Why You Should Know Your Business Defendant's Structure

So you can properly name it on the summons, mark the capacity notice, and reduce your chances of winding up with an unenforceable judgment or thrown out case.

Let's say your client is suing a construction business known as "Five Cool Guys," because that's what's painted on the side of their company truck. You file a summons and complaint naming Five Cool Guys as the defendant and tell a process server to give the documents to anybody at their office.

Haphazardly naming parties like this, and serving "anybody" at offices and even homes, doesn't become an issue when a business defendant answers and settles.

But if you win a judgment and the debtor still isn't paying, how will you enforce it if you're not sure how Five Cool Guys is structured or even properly named on your summons?

Is it a corporation or an LLC, or maybe a sole-proprietor? Is it owned by some other entity based out of state? Is it even structured at all? Is the name actually Five Cool Guys Construction Company or Five Cool Guys, Corp. or Five Cool Guys Construction Services LLC, or what?  

It's not uncommon for people to advertise and do business under the names of defunct corporations or expired fictitious business names, or no registration anywhere at all, with vague liability. If you haven't already, you may eventually have a judgment thrown out for suing an incorrectly identified party and/or improperly serving the original summons.

Or you might find yourself with an unenforceable judgment because the debtor's name doesn't match the name on any of the accounts and assets you might go after.

In order to properly name and mark the capacity notice on a summons for a business defendant, you must find out how that business is structured and exactly how they are named in their government registrations.