At the beginning of any lawsuit, there are a multitude of key factors that must be considered. One that clients sometimes overlook, but that is often very important regards the venue–or location and courtroom where your dispute is likely to take place.
For a number of reasons, it is often to your benefit for your lawyer to bring your case in a forum with which the lawyer is very familiar. For one thing, every county court and federal court has its own particularized and extensive set of rules governing deadlines, various procedures, and methods for submitting and filing materials. A lawyer who knows these rules is far less likely to be caught off-guard by them and probably has a pro-active game plan designed around them.
Also, lawyers will have a much stronger familiarity with the judges that sit in the courtrooms where they practice. Being able to anticipate the attention, depth of understanding, and predilections that a judge will apply to your case conveys a significant advantage when presenting motions.
From a geographical standpoint, the laws of certain states may be more favorable to your case than others. For example, one state may apply a three year statute of limitation to a claim while another applies four or five year. If there’s a question of whether you’re too late with your lawsuit, this could make a big difference! But you also have to be careful, the chosen forum has to have jurisdiction over the matter and persons to the suit.
Additionally, contracts will often contain a venue clause that determines the appropriate forums for any dispute over the contract. As a general rule, these clauses are enforceable; however there are a number of public policy exceptions that may apply to such a clause. For example, in construction lawsuits involving improvements to real estate may need to be kept in North Carolina. Statutory venue rules may also apply to certain kinds of consumer contracts.
The rules for determining a proper forum and venue for a civil suit and how and when they apply are complicated, and having a skilled attorney on your side is critical for utilizing the venue rules to your best advantage. If your civil matter might be brought in any of several different venues, then you should call Asheville Legal today to learn more about how we can optimize your position based on these rules.