State Court Subject Matter Jurisdiction - Explained
When can a state court adjudicate a particular case?
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What is the State Courts Subject-matter Jurisdiction?
General subject-matter jurisdiction means the state court may hear any type of case under state law.
The requirements are discussed below.
Next Article: State and Federal Trial Courts Hear State and Federal Cases Back to: US COURT SYSTEM
When does a State Court have Subject-matter Jurisdiction?
A state court of general jurisdiction has subject-matter jurisdiction in either of the following situations:
- an act violates a state criminal law and was committed within the state;
- a civil dispute involves a state law, or
- a citizen of the state is a party to a civil action.
Example: Tom is from Texas and Kay is from Kansas. Tom sues Kay in a Kansas court for a breach of contract that took place in Texas. Even though the breach of contract did not happen in Kansas, the court has subject-matter jurisdiction in the case based upon its personal jurisdiction over Kay as a citizen.
A state court with limited jurisdiction can only hear cases expressly allowed by the law creating the special court.
In most states, the state legislature will authorize special courts of limited jurisdiction.
These courts are commonly limited by the type of case that it can hear or based upon the dollar amount in controversy.
- Example: Magistrate court in Georgia, for example, cannot hear a lawsuit alleging more than $15,000 in damages because the amount exceeds the limits of its jurisdiction. South Carolina has a special circuit for family law cases.
Do you think it is important for a state to always have a court of general jurisdiction? Why do you think that states create courts of limited jurisdiction? Do these limited courts imply a lack of seriousness or professionalism in those courts? Does a court of general jurisdiction (particularly the judge) have the expertise to preside over all cases without a court of special jurisdiction?
Lilly is from Texas. While in Arizona, she gets into a physical altercation with Mitchel. She is the aggressor and injures Mitchel very badly. Lilly leaves Arizona and returns to Texas. Mitchel presses criminal charges against Lilly in Arizona. Further, he seeks to sue her in civil court to recover damages for the injuries he suffered. What are the grounds for the Arizona court exercising subject-matter jurisdiction over the criminal and civil law actions?
- Arizona has personal jurisdiction over the matter for criminal or civil cases. A state has subject matter jurisdiction over criminal conduct taking place within the state. The same is true for personal jurisdiction in civil court. The Arizona state court will issue an arrest warrant for Lilly's arrest. Mitchel will employ the state's long-arm statute to serve Lilly with a summons outside of Arizona's borders.
- US Courts (Intro)
- What is the Authority for Article III Courts?
- What is the Authority for Article I Courts?
- What is the authority for courts under Article II?
- What is the authority for Article IV Territorial Courts?
- What is the authority for State Courts?
- What are Article III Courts?
- What are Article I Administrative Courts?
- What are Article IV Territorial Courts?
- What are state courts?
- What is Subject-Matter Jurisdiction?
- What is Federal Court Subject-Matter Jurisdiction?
- What is State Court Subject-Matter Jurisdiction?
- Can a Federal trial courts hear state matters & vice versa?
- Can a Federal appellate court hear federal matters & vice versa?
- What is Personal Jurisdiction?
- How to establish Federal Court Personal Jurisdiction?
- How to establish State Court Personal Jurisdiction?
- What is a Long-Arm Statute?
- Who are the primary players in the state judicial system?
- What types of judges are part of the judiciary?
- What is the role of jurors in the judicial system?
- What number of jurors and juror votes are required for guilt or liability?
- What do Attorneys do?
- Who are the other players in the judicial system?
- US Circuit Court?
- US Supreme Court?
- Appeals from Legislative and Administrative Courts
- Appeals in the state court system?