Jurisdiction in Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 7.09.17 PMIt is no longer uncommon for family members to be located across the United States. Your parents may be living in California while you live in Texas and your sibling lives in New York. Nor is it uncommon for businesses to have a national presence: A company that is incorporated in Delaware and with headquarters in Ohio may operate and manage a nursing home in California. This reality of our modern age can make it difficult to know where you ought to file your nursing home abuse lawsuit on behalf of your loved one.

The Question of Jurisdiction in Nursing Home Abuse Cases

A nursing home abuse lawsuit (or any other lawsuit, for that matter) must be filed with a court that has personal and subject matter jurisdiction over the parties and the case. State courts, as opposed to federal courts, generally have subject matter jurisdiction over a wide variety of disputes, including nursing home abuse lawsuits. Not every court, however, has personal jurisdiction over the parties.

Basically, a specific court will have jurisdiction over a party in a lawsuit, and thus be able to adjudge the rights of that party if:

  • The defending party is a resident of that state;
  • The defending party is a business and has certain contacts or relationships with the state; and/or
  • The defending party caused an injury to the victim in that state.

Personal jurisdiction is a nuanced subject with certain exceptions and limitations; it can also limit where a nursing home injury victim can file his or her lawsuit. A victim may not be able to file his or her suit, for example:

  • In the state in which his or her children live, if different than where the nursing home injury victim lives;
  • In a state that does not have any relationship to the defending party and/or the injury accident at issue;
  • In a state where the defending party has no significant presence.

Thus, using the examples offered at the beginning of this blog, suppose you live in Texas but your elderly parent lives in a California nursing home owned by a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Ohio. If your loved one is injured at the home, a lawsuit will most likely be appropriate in California. You could also potentially file suit in Ohio or Delaware, but it would be extremely unlikely that you would be able to file suit against the nursing home in Texas.

Contact Case Barnett Law For Help

When your loved one is injured in a California nursing home, do not guess at whether you can or should file your lawsuit. Instead, speak with the experienced elder abuse legal team at Case Barnett Law. We can inform you of the places where your loved one could file a lawsuit as well as which jurisdiction is the most appropriate and advantageous place to file. Call us to discuss your case by dialing (949) 861-2990, or by contacting us online.

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