My Partner and I did a website in good faith for someone who gave us half payment with an American check (which needed to be changed) and then said said that our work is useless, even though the site was totally functional and we had worked many long and late hours in order to get it done within the time he wanted.
We had been willing to let things go and not demand full payment leaving the site intact and usable so that he would hopefully be satisfied.
He canceled the check for the half payment the day after we took it to the Change and got the money. We now have to pay an an extra $30 fine to the Change company.
He also changed the conditions of our work several times. First he he wanted a flat fee, then an hourly payment, then back to a flat fee.
Also he had approved the original design, saying he liked it, and then at the last minute, when the site was finished, he said it was no good. When we offered to make changes he only replied with insults and that we obviously couldn’t do the job.
It is hard to believe that such a person will is going to be reasonable and listen to a Beis Din.
Would it be proper in this case to take him to Small Claims Civil Court?
For purposes of the check that you have, you can go to the appropriate authorities and have the check redeemed. A person cannot cancel a check that was given in exchange for work done, and you have the right to redeem the check via the appropriate channels.
Concerning receiving the entire payment, you should nonetheless first try going through Beis Din. This means that Beis Din will issue a summons. If he repeatedly refuses to come to Beis Din, Beis Din will give permission to take him to court, at which stage you can go to the Small Claims Court to claim your dues.