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Jurisdiction Over the Parties

A court must have jurisdiction not only over the subject matter of the controversy, but also the parties to the litigation. There is seldom a question of jurisdiction over the plaintiff, since by bringing the action into the court, the plaintiff consents to the court’s jurisdiction over him or her. But the plaintiff must also show that the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. In general, this may be established by the defendant’s consent, by the defendant’s general appearance in court, or by proving a defendant’s domicile within the geographic area of the court’s jurisdiction (in combination with serving process upon the defendant). A fourth way of acquiring jurisdiction over a defendant relies on “long-arm statutes,” which permit a court to “reach” absent defendants or defendants residing in other states by establishing their relationship with the state in which the action was filed (the “forum” state). It may be that they committed the wrongful act within the forum state or transact business within that state or own property in that state, etc.

Inside Jurisdiction Over the Parties