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Small claims filing vs higher court. Are my options limited based on finances?

Mountain View, CA |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

I am in the midst of filing a small claims proceeding with Elance, inc for breach of contract for a contract signed under duress and several torts committed by the defendant for the amount of $9,000 in actual and punitive damages. I was wondering first if it would be worth hiring a lawyer for filing in higher court for the case. I live in SC and have already made the necessary arrangements for travel in the event of a small claims case but if this was worth filing in a higher court I would rather go this route. As the actions outlined in the suit have effectively cut my business profits I'd only be able to afford a lawyer based on contingency.

Attorney Answers 3


Fortunately, I believe your options are limited to small claims court where you can file an action for up to $10,000 and proceed within a short time. If you feel the value of your case is worth $9000 it probably would not be possible to find an experienced lawyer based upon this low value of the case. Also the attorney fees would seriously erode into the net you would receive into your pocket. You may want to see if your contract has a provision for the prevailing party to receive attorney fees and costs.

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You need to call a CA lawyer and have a more detailed (and confidential) discussion.

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I figured as much but was looking through Avvo and never really had to do this before so I guess I'll have to make time for this today and take in account the 3 hour difference.


Wherean dhow you file (with or without an attorney) depend on a couple of factors, i.e. how much you ae suing for and whether or not you can afford increased filing fees and attorney fees. Good luck.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.

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