Oklahoma City, OK asked in Contracts and Civil Litigation for Oklahoma

Q: Do we need a lawyer to collect on $11,000 promissory note? It is from an LLC and personally guaranteed by members

There are 2 members and it was due Sept. 29, 2023. Could we just file in small claims courts against each of them?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony Jackson
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A: You might need a lawyer; however, there could be other options depending on your particular facts. A lawyer who bills by the hour might take on your case. If the lawyer can send a letter and get payment or obtain and enforce a judgment without spending a lot of time on your case, hiring an hourly lawyer might be a good option. But particularly if this is something that has to be litigated, hiring such a lawyer may be cost-prohibitive since it often costs far more than $11,000 to litigate a case. While the benefits of having an attorney are usually well worth the costs, the amount here at issue might not justify those costs, and you might not be able to find an attorney to take the case with that amount at issue.

As you inquired, another option you could consider is small claims court. I don't practice in Oklahoma, but the Oklahoma State Bar website indicates you can bring a small claims court case for amounts up to $10,000. The website also indicates that "An individual may be self-represented in small claims; a company may be represented by an officer or full-time employee." Thus, you could potentially save the cost of hiring an attorney or bring the case to small claims court even if you cannot find an attorney to take your case.

Also, while you might not be able to recover the entire $11,000 amount in small claims court, you would almost certainly spend more than $1,000 on a lawyer, so you could still come out ahead even though you cannot recover the entire $11,000 amount.

Please keep in mind that the language in your specific contract could have an attorney fee provision, arbitration clause, or other provision that could completely change this response. Also, keep in mind that I do not know any of the particular details of your case. Therefore, please do not treat this answer as legal advice specific to you or your case.

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