/she was in Texas.

If you can't use one of these ways to serve the California business in Texas, then you would have to resort to the California small claims court. For additional reading see, Suing Out-of-State Defendants in Small Claims Court.

Good luck.

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