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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117379
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I am suing an LLC in the state of Illinois in small claims

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I am suing an LLC in the state of Illinois in small claims court. I am representing myself. Is the LLC required to use an attorney? Who can legally represent them besides an attorney?
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide excellent service.

An LLC, just as a corporation, may only be represented in court by a licensed attorney. The reason is that an LLC or corporation exists as a fictional "person" and only an attorney my represent another party in court.

I hope this is helpful.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I had read other information on another site that stated "a corporation may not appear as a plaintiff without an attorney, but may appear as a defendant through an officer, director,manager or supervisor. I am confused. This was posted by in an article titled "IL What is small claims court?" I have been in smal claims court before as a plaintiff and the defendant (which was a corporation) came without an attorney. The judge,however, told them they had to have an attorney to represent them and would not let them proceed in the case. At the time I did not know this. They ended up settling with me out of court. I assume because the cost to defend themselves would have been so much greater than the ost of the damages I was asking for.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Relist: Other. I am needing additional information in regard to my question and am not getting a reply. Why would there be 2 different answers to my original question? Which is correct?

Thank you for your question. Different contributor here.

An officer or member, etc. of a corporate entity MAY defend the corporation in a small claims action. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 282(b) states in full:

No corporation may appear as claimant, assignee, subrogee or counterclaimant in a small claims proceeding, unless represented by counsel. When the amount claimed does not exceed the jurisdictional limit for small claims, a corporation may defend as defendant any small claims proceeding in any court of this State through any officer, director, manager, department manager or supervisor of the corporation, as though such corporation were appearing in its proper person. For the purposes of this rule, the term ‘officer’ means the president, vice- president, registered agent or other person vested with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the corporation.

I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I stated in my original question that I was the plaintiff. I was confused because the judge did not allow the person to represent the company in an earlier suit. I assume it was because they did not meet the criteria for who could represent the LLC as the defendant. The LLC I am suing now has an agent. I was able to access this information on the Illinois Secretary of State site. I have been negotiating a settlement with the owner of the company. He does not believe his company is liable in my case. He states his offer to pay part of my claim is a good will gesture on his part to me as a customer. I do think his company is liable, since the damages occurred at one of his carwashes by his equipment. Can he negotiate with me? Is this even legal? He has offered me a partial payment of my claim if I will also sign a release form. Since I want to recover the full amount of my damages, I did not accept. Our negotiations have gone no further, so I am going to take it to small claims court. That being said, do I forward the summons to the agent and his address or the principal office, since these are two different locations. I want to be correct so I don't have to send it twice. Since the damages were under the amount of their insurance deductble, the insurance company will not pay the claim. They did not deny that the company was liable in my case. This was the owner's assessment. Any additional information regarding this case would be helpful.

Thank you for your response.

As a "Plaintiff" the company must be represented by an attorney, which is why I posted the law. As a defendant in small claims actions only the law above states an officer, director, manager etc (see underlined portion) can defend the suit. I do not know why the judge did not follow the above law, or perhaps as you said it was not one of the proper members stated in the law.

He can indeed negotiate a claim with anyone he wants, that is not representing them in court. You have to serve the summons on the registered agent for service in IL. You do not have to send it twice. If they caused damages and are not denying that, they are liable to pay you and if that amount is under the small claims jurisdiction, then he can send any one of those enumerated individuals to small claims to defend the suit and does not need an attorney.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The insurance company neither denied nor confirmed any liability. The owner stated that because the damage to my vehicle was not caused due the malfunctioning of his equipment that he was not liable. The guide rails at the car wash caused damage to my vehicle during the car wash process. The guide rail equipment has nothing built into them to prevent damage to the wheel if or when it comes in contact while driving into the bay area. My vehicle was purchased new in March, so needless to say I was very upset when the guide rail scraped the chrome cladding off the outer rim of my expensive wheels.The owner stated that the stationary guide rails are designed to help guide one into the bay. Since these guide rails are intended to help guide one's vehicle into the perimeters of the bay to prevent damage by the equipment during the wash cycle, they should not be causing damage to one's vehicle in the process. I believe his company is liable. I did not waive my rights when proceeding into the bay and believe I acted in a responsible manner. If a person ventures onto my property or into my home and sustains an injury my insurance company is held liable for damages. This is why I carry homeowner's insurance. Do you you think I have a valid claim? Did the owner's willingness to pay a portion of the claim and request that I sign a release form in some way constitute an admission of his liability?

Thank you for your response.

An offer to settle any claim, pursuant to the rules of evidence, cannot be introduced to prove liability for the incident. Thus, the mere fact he offered to settle is not proof he is liable for the damages. If you prove that his equipment was defective and caused the damages, that is what entitles you to recover.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do I have the burden of proving his equipment was defective? I believe it was not built in such a way to prevent damage and it definitely caused the damage.

Yes, you do have the burden of proving his equipment caused the damages, not that it was defective. If you prove it was defective, you can sue the manufacturer of the equipment as well as the owner of the business.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do you think I have solid claim to proceed with in proving his liabiliy/

From what you have stated above, yes, if his equipment caused the damage to your car, you have a good claim.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117379
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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