Writing a Complaint – Jurisdiction & Venue
In the last lesson, we created the ‘PARTIES’ section, and now we will create the “JURISDICTION AND VENUE” section of a complaint. We’re getting closer and closer to filing suit!
But first, a note on numbering sections and pages. I’m not sure if any jurisdiction requires Roman numerals, but have seen many complaints with numbered sections, such as “I. JURY DEMAND,” “II. PARTIES,” and so on. I no longer number my sections because changes in order or insertions of new sections causes a considerable amount of extra time to renumber the sections. Some believe that it is necessary so the reader can see at a glance where they are in the document; I believe that it is easier just to look at the page number, which, even if not required by the rules, should be included in all your court documents.
Unlike the Parties section, the Jurisdiction section takes a little research. This is where you start pleading – or “alleging” – your case. First, you explain why the state or federal court has jurisdiction over your case, and then you state why that particular state or federal district is the proper venue for your action.
Here is the JURISDICTION AND VENUE section of my complaint against the Minnesota Judicial District:
NOTE: The second half of paragraph #6 would not be necessary in a typical complaint. All five of the judges named have blatantly “fixed” cases against me. Judge Vandelist unlawfully dismissed my most recent case that is the subject matter of this lawsuit.
Here is the JURISDICTION AND VENUE section of a recent complaint filed in federal court:
Completing this section in a federal lawsuit is easier than in the state courts, as the wording is laid out nicely right in federal law: for “federal question” jurisdiction, see [or google] Title 28 of the United States Code, Part IV, Chapter 85 – District Courts, section 1331 (abbreviated: 28 U.S.C. § 1331), for “diversity of citizenship” jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332; for “venue generally,” see 28 U.S.C. § 1391. Here are a few more examples of jurisdictional allegations for the federal courts:
This court has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 pursuant to (list the controlling federal laws that apply to your case).
This court has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the parties are citizens of different states and the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000.
Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391 because the events giving rise to this action occurred in this district.
Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391 because the property at issue in this action is located in this district.
Whether filing in state or federal court, it is important to know, and allege, the legal authority the court has to hear and decide your case, and the controlling law under which your case is brought. If jurisdiction is challenged, the case will be “stayed” (suspended) until the judge rules on jurisdiction. If your case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, you will have to appeal.
Now, you’re ready to allege your facts in the “Statement of the Case” section, which we will cover in Lesson #6.
NOTE: If you would like to see a lesson on a particular topic, or if you would like to write one or more of these lessons, please submit your request or lesson below: