Can I Bring A Case in Federal Court?

When you file a lawsuit or are sued, the case will proceed in a specific court. There are many different courts within the U.S. legal system including state courts and federal courts.  There are important differences between the state court system and the federal court system and a Las Vegas litigation lawyer can help you to understand which court will preside over your case. In some situations, you may actually have a choice about where your case will be resolved. These situations are incredibly complex and you will need a qualified and experienced attorney to advise you.

Pintar Albiston, LLP has extensive knowledge of which forums are right for which cases and of how to help clients strategically choose which court should hear their case. If you are considering litigation or if you have been served with papers and told to come to court for a pending action, you need to call a litigation attorney you can trust. Pintar Albiston, LLP can advise you, so call today to learn more about whether you can bring a case in federal court.

Can I Bring a Case in Federal Court?

The vast majority of both criminal cases and civil lawsuits are decided in state courts. This is because the powers of the federal government, including the judiciary branch, are limited by Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution.  Whether a court can preside over a case or not is a question of jurisdiction.

In order to issue a legally binding decision, the court must have personal jurisdiction over the parties. It also must have subject matter jurisdiction or the authority to rule on a particular kind of case.

Federal courts have jurisdiction over a limited number of cases.  As a result, you can bring a case to federal court ONLY if:

  • Your claim arises out of the Constitution or a federal law. For example, if you have filed a lawsuit alleging that your Constitutional right to freedom of religion or freedom of expression was violated, this type of case can be heard in federal court.
  • The federal court has diversity jurisdiction. The federal court can hear a case that would otherwise be handled in state court because the plaintiff and the defendant are from different states within the country.  In order for a federal court to have diversity jurisdiction, the amount in controversy must exceed $75,000.

Unless your specific case meets one of these two criteria, you will not be able to bring your case in federal court.  If your case does fit into one of these categories, then you will have the option to make a claim in federal court but you may not be required to do so.  A federal and a state court may have concurrent jurisdiction over your case, which means you will have a choice of which court to file in. This would occur, for example, if you had a personal injury claim against a defendant from a different state and you were seeking $100,000 in damages.

When there is a choice of where a case should be heard, a plaintiff gets the opportunity to decide which court to file in. A defendant also gets a chance to ask to have a case removed to federal court if the plaintiff has originally filed a state court lawsuit.

Pintar Albiston, LLP can advise you on whether you can– or should– bring a claim in federal court. Call today to speak with a Nevada litigation lawyer to learn more.

To learn more, please download our free Federal Court in Nevada here.