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Venue And Jurisdiction In Texas – What It Is And Why It Matters

One of the most important things to take into consideration if a lawsuit must be filed on your behalf is where to file it.  This is what is known as “venue” and “jurisdiction”.  Texas has many different rules and requirements for where a lawsuit may be filed.  In a personal injury case, the venue may be one of the following:

  • The county where the cause of action accrued (i.e. where a car accident occurred)
  • The county in which the defendant resides, if they are an individual
  • The county in which the defendant’s principal office is located, if they are a business

The jurisdiction for the court in which you may file will be determined by the county in which you file suit, and what is called “the amount in controversy”.

It is very important that a lawsuit is filed in the venue most beneficial to your case.  For example, if you are unfortunate enough to be in a collision with ABC Corporation in a neighboring county to which it is formed, there are multiple factors to take into consideration.  What if ABC Corporation employs 25% of the employees in the county in which they operate?  Would you want a jury comprised of what will likely be either employees, family members of employees, or friends of employees of ABC Corporation?  You may have better luck filing your lawsuit in the neighboring county where the actual collision occurred, hoping to avoid any bias that the jury may have towards ABC Corporation.

Jurisdiction is important as well.  The amount in controversy in your case can determine whether you end up filing your case with a justice court, a county court, or a district court.  Jurisdiction can also determine whether your case ends up in state or federal court.  For your case to remain in state court, there cannot be complete diversity between the parties.  For example, you cannot be a resident of Texas and file suit in state court against a defendant residing in another state, generally.

These are just some examples, and many, many factors come into play when deciding upon venue and jurisdiction for your lawsuit.  Some counties are historically more favorable to plaintiffs or defendants, just as being in a state county court or district court or federal court could be more beneficial to your case.  Deciding on venue and jurisdiction may just be a small part of the procedure in filing your lawsuit, but it can be a make or break decision for your claim.  An experienced attorney will have knowledge of the best venue for your case and will be able to steer you in a direction that will give your lawsuit the best chance of succeeding.

There are many statutes and exceptions that apply when determining venue and jurisdiction, making it very important to have a well trained legal professional review your case and to determine the best course to take.