Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dual Jurisdiction: Should you file your Depuy suit in Federal or State court?

The patients who are filing law suits against Depuy have several decisions to make.  The first one is where should you file your case; in federal court or state court?

 I saw these write ups on line and found them helpful:

Most lawsuits that can be filed in federal district court can also be filed in state court. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction only in a very few kinds of federal question cases, such as lawsuits involving copyright violations, patent infringement, or federal tax claims.
This means that plaintiffs in all diversity jurisdiction cases and nearly all federal question cases have a choice of suing in federal or state court. Lawyers call the process of deciding which court is best for a plaintiff's case "forum shopping."
For example, a plaintiff who has a choice of courts may consider such factors as:
·        Which courthouse is closer to the plaintiff's place of work and business? For example, a plaintiff may choose to file in a state court simply because the nearest federal court is 250 miles away.
·        Which court has a longer statute of limitations? A plaintiff who has missed the filing deadline under state law would surely choose to file suit in federal district court if federal law provided a longer statute of limitations. (This is true only for federal question cases. Federal courts use a state's statute of limitations in a diversity jurisdiction case.)
·        Differences in the judges. For instance, a plaintiff may think that local state court judges have a judicial philosophy that makes them more likely to sympathize with the plaintiff's claim.
·        Differences in the jury panel. State and federal courts may have different boundaries for jury selection purposes, and a plaintiff may, for example, file suit in federal court because it selects jurors from a wider geographic area.
(2)   http://public.findlaw.com/library/legal-system/fcourts-vs-scourts.html
Courts and Caseloads
State courts handle by far the larger number of cases, and have more contact with the public than federal courts do. Although the federal courts hear far fewer cases than the state courts, the cases they do hear tend more often to be of national importance. Think of the court cases you have heard the most about. Most are U.S. Supreme Court decisions, because the federal laws they uphold and the federal rights they protect extend to everyone in this country. When state cases are known outside their local area, it's often because of the identity of the parties: for example, the O.J. Simpson case was widely followed, although the outcome would not affect the millions of television viewers.
Cases Filed Annually:
State Court: 30,000,0000 cases filed
Federal Court: 1,000,000 cases filed
Number of judgeships authorized:
State Court: Approximately 30,000 judgeships
Federal Court: Approximately 1.700 judgeships
From the Federal Judicial Center

First, you need to decide if the monetary amount in damages is greater than 75,000. If it is above 75,000 then you should file your case in a federal court. Below 75,000 you will need to file in a state court.
The second consideration is place of residency. If both parties reside in the same state the case should be held in a state court. If they reside in different states then it is a federal court matter. One point to take in consideration is the status of corporations. Since a corporation can legally exist in two states, ( the state that it is incorporated in, and the state that it does business in) you will need to know this information before taking the case to court.

A few other considerations are:
·         which court is closer to the plaintiffs home or place of work,
·          which court has a longer statute of limitations
·         the differences in judges and
·         the selection of the jury.
Hope this helps!



  1. Can anyone help? I am British/South African, resident in South Africa, and had a DePuy implant done in 2004, which has failed. I am undergoing revision surgery next month. Can I file a suit in the US - as this is a US firm that manufactures and markets these defective products? I do not wish to do so in South Africa. Thanks. Greg

    1. Hi Greg

      I stumbled upon your message, doing research in this matter, it seems as if the matter is going to start running in SA as well. Contact me ernestblommarais@gmail.com (Do not want to give my work/personal e-mail address on a website). Contact me, if you stil need some help.

  2. Hi,

    I am not a lawyer but If you look at this story link on the blog, there are a list of 14 attorneys who specialize in this case in the US. I would suggest contacting one of them. Their phone numbers and the name of the partner in charge of the case is listed. hope that helps.


    If you can;t get to the link, the story is is under "litigation" in the top categories on the left of this home page and it is titled:List of 14 lawyers appointed to serve.....