You have probably heard the term “jurisdiction” thrown around in courtroom dramas or the news, but what exactly does personal jurisdiction mean?

Having personal jurisdiction means that the court has the legal right to make a binding decision regarding the plaintiff — the person bringing the lawsuit — and the defendant, the person being sued. This is an important issue because if a court does not have personal jurisdiction over all the parties involved in the case, then the court will not hear your case.

In most cases, jurisdiction is not a concern in a court when the defendant lives in the state or operates a business there. Federal and state courts always have personal jurisdiction over residents of the state. It becomes a problem when the defendant does not live in the state. The state in which the lawsuit is filed is called the “forum state”. When the defendant does not have a principal residence in the forum state nor has a place of business there, things become complicated.

The well-respected civil litigation attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm, P.A. have a track record of resolving jurisdiction and wrong forum cases to achieve positive outcomes for our clients.

Experienced New Jersey Civil Litigation Attorneys Skillfully Navigate The Complexities Of Jurisdiction To Achieve Favorable Outcomes For Our Clients

So what happens when the person or business you want to sue does not live in New Jersey or does not conduct business in New Jersey? Can you still bring a lawsuit?

That depends. Let’s consider the following scenario: you are on a road trip out of state and you find a great deal on a new laptop at a local store. The store owner tells you that the laptop is new and in working condition. When you get home with your new purchase, you discover that the laptop is not new — it is a refurbished model and, more importantly, it is not working properly. Your calls and letters to the store go unanswered and you are now stuck with an expensive purchase that is not functioning.

To bring a lawsuit against a business that resides and operates in the wrong forum (out of state), certain elements must be present to allow a court to exercise power over a non-citizen of the state. These may include:

  • The defendant causes a traffic accident while in the state and the case is tied to the accident. All states have “motorist” statutes, granting the court has jurisdiction over cases that involve accidents on their roads
  • The defendant visits the state — even for a brief period of time — and, while there, is served with the court papers 
  • The defendant — an individual or a business — has some contact within the state where the lawsuit is filed. The defendant has been involved in some level of activity that is considered significant enough to constitute “minimum contacts” in the state in which you’ve filed the lawsuit (and the case involves that activity). 

Bringing a lawsuit against a person or entity that resides out of state and conducts business out of state is challenging. But it is not impossible. If you or a loved one wishes to sue a person who does not reside in New Jersey or a business that does not operate in the Garden State, arrange for a free consultation with an experienced civil litigation attorney at The Epstein Law Firm, P.A. to learn how we can help resolve your situation. 

Accomplished New Jersey Civil Litigation Attorneys Have In-Depth Knowledge And Experience Handling Litigation Involving Jurisdiction And Wrong Forum Legal Matters 

When you have suffered wrongdoing by a person or entity and you want to hold them accountable for their actions, it can be particularly frustrating to learn that your state does not have jurisdiction over the other party. Afterall, every person who has suffered harm — whether that is financial harm or physical harm — deserves justice for what they had to endure because of someone else.

Jurisdiction litigation is complicated and it may be difficult to achieve jurisdiction in New Jersey when the person or business you are trying to hold accountable lives or operates in another state.  But the experienced civil litigation attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm, P.A. skillfully navigate the complexities of the law to reach positive outcomes for our clients. Our accomplished attorneys have in-depth knowledge of civil litigation laws and demonstrated experience handling litigation regarding jurisdiction and wrong forum for our New Jersey clients. Our office offers a free initial consultation with one of our litigating attorneys so that you can get answers to your questions and receive an overall evaluation of the claim you are pursuing. To arrange for a free consultation, contact our office today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jurisdiction And Wrong Forum Litigation in New Jersey

What exactly is the “minimum contacts” requirement in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the “minimum contacts” requirement — which refers to the amount of contact a defendant has had in the state in which the lawsuit was filed — for the most part means that the defendant must have had sufficient connection to the state in order for the judge to determine that it is fair for the state to exercise power over the defendant in the lawsuit.

How can I prove that the defendant in my lawsuit has “sufficient minimum contacts” in the state of New Jersey?

If you are trying to prove that the defendant in your lawsuit has “sufficient minimum contacts” in the state in an effort to secure jurisdiction over the defendant so that you can sue them, you are facing a particularly complicated endeavor. Minimum contacts, for the most part, can be either related or unrelated to the lawsuit you are trying to file but it is difficult to prove. In these situations, it is best to consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney who practices in the state in which you are trying to file your lawsuit who can advise you of the best approach to trying to secure jurisdiction.


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