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Where Should I File a Lawsuit in California?

There are many different situations that can lead to filing a lawsuit in order to obtain a remedy from the court system. When you need to file a suit to obtain some type of damages or some legal remedy, it is important that you choose the correct court in which to make your claim. law-education-series-2-68916-m

Deciding where to file a lawsuit in California can be complicated. An Irvine, CA litigation lawyer at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide you with legal advice on the appropriate court in which to file your suit. Your attorney can assist with all other procedural aspects of your claim so you can protect your right to get use the legal system to secure your interests. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.

Where to File a Lawsuit in California

First and foremost, you must determine if you can file a lawsuit in California. Many contracts contain arbitration clauses, which means that you are required to arbitrate your dispute. If your disagreement arises out of a business relationship, a defective product or a contractual agreement, then you may be bound by an arbitration clause.  If this is the case, you would only be able to sue if you convinced the court to declare the arbitration clause was invalid.

If there is no arbitration clause but your dispute arises out of a disagreement, then you still may need to refer to your contract to decide where to file a lawsuit in California. The contract may have a forum selection clause and/or a venue selection clause that specifies where the suit should be filed. These causes will usually be upheld, although you could try to argue to the court that applying them is unfair in your particular case.

If the dispute you have does not arise out of a relationship where there is a contract, then you will simply need to file a lawsuit in California in a court that has jurisdiction over your particular case. The court has to have subject matter jurisdiction, or authority to decide on the issues that arise in your claim. The court also has to have personal jurisdiction, or authority to make decisions binding the plaintiff and the defendant.

Most cases are filed in state court, because state courts are courts of general jurisdiction. A personal injury or breach of contract claim, for example, could be filed in a state court. You typically need to file the lawsuit in a court in a location where the actions related to the case happened and/or where the parties live in order for the court to have personal jurisdiction.

Cases can also be filed in federal courts if the case raises a federal question or if diversity jurisdiction exists. A federal question means that the case arises out of some federal law, like a case alleging employment discrimination based on the Civil Rights Act. Diversity jurisdiction means that there is at least $75,000 in dispute and the parties are from different states or countries.

An Irvine, CA litigation lawyer can help you to determine where to file a lawsuit in California. Call today to schedule a consultation with Brown & Charbonneau, LLP to learn more.

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