Suing Someone Who Moved Out of State
State courts, including small claims courts, can only litigate cases where the individuals involved are residing or are present in a specific state. However, sometimes the individual or business you want to sue may have moved to a different state or is located far from you.
Nonetheless, some circumstances allow you to sue an out-of-state defendant in your own state. These include if you can serve a non-resident defendant while they are still in your state, if the dispute happened in your state, if the case involves a vehicular accident that occurred in your state, or if the property is in your state although the owner is out-of-state.
These are just some of the many scenarios that may arise in your case. So in this article, we will explore the different actions you can take if you are suing someone who moved out of state. This includes using to go after someone who may have wronged you.
Considerations When Suing Someone Who Moved Out of State
Small claims court is a faster and easier way to settle a dispute that doesn’t require lots of investment. However, there are limitations to suing in small claims as each jurisdiction has a unique state of rules. Nonetheless, plaintiffs may choose one jurisdiction over the other because of convenience, a promising opinion about a legal matter, or others. Here are some things to consider when suing someone who is out of state:
|Jurisdiction||State courts typically have jurisdiction over a person or business in the state and may also have jurisdiction over an out-of-state person or business as long as they can be found.|
|Personal jurisdiction||This is acquired based on an individual’s residence or a business’s registered address. It is where a person lives or where a business transacts.|
|Subject matter jurisdiction||This is a court’s jurisdiction over a legal issue or dispute. For instance, small claims court is limited to claims with dollar amount damages of not more than $5,000 to $10,000.|
|Venue||This is the county where the case is filed. It can either be where the plaintiff resides, where the dispute happened, or where the contract was agreed upon.|
How to Sue Someone in a Different State?
Suing someone in a different state is common in civil proceedings. Some of these cases involve the defendant living interstate or their business address is interstate. If you intend to sue someone in a different state, here are some pointers:
- Consider jurisdiction when filing your case. Find out whether it’s applicable to file the claim in the defendant’s state or whether the case involves federal jurisdiction that needs to be filed in federal court.
- When writing your demand letter, it helps to include information on why you are suing from a different state. You may also need to include an interstate notice from the originating state.
- Make sure to use a personal servicing agent as this ensures that the documents are properly served.
Suing Out-of-State Defendants in Small Claims Court
Small claims courts are appointed to serve a specific county. Plaintiffs and defendants usually represent themselves and don’t require the services of a lawyer. Dollar amounts of damages are limited to a maximum and don't require people traveling somewhere far to show up to trial.
When deciding which small claims court to go to, you need to follow the venue rule. This means you can sue in the county where:
- The defendant resides,
- Where the incident happened, or
- Where the business makes transactions.
If you are suing someone who lives in a different state, you will then have to sue in the state where the defendant resides, and not where you reside. Usually, you may file the complaint by mail, although you will have to abide by that state’s regulations when serving the defendant.
How to Sue Anyone with DoNotPay?
Suing someone — in the same state or not — is straightforward in theory but not so much in practice. There are countless documents to draft, forms to fill up, and bureaucracies to overcome. Also, demand letters must include specific details and follow a specified template. If the forms are incorrectly or incompletely filled up, it may result in the judge dismissing your case.
Let DoNotPay do the work for you! Our robot lawyer will help you file a lawsuit without the hassle. All you have to do is:
- Log in to and select the Sue Now product
- Enter the dollar amount you are owed
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details, including photo proof
That’s it! DoNotPay will then generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you. We’ll also mail a copy of your demand letter to the individual you are suing!
Who Else Can DoNotPay Help Sue?
DoNotPay has a proven track record of helping users sue against anyone — from misbehaving co-workers to large corporations. Here are some of those of who we have helped sue:
- Insurance companies
- And so much more!