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A small claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $5,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys' fees. However, you both would need to sue him together, if you are both on the contract and this stems from the same incident/breach of contract claim. If he owes you $10,000, you simply sue outside of small claims court and you can retain an attorney and if you prevail, ask to be awarded attorney fees. Once you sue him, you need to show and prove your claim. The burden would then shift to him to raise any defenses which he may have and would need to bring in documents and evidence to show what he is claiming.
While they may charge $10,000, if the court finds in your favor, you can have the contractor pay your attorney fees, so it will not be as if you are paying more to sue then you can recover. Small claims court is set up for you to represent yourself and if you want to use it, can simply sue for the $5000 limit.
Yes, it would and you should sue him in circuit court and go after him for EVERYTHING he owes AND damages suffered, as a result along with attorney fees and costs. There is nothing wrong with cashing the $2200, as it was part of an attempt to pay you back and in no way a form of settlement.
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