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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 101731
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I need to file a small claim case against a website developer

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I need to file a small claim case against a website developer in Orange County, CA. Our damages are $10.400.00 for the price of the website that was never completed after 9 months and the programmers misrepresented their intentions and where their staff was located.

My question is, we are a LLC, however, on the site it states a business may not sue in small claims for $10,000.00 and can only go as high as $5,000.00 unless you are a sole prop. Is a LLC treated like a sole prop? If no, do we need to file a civil claim to at least try to get back at minimum our $10,000.00. At present we hired a different programmer, and we have evidence from our hosting company and from the programmers that they did improper programming that cannot be used.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation.

A solo proprietorship exists where there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business.

Is a LLC treated like a sole prop?

An LLC is a limited liability company. This is what it stands for. As such, it is by definition not a solo proprietorship because an LLC is a separate legal entity in the eyes of the law.

If no, do we need to file a civil claim to at least try to get back at minimum our $10,000.00.

You can, yes. However, this matter would then have to be filed in the Superior Court, which is a little bit more involved.

While an attorney is recommended to do this and is necessary actually, for an LLC, I can provide a quick overview.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

This sounds like a breach of contract. “A cause of action for breach of contract requires pleading of a contract, plaintiff's performance or excuse for failure to perform, defendant's breach and damage to plaintiff resulting therefrom. McKell v. Washington Mut., Inc., 142 Cal. App.4th 1457, 1489, 49 Cal.Rptr.3d 227, 253 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006).

A sample BREACH OF CONTRACT complaint may be found here.

May I recommend the CA Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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