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Corporations Need Not Have Attorney Represent Them in Small Claims Courts
Description The Kansas high court held that under the Small Claims Procedure Act, unlike in other courts, a corporation may be represented by an employee in small claims court; they need not hire an attorney to represent them in such courts.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Small Claims Court; Representation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Houser, an auto dealership, sued Tetreault in small claims court to recover unpaid repair charges of $172. The suit was filed by the company and was represented by its president. The small claims court dismissed the suit because the person representing Houser was not a licensed attorney. Houser appealed; the district court affirmed, concluding that corporations may appear in court in Kansas only when represented by an attorney. Houser appealed.
Decision Reversed. The Small Claims Procedure Act is a legislative response to a perceived need for a practical and economic way in which parties may litigate small claims simply, without the benefit or expense of an attorney. It was designed to foster simplicity of pleading and to provide a speedy trial of small claims. A corporation may appear in a small claims proceeding through a full-time employee or officer who is not a licensed attorney. The common law rule that requires a corporation to appear and be represented in courts only by attorneys may be modified by the legislature, as has been done for small claims courts.
Citation Babe Houser Motor Co., Inc. v. Tetreault, - P.3d -, 2000 WL 1838364 (Sup. Ct., Kan., 2000)

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