The party who files a claim is referred to as the "Plaintiff." The party who is sued is referred to as the "Defendant." A claim must designate the proper Plaintiff(s) and Defendant(s). The determination of the proper party will depend on whether the party is a person or a business and how that business is set up. Failure to name the proper parties may result in an unsatisfactory judgment.
Individuals - If the party is a person, you should designate that party by his or her legal name.
Minors - If the party is a minor (under the age of 18), the proper party depends upon whether the minor is the Plaintiff or the Defendant. A minor may not be a Plaintiff directly, but must be sued through the minor's parent or legal guardian. Example: "John Doe, a minor, by Joe Doe, next best friend." A minor may be sued directly or through the minor's parent or legal guardian.
Businesses - If the party is a business, you must name the proper legal entity. The proper legal entity is determined by how the business is set up. You can contact the Georgia Secretary of State at (404) 656-2817 to get information on a corporation. You can also check with the Cobb County Business License Office at (770) 528-8410 to find out who owns the business.
Sole Proprietorship - A sole proprietorship is a business owned by one person that is not in the form of a corporation. The person may or may not use a trade name in the operation of the business. In either case, the proper party is the individual owner. Example: "John Doe, individually and d/b/a John's Garage."
Partnership - A partnership is a business owned by two or more persons that is not in the form of a corporation. The proper parties are the actual partners. Example: "John Doe and Jane Doe, individually and d/b/a John's and Jane's Garage."
Corporation - A corporation is a legal entity separate and distinct from its owners. The proper party is the legal name of the corporation. Example: "John's Garage, Inc." You can obtain information on a corporation from the Georgia Secretary of State by calling (404) 656-2817. You should determine the correct legal name of the corporation, the County in which its registered office is located, and the name and address of the Registered Agent.