Understanding Your Case’s Jurisdiction

court jurisdiction Jurisdiction gives a court the right to make legal decisions and judgments for a given case. If there was no jurisdiction then someone living in Texas could go sue another Texan from a court in Montana. Jurisdiction sets boundaries on what cases a court can get involved in. There are two types of courts that can hear your case: State Courts and Federal Courts. You need to know who has jurisdiction in your court so that your case is not dismissed for this simple but integral step of a lawsuit.

There Are Two Types Of Jurisdiction

Since there are two types of courts, you’ve also got two types of jurisdictions:

    • Personal Jurisdiction—This is the court’s jurisdiction over the parties involved in a case and usually gives jurisdiction to the State Courts.
    • Subject-matter Jurisdiction—This is the court’s jurisdiction over the type of case (subject matter). Subject-matter usually gives jurisdiction to the Federal courts.

Personal Jurisdiction

State Courts Have Jurisdiction In Four Instances:

1. The universal and simple rule of state courts is their jurisdiction over all citizens and businesses that live or work in their state due to personal jurisdiction. If a case involves two citizens of the same state and does not involve a federal law (which would then be governed by subject matter jurisdiction), then it will be in the state court’s jurisdiction.
2. A non-citizen can be sued by the state courts if he or she is delivered the court documents while physically in the state. This means that if you are suing someone who lives out of state, but they are going to be in the state during a certain period of time, you can serve them the court documents while they are still in the state and they are required to be there because the state court has jurisdiction.
3. Motorist statutes give state courts jurisdiction when a non-citizen causes a car wreck and is being sued for damages and expenses. If you get hit by a driver who is travelling through the state, then you can sue them in your state court.
4. If the defendant is a non-citizen and has some contact or activity within the state, a state court can decide if it is “fair” to file suit against them and then has jurisdiction. However, if the case involves more than $75,000 in damages, then it’s federal court jurisdiction. This will normally happen in a few common instances when the defendant is:

      • a business with a headquarters in another state that maintains a branch, office, or sends mail order catalogs to a state where the suit is filed
      • an individual who is a citizen of another state solicits business by phone calls to customers or publishes advertisement in the state
      • an internet service provider that is a citizen of another state but does business with paid subscribers in the state the suit is filed

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

A Federal Court Has Jurisdiction In Two Instances:

1. If the case is filed under a federal law, then it has jurisdiction in a federal court due to subject matter jurisdiction. This includes if you are suing someone who has breached a constitutional right like the Civil Rights Act, voting rights, antitrust laws, or the right to free speech. If you are wanting to sue someone based on a federal law, then you have to sue them in a federal court.
2. Cases filed between two parties of divers citizenship with damages over $75,000 are filed in a federal court. If you lived in Texas and filed suit against a corporation in California for damages exceeding $75,000, then you would have to file the suit in the appropriate federal court because they have jurisdiction regardless of subject matter. This exists so that someone living in Texas cannot sue someone from California and have the “home court” advantage.

Determining jurisdiction can sometimes be complicated. You need to talk with a lawyer and make sure your case is being handled correctly. <a href=”http://www.personalinjurylawyeraustintx.com”> Call us today and set up a free consultation to make sure you are in the best hands possible.