In the event you have a claim against another party, you are probably done with negotiating on your own by the time you start looking for a law firm. As a plaintiff, you get to decide some important issues, such as if and where the case gets filed. Generally, if you decided to file a lawsuit, you have two choices, state or federal court. The key threshold issue is which court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and person.
Federal court usually involves a federal question which gives the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina exclusive jurisdiction for such cases in the Raleigh area. However, the federal court will also exercise jurisdiction over cases in which the parties are from different states and the claim or controversy is valued at greater than $75,000.00. State courts generally hear matters arising under state law and cases in which the federal court does not otherwise have jurisdiction.
Your options are a bit more limited in the event you are named as a defendant in a lawsuit. You first must decide whether you wish to litigate in the selected forum. If you decide to challenge the court’s jurisdiction you have two bases for doing so: 1) subject matter jurisdiction; and 2) personal jurisdiction. The first issue addresses whether the court can hear the type of case that was filed. For example, is their diversity of citizenship in a federal case? The second issue determines whether the court can exercise jurisdiction over your company. If your company is not a North Carolina company, jurisdiction might be set pursuant to a contract or under certain contacts with the State of North Carolina. Otherwise, you may not be able to be sued within Illinois and the case might be dismissed.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers an additional option that avoids the time delay and expense associated with a lawsuit. Sometimes this can be the best course of action if both sides are able to recognize the benefit to reaching a compromise outside of court.
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