I am in Maryland. My customer is in Maine. My customer sent a deposit for me to create a product and signed an electronic contract. I never left Maryland, and my customer never left Maine. It took considerable time and expense to create it. Before I sent the product, I sent multiple invoices. They are now ignoring me. I would like to recover the amount of $300. Can I sue them in my local district court, or must I sue them in Maine?
1 Answer from Attorneys
A person who transacts business in MD is subject to its jurisdiction. The question is whether an out of state customer contacts you to perform a service or create a product in MD and sends partial payment to you, albeit from out of state, can be held to have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of a MD court by doing so. In today's economy, where you might have a customer base from anywhere, I think a court would uphold MD jurisdiction. But here's a practical problem--you will probably get a default judgment against them here, but to collect it you may have to enroll your judgment in ME to proceed against their assets (bank account, etc.). If you happen to know they bank at an interstate bank and perhaps their acct # if they paid you the deposit by check and you kept a copy, you might attempt to serve a bank attachment on a MD branch of their bank using the MD judgment, but if they object on jurisdictional grounds the bank might back up their customer. So you have to ask yourself is all of this worth $300 to collect.
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