If you’re suing a company, you’ll need to figure out what kind of company it is first. There are three primary sorts of companies: A corporation; a limited partnership; a sole proprietorship or partnership.
Filing a personal injury case against a sole proprietorship or partnership
To sue a sole owner, you must bring a lawsuit against the individual who runs the business, regardless of the name he or she uses. Let’s imagine John Smith starts a dry cleaning company called “John’s Dry Cleaning.” Because John Smith owns the company, you would file a lawsuit against him. “John Smith dba (doing business as) John’s Dry Cleaning” would be your defendant.
If you want to sue a partnership, you’ll need the names of the partners. Each partner is legally responsible for the partnership’s duties, thus each partner would be listed in your case.
To locate a sole proprietorship or partnership, follow these steps:
- The office of the county clerk/recorder
A list of false business name assertions is kept by the county clerk or recorder’s office. The name of the company is the fictional business name. In this case, “John’s Dry Cleaning” is a fictional business name for John Smith’s company.
The fictitious business statement includes the names and addresses of business owners who operate under a name other than their own. The county clerk’s office or the city clerk’s office can provide you with the names and addresses of the property owners.
- Find the webpage of your county clerk/recorder
Look for the “fictitious business name statement” of the company. The address and phone number of your county and city clerks’ offices can also be found in your phone book’s government pages.
The office of the city clerk
Most people licensed to do business in a city have their names and addresses kept on file by the city clerk’s office (tax and permit division). The city clerk’s office address and phone number can be found in the government pages of your phone book.
Taking legal action against a corporation
When you prosecute a corporation, you do it using the legal name of the company. A corporation is a legal body in its own right.
For service of process, the California Secretary of State keeps a database of the names and addresses of corporate executives and their agents (court papers). Your lawsuit might be served on an agent for service of process or a corporate officer.
Go to the California Secretary of State’s Business Search portal to access this information.
You can also write a letter to the Secretary of State requesting the most recent “Statement of Officers” on file. These written requests are subject to a modest cost. Send your written request along with a cheque or money order for the appropriate amount payment to the Secretary of State (call them to find out how much it is). For the return of your information, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Filing a case against a limited partnership
This information is available through the California Secretary of State’s Business Search portal, in the same manner as it is for companies.
- Contact the Secretary of State’s Office of Business Entities.
- Inform them of the company’s name.
Request the following details:
The limited partnership’s full name and address; the general or managing partner’s full name and address; and the agent for service of process’s full name and address.
As you can see, the process can be difficult. This is why we recommend you contact the offices of an Evansville injury law firm as soon as possible to help.