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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118073
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Well its complicated Pearl. I am in a very partnership buy

Customer Question

Well its complicated Pearl. I am in a very nasty partnership buy out. The company is in North Dakota. I reside in MN. THey stole money from the company, stole domain names from my personal account. They have stopped paying me. Cut off all access to our cloud files. They turned my family me (based upon false information) and it impacted my marriage to the extent my divorce should be finalized today. It cost me $500,000.00 to settle with my wife. I have every email, skype chat, text and power points to prove my position. I am suing them for defamation of character in MN. I need to know the first step. I am retired military and just diagnosed with PTSD and Cancer. I am going to defend the case on my own.
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: MN
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I was going thru my friend of 52 years. My wife and I work at the same law firm When she filed for divorce the firm did it and no longer could work the case so it is mine now. I emailed their attorney and he is ignoring me. I requested to initialte the buy out late Sep and the partners did nothing about it. It escalted to me losing everything
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

First off, personal jurisdiction for filing a lawsuit is based on the place the DEFENDANTS reside, defendants must have connection to the state where suit is filed. See: International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945).. In this case, if they were in ND and made the false statements, you must sue them in ND to get personal jurisdiction over them. Personal jurisdiction is what gives a court the right to enforce any judgment against a party. In order to obtain personal jurisdiction, you need to show they have significant and meaningful connections with the state where they are being sued. So in order to sue them in MN, you have to prove these people have some significant and meaningful connection with MN, such as own property in MN or reside part of the year in MN, etc. If you can prove that then you can proceed in MN, if not you have to file your complaint in the ND court.

Furthermore, in addition to defamation, you still have rights to file suit against the company for them breaching the corporate agreements with you and for stealing money part of which would be your share.

If you are suffering with PTSD and also have health issues, you may want to reconsider representing yourself, because I have personally witnessed the stress from going a case pro se almost kill at least 2 eventual clients. This is not something you want to put on yourself, especially if you are still undergoing cancer treatments because there are court deadlines and most judges will not give you many delays because of treatments or you simply were not feeling well enough to submit pleadings on time.

However, the first step, once jurisdiction is established, is filing a "Complaint" or "Petition" (same thing, different terms). The Complaint lays out the parties, jurisdiction, basic facts and then specific causes of action in numbered paragraphs (one fact per numbered paragraph). These facts are very basic, not long detailed explanations. Here is a sample of a MN Defamation Complaint, just so you can see what it looks like:

Once you draft your complaint you file your complaint with the clerk of court and you then serve the defendants with a professional process server a copy of the suit and summons to answer, again why the suit has to be filed where they reside in order to get proper personal service on them they have to be in the forum state.

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