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Should You File Your Civil Rights Case In State Or Federal Court?

Depending on the circumstances of your civil rights violation case, you may have the option of filing your lawsuit in state or federal court. There are advantages and disadvantages to either option, so you want to take time to carefully consider which one would be more advantageous to you. Here are a couple of things to take into account to help you decide what to do.

Where is the Court Located?

You will have to show up for every day of the trial, so you should definitely take the location of the courtroom into consideration. It's not unusual for a state to only have a few federal courts located in major cities, whereas the state courts are much more numerous and distributed so residents can access them without too much trouble.

Since you will have to arrange and pay for any travel you must do to appear before the judge, it's important to factor in both the monetary cost and the opportunity costs involved in your decision.For example, you may have to take a full day off work and drive two hours to get to the federal court that would hear your case. However, the state court could be just down the street from your home, so you wouldn't have to worry about paying for gas and you may still be able to make it to work if the legal proceedings for the day end early.

Consider your specific needs and choose the option that best fits your budget and lifestyle.

What Does Your Attorney Prefer?

Your attorney may have a preference for one type of court over the other because of the resources and relationships he or she has in that particular jurisdiction. For example, if your attorney has a lot of experience litigating cases in federal court, he or she may be more comfortable litigating there because your attorney is very familiar with the judges, defense lawyer, and the process. This will make it easier for your lawyer to develop a strategy to achieve the outcome you want.

On the other hand, your attorney may recommend suing in state court because it is more advantageous to do so in some way. The state may allow for higher damages or the statute of limitations may be longer than the federal deadline, for instance.

Discuss the issue at length with your attorney. He or she will ultimately do what you want but do factor in your lawyer's recommendations and reasoning when coming to a decision.

For more information about choosing a jurisdiction or help with your civil rights case, contact firms like the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C.