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FAQs - Details

Question

HOW DO YOU BEGIN A LAWSUIT?

Answer

The documents that comprise a lawsuit are called "pleadings". The Clerk's Office has standard "fill-in-the-blank" forms already prepared for certain types of lawsuits. The Clerk can provide you with a form, if appropriate, for your lawsuit. If the Clerk does not have the appropriate forms, it may be necessary for you to hire a lawyer to prepare the pleadings for you. THE CLERK'S OFFICE PERSONNEL CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR PREPARE PLEADINGS FOR YOU.

Details

Your pleadings must contain the following information:

    • The amount of money you are suing for;
    • The correct name and address for the defendant or defendants;
      • If a business is being sued, call the Corporation Division of the Louisiana Secretary of State at 225-925-4704 to find out is the business is incorporated or if it is simply using a "trade name" and is not incorporated.
      • If the business is incorporated, you should request the name and address of the Registered Agent for the corporation. That is the individual who will receive "service" or notice of the suit. You should also find out the address of the Registered Office of the corporation, as this is the corporation's "residence".
      • If the business is not incorporated, you must find the Name and Address of the Owner of the business, not the name of the business itself. The owner's name can sometimes be found on license or certificates posted in the place of business.
      • If you are suing someone as a result of an automobile accident and you do not know the owner of the vehicle causing the injury, the license number is helpful for determining the name and address of the owner. You can write Motor Vehicle Registration, 7701 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, Louisiana and request this information. There will be a $2.00 fee;
    • The reason why you believe the defendant owes you money; (ex: "Defendant negligently ran into my car on July 17th of this year, causing damage that he has refused to repair");
    • A demand that the Judge award you the amount sued for plus court costs and judicial interest. Attach copies of any contracts, leases, bills, receipts, canceled checks, etc., that support or prove your claim.

You will be asked to sign the pleadings and furnish your telephone number and address where you may be contacted during the pendency of the lawsuit. You must notify the Court of any changes as the Court may need to contact you on short notice.

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