Employment Litigation and Jurisdiction

The party commencing a lawsuit (called the plaintiff) must have proper subject matter and personal jurisdiction to avoid having the case initially dismissed. Having subject matter jurisdiction means filing the action in an appropriate court. For example, an ERISA benefits claim must be filed in a federal district court; a case involving significant wages cannot be filed in small-claims court. Speak to a lawyer to be sure you are filing your case in the proper court before starting a lawsuit. It is also necessary to demonstrate personal (in personam) jurisdiction. Typically, if the person or business being sued (called the defendant) lives or works in the state where the action is filed, or has close ties with that state (e.g., ships goods into or travels to that state to conduct business), then personal jurisdiction may be determined to exist by a judge. It will also be necessary to select the correct venue (the proper county) where the lawsuit should be filed. For example, in a wrongful discharge lawsuit, the proper venue is the county where the plaintiff or defendant resides. Since venue laws vary from state to state, ask your lawyer where the suit should be brought to avoid having the case dismissed.

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