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Q: Which courts a person can sue in ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Which courts a person can sue in
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: vtprep-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 03 Mar 2005 12:47 PST
Expires: 02 Apr 2005 12:47 PST
Question ID: 484196
A person is walking to work on the sidewalk. A business  truck strikes
and injures the person, causing  injuries that result in more than
$100,000 in medical expenses. The person  is a resident of California,
and the accident occurred in California. The business truck is
incorporated and has its principal place of business in New York. In
what courts can the person sue the business?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Mar 2005 13:18 PST
Are you looking for some sort of comprehensive listing of the courts
that a person could sue in?  Or just the most likely courts for the
situation you have described?

Let us know...and be aware that a comprehensive list strikes me as
beyond the scope of a $10 question.



Clarification of Question by vtprep-ga on 03 Mar 2005 17:27 PST
I just need to know if the person could sue in either the California
courts or the New York courts and a simple reason for why this is so.
Please let me know if you need more information. I can increase the
price to $15 if you think that is better. Just tell me how to do that.


Subject: Re: Which courts a person can sue in
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 03 Mar 2005 17:54 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Helo Michelle,

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:

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
your service.

All the best,


search strategy:  Used bookmarked sites for information on lawsuits.
vtprep-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
This was an excellent response. This is exactly what I was looking
for. I appreciate the assistance very much.

Subject: Re: Which courts a person can sue in
From: mark0605-ga on 04 Mar 2005 07:38 PST
I read the answer to this question, and it makes me a little nervious.
 I would not feel comfortable relying on this answer.  It neglects to
discuss diversity jurisdiction in federal court.  It does not properly
define personal jurisdiction or discuss the long arm statutes in the
relivant states.  The citation to authority is a Maryland attorney's
web site, which is not authoritive.
Subject: Re: Which courts a person can sue in
From: pafalafa-ga on 04 Mar 2005 07:46 PST

Your concerns are noted.  Although I certainly stand by the answer I
gave, please feel free to add any information that you think might
better-inform the situation.

Subject: Re: Which courts a person can sue in
From: pafalafa-ga on 04 Mar 2005 19:37 PST

Thanks so much for your feedback, both kind and generous.  Glad to
hear this information hit the nail on the head.

Subject: Re: Which courts a person can sue in
From: manish_x-ga on 09 Mar 2005 07:41 PST
for an indian law perspective you should try mailing While being an educational site I found the answers
the webmaster gives most insightful.

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