Personal Jurisdiction

One of the preliminary considerations before filing a lawsuit is whether or not the court in which you intend to file the lawsuit has personal jurisdiction, that is jurisdiction over the defendant.  As the plaintiff, it is important that the court’s judgment be binding on the defendant under the United States Constitution, which requires that one state recognize and enforce the judgment of another state if the originating court had personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

Personal jurisdiction of the plaintiff is not really an issue. By filing an action in the state, the plaintiff consents to personal jurisdiction by the state.

The problem arises primarily with the defendant. Personal jurisdiction over a defendant exists if the defendant is domiciled in the state with an intent to remain in the state indefinitely. This would be evidenced by having obtained a driver’s license or voter’s registration in the state.

The bigger problem is when one has an out-of-state defendant. In the situation of the out-of-state defendant, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had sufficient “minimum contacts” with the state that the defendant could reasonably foresee being sued or called into court in the state.

The issue of what constitutes “minimum contacts” is a United States Constitutional issue.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I am a student and that was the best definition of personal jurisdiction I have ever heard! Thank you for the post.

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