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Old 03-22-2017, 06:28 AM   #1
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Oze's Flag is: Australia
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Default DuPage County Court: Aust. Co. vs. Aust. Co. for Work Conducted in Qatar

Dear Legal Junkies

I wonder if you could help, please.

I am the owner and only employee of a tiny business in Western Australia, Australia. I cannot afford an attorney in the USA and find myself in a strange and vulnerable situation!

I was contracted through my company by another Australian company (Hiring Company) for a 3-month contract to provide a service Qatar.

During the negotiation of the terms of the contract, the first 2 drafts of the contract referred to Australia as the governing law. However, in the 3rd draft, that we signed off on, the Hiring Company changed the governing law and slipped in the DuPage County IL USA, as the governing law authority, without advising me.

Anyway, I signed the contract in good faith, as I have been contracting for over 25 years without ever having experienced any situations, even remotely similar, to the situation that I find myself in today, with this Hiring Company.

After arriving in Qatar, I found myself conned by the owner of the Hiring Company, and realised that I was deceived to perform my services in Qatar illegally i.e. that Hiring Company didn't provide me with the correct visa to work legally in Qatar. Apparently, the Hiring Company's owner and his son were conducting their business and work in Qatar on/off for the past 4 years using visitor's visas, that they can obtain on arrival from the airport in Qatar, using their Australian passports.

Anyway, to cut the story short, as it is fairly long one, the Hiring Company terminated our contract abruptly and without notice 3 weeks prior to its expiry date, and without paying me the notice, as per our contract agreement.

I have been trying to recover my contractual entitlement from the Hiring Company to no avail, but I didn't give up. This Hiring Company based its decision on a contract clause that says: If they, or their clients, are not 'satisfied' with the service that I am offering, then they can terminate the contract without notice.

I have written references from the Hiring Company's client, as well as their client's client! Also, I have an email correspondence from the Hiring Company's owner, a week before the abrupt termination of the contract, confirming the end date as per the contract, as well as mentioning the possibility of extending the contract agreement beyond its expiry date - there was no mention of any 'dissatisfaction'.

As I didn't stop claiming my notice contractual entitlement from the Hiring Company, recently, they filed a civil claim against my company in DuPage County Court, IL, USA.

As I cannot afford to hire an attorney in the USA, I tried to file an Answer with the court by myself, but the Court's system does not cater for overseas addresses. I kept trying and the Supervisor for the Court Clerk kindly got an approval from her Supervisor to file my response and two of the attachments mentioned in my Answer.

As I understand, the judge didn't accept the plaintiff request that I defaulted, but there is another hearing on 27th March (not sure for what) but as I understand from a telephone contact with the Court's Deputy Clerk, there is an amended complaint lodged and another request to consider me as defaulted or didn't appear!

I am burdened by the thought of not having a fair chance to defend myself, being in Australia and not being able to afford an attorney in the USA. I have responded and provided a comprehensive answer, and I have not failed to take action for a Default to be just and true. Unfortunately, I was unable to file all the attachments referred to in my Answer. I am not sure what I can do!

I understand that you cannot give me a legal advice but any thoughts on this most welcome and appreciated.

Apologies for the long post, and thank you for your time...

All the best, and have a wonderful day.

Sad and burdened
a tiny business owner
from Perth WA Australia

Last edited by Oze; 03-22-2017 at 08:36 AM. Reason: correct spelling of the word Clerk
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: DuPage County Court: Aust. Co. vs. Aust. Co. for Work Conducted in Qatar

I wish to inform you that you may contest default status. In this you may send a reply stating that in absence of residence in USA you do not consent to its jurisdiction. Further you may file a motion to dismiss case on the ground that Illinois does not have jurisdiction as defendant does not reside and contract to work was in Qatar and thus US courts do not have jurisdiction. You may send documents through mail and also seek to file reply electronically. Lastly you may request that you should be allowed to appear through telephone or video conference. You may also seek relief from Australian court if other party intends to enforce any judgment in Australia that any judgement in which you do not get right to be represent should not be enforced against you.

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Old 03-23-2017, 05:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: DuPage County Court: Aust. Co. vs. Aust. Co. for Work Conducted in Qatar

Did they serve the lawsuit on your correctly?
if not is it is not valid.
Frankly it is not easy even if they win to come to Australia and enforce any judgment anyway.
-- And you can fight them here if and when they do come.
You could just not even respond to the US case.
Or do the very minimum yourself as you have done so far.
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Old 03-25-2017, 04:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: DuPage County Court: Aust. Co. vs. Aust. Co. for Work Conducted in Qatar

Many thanks Affa and Mack4!

The DuPage County Court Filing System does not accept overseas addresses. Last night, the Chief Clerk approved filing another document for me, that contains another two attachments referred to in my earlier Answer. However, it will be the last time that they would do this as they asked me to use the Clerk of the Circuit Court's address and telephone number to complete all mandatory fields on the i2File system, which should allow me to file documents myself.

It very difficult to understand why this Hiring Company is taking my Company to Court. They are only asking for a Judgement that they were within their rights to terminate the contract. The owner of the Hiring Company also must know that he will not be able to enforce the Judgement globally! He prefers to spend money in courts rather than paying my contractual entitlement for the notice!

And; no; we have not been served correctly. Please find below an extract from an email that was sent to the Hiring Company's Attorney cc the DuPage Bar Association, for which no reply was received: -

"* We would like to advise you, that we do not believe that <Company name removed>, Perth Western Australia, has been served in a proper and legal manner.

The documents that were left in <Company name removed> letter box were not enveloped. We do not believe that the documentation was delivered in full. We also believe that the person/entity that left the documents in the letter box is not an authorised agent by the laws of the land.

Could you please advise us, as to who was the person/entity that delivered the Court Case documents in <Company name removed> address in Australia? *"

Last edited by Oze; 03-25-2017 at 07:59 AM. Reason: <Company name removed>
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