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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    2

    Default Can You Sue a Foreign Client in the U.S. if the Owner Moves to a U.S. State

    My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Louisiana

    I'm a web developer who previously worked for a Canadian tech startup and am still owed $8k of a $10k invoice. I'm wondering what is my best recourse for collecting on that debt?

    A little back story ... this is a "friend" I've known for a number of years. I went to work for him 4 years prior to being laid off. In early Sept 2015 he hinted that payments might begin trickling for a while due to money issues on his end. Two months later (Oct 31) I was officially laid off, but was told those 2 months of invoices would be paid. Naturally as a friend I took him at his word and was patient. I've asked him about it every few months since and of course I just get fed excuses.

    I recently learned that he has taken up residence in the US again (San Francisco) so it should be easier then tracking him down in Canada. Still all I can speculate on his location is the work address he has listed on his LinkedIn profile. I have no idea where his residence is. Furthermore I live in Louisiana so its far from convenient.

    I guess I just have a few questions if anyone can help. Can I sue him remotely (via a lawyer) without traveling to SF? Is the cost of hiring a lawyer, potentially hiring a P.I. to find and serve him, and/or traveling costs make this cost prohibitive? Is there any jurisdiction/statute of limitations issue I'm not considering?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,862

    Default Re: Unpaid Invoice

    Quote Quoting unpaid773
    View Post
    Can I sue him remotely (via a lawyer) without traveling to SF?
    You can file your lawsuit long distance but to pursue it you have to appear in court to testify because EVERY participant in a lawsuit has an absolute right to face and question his opponent. If you aren't willing and able to do that, then don't bother.

    Quote Quoting unpaid773
    View Post
    Is the cost of hiring a lawyer, potentially hiring a P.I. to find and serve him, and/or traveling costs make this cost prohibitive?
    1 - Hiring a lawyer - In the American legal system you pay your own attorney fees unless you have a written contract that specifies that loser pays winner's attorney fees.

    2 - PI cost - No.

    3 - Travel cost - No.

    4 - Filing and process service fees - Yes.

    You'd be better off suing him in small claims court without a lawyer. CA limit is $10,000 so your biggest cost would be travel.



    Quote Quoting unpaid773
    View Post
    Is there any jurisdiction/statute of limitations issue I'm not considering?
    It's only been a year and a half or so since the default so you are well within any applicable statute of limitations. However, if you had no written contract you have 2 years from the default to sue in CA.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Unpaid Invoice

    If the Canadian company was incorporated, then it is a separate entity from its founder and your remedy is to pursue compensation in Canada.

    Your language also mixes the concept of being an independent contractor with that of being an employee.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Unpaid Invoice

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If the Canadian company was incorporated, then it is a separate entity from its founder and your remedy is to pursue compensation in Canada.

    Your language also mixes the concept of being an independent contractor with that of being an employee.
    Sorry I should have clarified, yes I was an independent contractor. To be honest Im not sure if the business was ever incorporated in Canada or anywhere for that matter. I guess that should be my next step to see it was.

    Thanks for the responses, it helped clarify things a bit.

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