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What Cases Can Be Heard in Federal Court?

cases can be heard in federal courtIf you have been injured or if you are involved in a contract dispute or a business disagreement, you may want to turn to the legal system for help resolving your problems and protecting your rights. When you want to sue or when someone sues you, the case must be brought within the appropriate court system. There are both federal courts and state courts but each of the different court systems has a different role to play within the legal system.

State courts are typically courts of general jurisdiction, which means they can hear a wide variety of different types of claims. Individual states will have their own civil courts and their own criminal courts, and will often subdivide those courts further into a small claims court and a court of general jurisdiction. Federal courts also preside over both criminal and civil cases, but a more limited number of cases can be heard in federal court.

If you want to determine if your case can be heard in federal court, you need to speak with an experienced legal professional. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide you with legal advice on where best to make your claim and can represent you in both a state and a federal court case. Call today to learn more about how we can help with your claim.

What Cases Can Be Heard in Federal Court

For any court (federal or state) to preside over any case, the court must have jurisdiction. Federal courts generally have jurisdiction over two different kinds of cases:

  • Cases arising out of a federal question. If the grounds for the case come from the constitution or from a federal statute or law, then the case can be heard in federal court.
  • Cases where there is diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff and defendant need to be from different states, have different citizenships or otherwise be “” Diversity jurisdiction only exists if the amount in controversy (the amount of money the lawsuit hinges on) is valued at $75,000 or greater.

If your claim fits into one of these categories, this means you may file your claim within the federal court system. This does not necessarily mean you have to file your case in federal court. There may be concurrent jurisdiction, which allows you to pursue legal action in either state court or federal court. Likewise, if someone is sued in state court but there is federal jurisdiction, the defendant can make a motion to have the claim removed to a federal court.

Making a strategic choice on where to bring a case is only possible when cases can be heard in both state and federal court. The process of deciding where to sue based on where you have the best chance of prevailing is sometimes referred to as “forum shopping.”

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP understands the ins-and-outs of both federal and state civil procedure and we can help you to make the best possible choice for where you should take your case. Give us a call or contact us online today to speak with a member of our legal team and to learn more about how our Irvine, CA litigation lawyers can guide you through every step of making your claim.