Thanks for getting back to me on this.
The answer to your question -- like so many things in the law -- is: It depends!
Before discussing this, though, let me note the disclaimer at the
bottom of this page. I am not a legal professional, and Google
Answers is not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you are
involved in or considering legal action, please get the advice of a
professional on this matter.
Court cases involving individuals from different states sometimes wind
up in state court, and sometimes in federal court. In fact, there may
well be more than one court where a case could be brought forward, and
it then becomes a matter for the plaintiff to decide which court would
be in his/her best interest.
There's an awfully good discussion of matters like these at this site:
WHERE TO SUE?
Although the site is focused on Maryland law, most of the legal
principles involved would be pretty similar for any state in the
In particular, note this paragraph near the bottom of the page, where
they describe a situation not unlike the one you asked about:
...consider Paula Plaintiff?s case. While on vacation in Maryland,
this Pennsylvania citizen sustained serious personal injuries when
Donald Defendant, a Montgomery County, Maryland resident, struck her
vehicle at a Baltimore City intersection. If Paula wants to sue Donald
for the many hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and
damages resulting from this devastating accident, she has several
options in filing suit. First, she can file suit in either Maryland
Circuit Court or federal court because both systems have subject
matter jurisdiction in lawsuits between citizens of different states
for more than $75,000. Second, because Donald is a Maryland citizen
with more than ample contacts with that state, he is subject to
personal jurisdiction in all state and federal courts within Maryland.
Yet, because all counties in Maryland have Circuit Courts with both
subject matter and personal jurisdiction, we must not permit Paula to
sue Donald anywhere in the entire state. Venue rules serve to limit
the counties and the federal districts in which plaintiffs like Paula
may take their cases. Without listing the many venue rules here,
Maryland?s state court venue rules would require that Paula choose a
Circuit Court sitting in the county where Donald lives, does business
or works; in this case, Montgomery County. Special venue rules in
negligence cases also permit Paula to sue where the claim arose; in
this case, Baltimore City. Thus, the venue rules often give lawyers a
choice on where to file suit and it is important that good lawyers
check the rules before filing.
The excerpt above mentions "personal jurisdiction", and this is one of
the key concepts to note.
If the NY business in the situation you described regularly does
business in California, then California probably has the authority to
exert personal jurisdiction, and compel the repsponsible party to
appear in California court, even though they operate out of New York.
I say "probably", because a lot of factors come into play here, as the
Maryland write-up makes clear. However, in the case of a NY business
that regularly does business in California, and causes an injury in
the state, I suspect that the California courts would have
jurisdiction in such a case.
I trust this information fully answers your question. However, please
don't rate this answer until you have everything you need. If you
would like any additional information, just post a Request for
Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further, and I'm at
All the best,
search strategy: Used bookmarked sites for information on lawsuits.