Although a court of a particular federal district may have jurisdiction ratione materiae to decide the merits of the dispute and have personal jurisdiction over the parties to the dispute, it may nevertheless decide not to hear the case because it is not the appropriate place of jurisdiction. Determining the right place is an exercise in geography. Some states, such as Nebraska, have only one federal district, which would serve as the place of jurisdiction in all federal matters brought into the state, while other states, such as California, may have up to four federal districts, each of which may be an appropriate location, depending on the facts of a federal case.  The purpose of the Federal Courts Jurisdiction Act is to protect the defendant from the risk that a plaintiff will choose an inconvenient or even arbitrary district to prosecute.  It provides that civil jurisdiction is appropriate in the following cases: More than one court may have jurisdiction in a particular case. The forum and the competent court are separate concepts. Just because a plaintiff files a case at the appropriate place of jurisdiction does not mean that the court has jurisdiction over the parties or the subject-matter, and vice versa. Point (f). Pub. L. 89-714, § 2, repealed paragraph (f) which allowed a civil action to be brought for tort arising out of the manufacture, assembly, repair, possession, maintenance, use or operation of an automobile in the judicial district where the alleged act or omission was committed.
These provisions are now set out in points (a) and (b) of this Section. 2. a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim or a substantial part of the property that is the subject of the action occurred; or 2011 – paragraphs (a) to (d). L. 112-63, § 202, paragraph 1, added points (a) to (d) and deleted former paragraphs (a) to (d), which refer to jurisdiction where jurisdiction is based solely on diversity of citizenship, where jurisdiction is not based solely on diversity of citizenship, where a defendant is a company and where an alien is prosecuted. 1988 — point (c). L. 100-702 amended paragraph (c) in general. Prior to the amendment, paragraph (c) read: „A corporation may be prosecuted in any judicial district in which it is constituted or licensed to do business or carry on business, and that judicial district shall be deemed to be the domicile of that corporation for the purposes of jurisdiction.“ Paragraph (d) of this article is added to legally recognize the weight of authority with respect to a choice of court rule where there has been an acute conflict between judgments. (See Sandusky Foundry & Machine Co.
v. DeLavand, 1918, D.C.Ohio, 251 F. 631, 632, and the cases cited. See also Keating v. Pennsylvania Co., 1917, D.C.Ohio, 245 F. 155 and cited cases.) (3) If there is no district in which an action under this section may otherwise be brought, any judicial district in which a defendant is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the court for such an action. Subparagraph (e). L. 101–650, § 311(3), replaced „(2) a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim, or a substantial part of the property that is the subject of the action, or (3)“ with „or (2) the cause of action arose or (3) property involved in the action is located, or (4).“ Note: You cannot sue the federal government in state court. You can only sue the federal government or a federal agency in federal court.
How do courts treat the concept of `substantial part` within the meaning of point (b)(2)? In determining where a „substantial portion“ of the claim occurred, courts consider not only the single triggering event that triggered the claim, but also the entire sequence of events underlying the claim.  In Henderson v. Laser Spine Inst. LLC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine ruled that this was the right place for litigation involving fraud, negligence, and wilful infliction of emotional distress. The court investigated how the defendant company had years of contact with the plaintiff in the state of Maine before filing a lawsuit and concluded that it was sufficient contact with Maine, even though some of the alleged acts had taken place elsewhere.  Richard Broude, a well-respected bankruptcy lawyer, once wrote, „Competence is a matter of power; The place is about the location.  It may be a bit simplistic, but determining the right place of jurisdiction is just as important as determining the jurisdiction of a court. A case filed in an inappropriate jurisdiction may be dismissed or transferred.
Sometimes the parties to a lawsuit sue each other in different countries, with each party hoping to be the plaintiff and choose the place of jurisdiction. This phenomenon is often referred to as the „courthouse race.“ Generally, the person who files first will win the battle for jurisdiction between two Texas counties under the doctrine of dominant jurisdiction. This doctrine provides that the first court exercising jurisdiction over the case takes precedence over the second. The second court will generally dismiss, transfer or suspend the case filed in its district so that the first court can proceed with the resolution of the dispute. If neither section 1391(b)(1) nor section 1391(b)(2) is satisfied, the recidivism provision, section 1391(b)(3), comes into force and the courts determine the appropriate place in each judicial district where a defendant is under his or her personal jurisdiction.  A plaintiff will generally rely on this provision to satisfy his or her jurisdiction if the defendants are domiciled in different districts, if the defendant is not domiciled in the United States, or if the events giving rise to the civil action occurred outside the United States. The courts strictly enforce section 1391(b)(3), which means that the plaintiff must always prove that there is personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a particular district. This ensures that a plaintiff brings his claim in the district that makes the most sense to the defendant. You can sue in a state where a defendant does not reside or do business if you serve the subpoena and claim on them while they are in that state. (This is called beacon jurisdiction and applies even if the defendant is only in the state for a short period of time.) States also provide that a plaintiff may bring an action for personal injury against any defendant who caused a motor vehicle accident in that State. While personal jurisdiction involves the location of the court, subject matter jurisdiction involves choosing between federal and state courts. Most lawsuits are filed in state courts, unless the case involves a question of federal law.
Federal jurisdiction may arise in patent infringement cases, civil rights cases, federal tax cases, and other areas that the federal government regulates extensively. It is often said that the plaintiff has a choice of jurisdiction. Of course, this simple statement is not entirely correct. Although the applicant may bring his or her application in any court where the location is appropriate, other considerations may lead to the dismissal or transfer of the application to another court. As a general rule, the Texas State Court considers the venue to be appropriate „(1) in the county in which all or a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred; 2. in the district where the defendant was born at the time of the domicile of the cause of action, if the defendant is a natural person; (3) in the jurisdiction of the defendant`s principal place of business in that State, if the defendant is not a natural person; or (4) if subsections (1), (2) and (3) do not apply, in the district where the plaintiff resided at the time the cause of action arose. & Rem. Code § 15.002. There is not necessarily a single jurisdiction in which a plaintiff can sue.
A plaintiff may, in general, bring an action in any judicial district in which the defendant resides or carries on business, or in any district where the events giving rise to the action occurred. For example, a car accident victim could sue in the county where the accident occurred, or a small business could sue another company for breach of contract in the county where the owners of the companies signed the contract. Sometimes a defendant will object to the plaintiff`s choice of location if it is far from his location. While the jurisdiction tells you in which state and court you file your claim, the „place“ is the county in which you file your claim. As a general rule, the place of jurisdiction is in the county where: The legal authority of each court to hear and decide a case is limited. In order for a court to decide a case, it must have jurisdiction. Before you sue, you need to know which court has: If none of these situations apply, a plaintiff may need to prove that the defendant has minimal contact with the state in which he or she is being sued. This standard is vague, but essentially the judge must declare that it is fair for the court to have jurisdiction over the defendant because of his activity in the state. If a business applies for stores in a state, maintains a physical location in a state, or accepts online orders from customers in a state, that requirement is likely met. A judge is more likely to find that jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant is equitable if the defendant`s contacts with the state relate to the basis of the claim.
The types of cases discussed on this website are almost all cases that you can file with your superior court, as it has jurisdiction ratione materiae. Before you sue, you must make sure you file with a court that has the power to hear the case.