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I am a supplier who needs to file small claims against a contractor, do I file per project or one lump sum?

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We had a customer who for a few projects we did not file Prelim Notices and now they are refusing to pay, I also know that they have several General Contractors, Suppliers and Owners who are filing suits against them. We would like to file a small claims against them and am wondering if I file per project or do I just one case for a lump sum. The amount still owed to us is well over the $5,000 limit in CA, but anything is better than nothing.

1 reply

Nov 8, 2018
I'm sorry to hear you've gone unpaid - everyone deserves to be paid for the work that they do. First, it's worth noting that even when lien rights might not be available, sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien on unpaid jobs could be helpful in compelling payment. The document acts as a lien warning - stating that is payment isn't made and made fast, a mechanics lien will be filed on the project. Sending a Notice of Intent to Lien to all parties up the chain (beyond just a customer) can both help put pressure on a customer to make payment and potentially open the door for other up-the-chain parties to potentially pay the claim. You can learn more about that potential option here: What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien and Should You Send One? Further, sending a demand letter for amounts owed that threatens legal action could be helpful too. Regarding small claims court, a claim could likely be brought for all business debts owed and unpaid between the parties - but as you'd mentioned above, those will be limited to $5,000. Note, though, that individuals or sole proprietors can file claims up to $10,000.
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