What Is the Proper Court for a Breach of Contract Lawsuit?
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What Is a Breach of Contract?
A contract is an enforceable agreement between two parties. Each party agrees to perform and carry out the terms and conditions stated in the contract. A breach of contract means that one of the parties failed to act and perform the promise. If this happens, then the non-breaching party may file a lawsuit and seek legal relief.
How Do I File a Breach of Contract Lawsuit?
Filing a breach of contract lawsuit is a civil matter and you must follow civil procedure rules. You should consider the following if you are filing a breach of contract lawsuit:
- Forum Selection Clause: contracts may include a forum selection clause that specifies which courts or laws may be used when disputes arise. Forum clauses are usually enforceable.
- Venue: this refers to the specific court you want to file your lawsuit in.
- Arbitration: Arbitration refers to a process where both parties come together and have a third party (known as an arbitrator) decide on the outcome.
- Medication: Mediation refers to a process where a third party facilitates and helps the parties in a contract reach a compromised solution.
Which Court May I File in for a Breach of Contract Lawsuit?
You may choose to file for breach of contract in any court that has jurisdiction and venue over the matter if:
- There is no forum selection clause in your contract
- The forum selection clause is unenforceable
Although you may file in many courts, the laws of one jurisdiction may offer you distinct advantages over another. Thus, knowing where you can file, and where you should file, can make a big difference in helping you win your case.
In general, you can file a lawsuit with a court that is in:
- The defendant's home state
- Any state that the defendant has enough minimum contacts
- The state where the contract was negotiated or signed
- A federal court if the breach of contract involves a federal question
- A federal court if you and the other party are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000
- Any state or federal court where both parties agree to be sued in
Should I Get a Lawyer?
Yes. Assessing jurisdiction and venue are one of the most difficult aspects of civil law. An experienced business attorney can help you determine which court to file in and answer any other question you may have.
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Last Modified: 12-29-2015 12:26 PM PST
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