The Defendant Wants To Move My Case To A Federal Court. Can They Do That?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on September 29, 2010

in Buffalo Injury Questions and Answers

Buffalo is home to both the Erie County Supreme Court and the United States Court for the Western District of New York.  While most personal injury lawsuits in New York State are brought at the NYS supreme court level, under some circumstances an injury case may be heard in federal court.

When a defendant wishes to move a civil case originally filed in a state court to a federal court, there are certain criteria that must be met.  In most personal injury lawsuits, these criteria include the requirement that the lawsuit involve citizens of different states or a citizen of the U.S. and a citizen of a foreign country.  Also, the amount being pursued by the plaintiff must exceed $75,000.  Class action lawsuits are evaluated under a different set of criteria to determine if they may be lawfully brought in federal court.

Not all cases that meet these criteria must be heard in federal court, and often the plaintiff will file in a New York State court without any objection from the defendant.  Usually, a party will only seek transfer to federal court if they believe there is some advantage to them in doing so.   If the defendant does wish to move the case to federal court, he or she must file to have it moved within thirty days of being served with a summons or receiving the initial pleadings. 

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