Legal Question in Business Law in California

Can I be sued in the State of California by a Mexican corporation? It is a very tricky case, where they cost my business hundreds of thousands of dollars in business by failing to delivery in a timely manner the goods as promised. They delivered 7 months late- I did not pay for those goods. I did pay a roughly 50% deposit up front. There is no contract on either end. I received a letter with intent to sue from a California attorney for the Mexican corporation.

Asked on 7/16/13, 6:24 pm

6 Answers from Attorneys

Joel Selik

If you are in California, yes.

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Answered on 7/16/13, 7:32 pm

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Yes, a party can be sued in California if jurisdiction in California is proper, and when the suit is to be based upon (alleged) breach of contract, California jurisdiction is proper if the defendant resides here, does business here, is headquartered (incorporated) here, or if a substantial part of the contract was to be performed here. This can be modified by a term in the contract, stating that jurisdiction shall be elsewhere, e.g. Arizona or Mexico. Sounds to me as though California is where you should want the suit to be...can you imagine defending in a Mexican court?

When you say "there is no contract," I'm sure you mean no written contract. Instead, you probably have an oral contract, or maybe only an implied contract......but the absence of a written, signed document does not in any way mean there's no contract between the parties. Also, courts can sometimes find an adequate writing to cobble together a "written contract" based upon the parties' correspondence, e-mails, written negotiations, etc. etc. However, the absence of a formal written agreement does suggest one possible avenue of defense that should be explored, since the Uniform Commercial Code does require some form of written agreement for deals exceeding a certain dollar threshold....the so-called "statute of frauds."

Actually, it's a bit difficult to envision an international purchase transaction in which one party loses hundreds of thousands of dollars because of late or partial delivery, where there would not be a bunch of correspondence back and forth. The terms of a contract would probably be sufficiently shown by the correspondence, etc. introduced as evidence so a court could find an enforceable agreement in these writings.

All in all, the possibility of a suit seems high here, and either side could prevail, depending upon quality of their legal assistance and other factors not known from the brief facts given.

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Answered on 7/16/13, 9:26 pm
John Laurie Gertz and Laurie

Yes you can as u see above. If you are looking for someone to represent you fee free to call me for a consultation 818 345-0123

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Answered on 7/16/13, 10:32 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

CAN you be sued? Of course. Anybody can sue anybody anytime.

The proper question is whether there is a valid defense, and whether there is proper jurisdiction in that court, both of which you can contest by appropriate motions if necessary. Hire an attorney to do so, or try to resolve the problem without litigation. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 7/17/13, 12:31 am
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Yes. Would you rather be sued in Mexico? You would have a harder time protecting your interests there, but a Mexican judgment can be enforced in California. Be glad the case will be heard in here instead.

Your claim that there is no contract is hard to believe. Perhaps there is no signed, formal written agreement, but there are other ways to make contracts. As Mr. Whipple explained, that very likely happened here.

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Answered on 7/17/13, 12:47 pm
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

Jurisdictional questions are always analyzed with respect to the defendant, not the plaintiff.

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Answered on 7/17/13, 1:42 pm

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