There are various courts in Georgia that deal with contract disputes, including the Superior Court of Georgia as well as small claims court. The jurisdiction is usually determined by the plaintiff bringing the lawsuit, although there are many limitations.
If you are dealing with a contractual disagreement, speak with a knowledgeable attorney at Sparks Law about your case. Our legal team is experienced in Georgia contract dispute litigation and could advise you on achieving a positive outcome.
There are several options for litigating contract disputes in the state, as a lawyer at our firm could explain. Difference factors will determine whether it is appropriate to bring a case to small claims court, state court, or federal court.
Small claims court is limited to $15,000 in total damages, including a reward for attorney’s fees. In these cases, the parties typically represent themselves, although many people have an attorney advising them behind the scenes.
A contract dispute may be litigated in federal court if the total amount sought is at least $75,000, or if the subject matter concerns federal law. For instance, a wire fraud case would be litigated in federal rather than state court. A local attorney experienced in litigating contract disputes could advise on when to bring a case to federal court.
Typically, the plaintiff must bring the lawsuit in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides. Proper jurisdiction for litigation is usually (but not always) included in the contract. A contract could state a different location for litigation even if the defendant does not reside there.
However, there are additional options if the defendant owns real estate property in another state from where they live. In these cases, the plaintiff may be able to sue against that asset through “in rem jurisdiction.” A Georgia contract litigation attorney at Sparks Law could further explain this concept.
In Georgia and throughout the United States, the default is for each party to pay for their own attorney’s fees and court costs, regardless of who wins the contract litigation case. A party only pays for the other side if the contract states that the victor in any dispute will cover the attorney’s fees and costs for both sides.
This is a common provision in contracts. If a contract contains this provision, and especially if the case was egregious, the court may award attorney’s fees. This is more likely in cases involving intentional fraud rather than breaches stemming from honest mistakes.
A contingency fee is when an attorney does not charge any legal fees unless they win the case. This is common in car accident cases, where plaintiffs typically have insurance. However, it is rare for lawyers to take cases on contingency in contract law, as parties to commercial contracts rarely have insurance policies to cover breaches. The experienced lawyers at our Georgia office could further explain the potential fees and liabilities involved in contract dispute litigation.
If you are involved in a contract-related lawsuit, it is crucial to get legal assistance at every stage of the litigation process. The attorneys at Sparks Law have extensive experienced with Georgia contract dispute litigation and could advise you on an effective strategy in your situation. Give us a call today to discuss your case and get the dedicated guidance you need.