Can I file lawsuit in federal courts?

Asked over 2 years ago - 20001

Can I file a lawsuit against my employer and Department of Labor in federal courts or state supreme courts or local courts? Would there be pros of filing a civil action in Federal Courts?
Can I file lawsuit in Federal Courts even the employer is not

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Timothy A. Provis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Dear ?,

    Sure, you CAN file suit in any court you want against anyone you want but the more important questions are: 1) will your suit be dismissed because you filed it in the wrong court and 2) which court is best for you to file in?
    No one here can even begin to answer those questions since you do not identify the nature of your claim. Even if you did that, however, none of us would advise you in this forum about the choice you should make because we would have to know much, much more about your case than we can get from exchanging these short messages with you.
    You need to consult with a good employment lawyer in your state about this matter if you want an intelligent opinion. You can find such an attorney right here on Avvo by clicking on Find a Lawyer at the top of this page.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Tim Provis
    Cal. Bar No. 104800
    Wis. Bar No. 1020123
    Member: U.S. Supreme Court Bar

  2. James S. Lawrence

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You do not really give enough information to answer this question completely. I can say as a general rule, lawsuits against an employer would be in state court, because there needs to be a special federal statute applying to your situation and granting jurisdiction to the federal court in order to successfully bring it to federal court.

    If you file in state court, you would file in the court of general jurisdiction, not in an appellate court. In the state of New York the court of general jurisdiction is called the Supreme Court, but in other states the Supreme Court is the highest appellate court of the state, and you cannot file lawsuits there in most cases, but only can file appeals from lower courts.

    It is hard to see how you would have a cause of action against the US Department of Labor, but if you did, that would clearly go to federal court. In some cases, a valid claim in federal court can permit other claims to go there under "pendent jurisdiction." You could not file against an agency of the federal government for damages, and at best could file seeking an injunction against them, but you have not described anything that would qualify as a worthwhile claim for either damages or injunction.

    Employment cases can be difficult, and the employer might easily beat you if he has a lawyer and you do not. I recommend consulting with a lawyer in your area right away to determine if you have a claim and, if so, in which court you should bring it.

    Contact me at 248-399-6930 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed... more
  3. Michael Lawrence Doyle

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . This is not an appeals question. However, in order to file in Federal Court there needs to be appropriate jurisdiction. Most likely, it will depend upon the employer's place of incorporation and the amount of money sought. There are a few other ways to get jurisdiction, but this would be my first inquiry. Contact an attorney in your area.

  4. Robert Pecco Baker

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The answers by all of the other attorneys are correct. The only way to select the proper court is for counsel to review all the facts and documents after interviewing you and the witnesses, to conduct his research and then to conclude : 1) where may the case be filed and 2) where would it be most favorably filed.

    The two most common bases of federal jurisdiction are 1) complete diversity of citizenship ( no plaintiffs on the one hand and no defendants on the other share a state of citizenship) or 2) federal question (claim is brought on a question of federal law).

    A claim is usually brought in a state court when the defendants are found there or the scheme was meant to impact there or the contract was to be performed there etc.

    The substantive law that applies would be the same regardless of which court ends up with the case but the procedural rules could be vastly different including whether a unanimous jury verdict would be required, the number of jurors sitting, the rules of evidence, the rules of discovery, etc.

    Generally the judges in federal court run a tighter ship and they are often more experienced--but this is not always the case. If you are thinking of representing yourself, you would be swamped in federal court

    You definitely need a lawyer to assist you in selecting the proper court But you have said nothing to convince me you have a case worth filing--that is the first bridge to cross.

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