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Q: Small Claims Court Jurisdiction ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: kuralowicz109-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 24 Aug 2006 08:00 PDT
Expires: 23 Sep 2006 08:00 PDT
Question ID: 759085
I recently received a summons from the Salt Lake City Utah small
claims court. I do not live in the State of Utah nor have a business
there or physically have done any business there.  The party involved
rented my vacation home not located in Utah or my home state. The
found my rental information on the Internet and the rental contract
was sent to them via email and faxed back to me.   It clearly states
on my rental agreement the contract is not executed until it is
received back to us.  The party is trying to collect the money they
paid for their rental and airline tickets ($6000) stating that we miss
represented the house even though they stayed the entire length of
time the rented the home. I feel we gave them accurate descriptions to
the best of our ability. My question is does Utah even have
Jurisdiction here? I don't live in their jurisdiction, but can it be
considered that I did business there because they found us on the
internet or that I emailed them the contract?  I don't see myself
traveling there to plead my case.  If they did win, would they be able
to collect seeing I don't have any holdings in their state? Any advice
would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
Subject: Re: Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 24 Aug 2006 10:10 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear kuralowicz109-ga;

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. As you
will note from our disclaimer we cannot offer legal advice in this
forum. What we can do however is point out published information
concerning the subject of your question. As with all questions of a
legal nature you should contact an attorney for best results. With
that out of the way let me show you what is published and tell you
what I believe based on my research:

Utah Code 78-6-1, which governs actions of Utah Small Claims Court,
defines a small claims action this way (capitalization is mine for
emphasis sake):

?A small claims action is a civil action for the recovery of money
where the amount claimed does not exceed $7,500 including attorney
fees but exclusive of court costs and interest; AND the defendant
RESIDES or the action of indebtedness was INCURRED WITHIN THE
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT in which the action is to be maintained??

In my unlicensed opinion this clearly states that matters outside the
jurisdiction of the Utah court are outside the scope of its authority.
It can theoretically be argued though that the contract was received
and agreed to WITHIN the jurisdiction of the court, thus making the
matter a jurisdictionally governed matter. On the other hand, it could
also be theoretically argued that even though the contract was
received and agreed to within the state of Utah, it was not only
solicited OUTSIDE the jurisdiction of the court, but was received BY
YOU outside the court?s jurisdiction. If this argument has any merit
it could be further argued that your RECEIPT and subsequent
finalization of the contract (along with any exchange or promise of
exchange of interest, if any), which (as I see it) is essentially the
magic point at which the contract became binding, took place outside
the court?s jurisdiction.

In short, there is a viable argument on both sides and it will be up
to the court to decide if it has jurisdiction or not.

Can the plaintiff collect, if the decision turns in his favor? It
certainly seems so. In civil cases if someone does not pay an award
the court can garnish wages, motion for the withholding of any income
tax refund and other means of recovering moneys.

Rule 69A of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure allows for the seizure
of personal or real property and Rule 69B allows for the sale of said
property to satisfy a judgment.


Whether or not this Rule is applicable to you, living in an
out-of-state jurisdiction, is a matter for the court in your home
state to decide. But rest assured, Utah does not need your home
state?s authority to garnish wages, to attach your tax return or to
cause a substantially derogatory record to be placed on your credit.

The bottom line here is that you definitely need an attorney to advise
you and possible represent you in this matter. If you do not appear or
arrange through the court to have an attorney appear in your behalf
(assuming they will allow that) you will lose the case by default and
basically whatever the plaintiff is asking for will likely be granted.
I am of the opinion that the Utah court has no jurisdiction and the
judge may dismiss the case once the facts are heard. However, I am not
inclined to guarantee this because no one can accurately predict
exactly what a judge will do in any given case (though I have been
disagreed with on this point, my own 25+ years in the legal system
convinces me otherwise).

As I stated, we cannot give legal advice in this forum and what I have
shown you is a matter of published law. If I were you I?d hustle down
to a lawyer and try to protect myself or, at the very least, attempt
to negotiate a lesser settlement rather than burden yourself
unnecessarily and possibly end up with a derogatory judgment on your
credit rating.

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher


Defined above



Google ://



Small claims






kuralowicz109-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you for your help.  You answer was complete and you took the
time to look at all angles of the situation.  Thanks again.

Subject: Re: Small Claims Court Jurisdiction
From: kemlo-ga on 24 Aug 2006 09:13 PDT
what other states are involved?
ie Where do you live 
where is the rental property

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