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Establishing Jurisdiction when Filing a Lawsuit Against a Web-Based Business

If you’ve been wronged by an Internet-based business, the first step is retaining experienced Montclair cyber crime lawyers. Unless the company happens to be located in the state where you reside, bringing the matter to court will be complicated. To consider a lawsuit, a state court must have personal jurisdiction over the defendant, or the person or business that’s being sued. Otherwise, the court may not have the legal power or constitutional right to make decisions affecting the plaintiff and defendant.

The state in which a lawsuit is filed is considered the “forum state.” If the web-based business you’d like to sue isn’t located in the forum state, the matter can only proceed to court if a meaningful connection or contact between them and the forum state can be established. Fortunately, there is more than one way to establish personal jurisdiction under such circumstances:

  • Minimum Contacts – Sometimes, personal jurisdiction can be established by showing the court that sufficient contact between a defendant and a particular state has occurred. Basically, if the defendant has any significant presence in a state, such as earning substantial revenue from sales there or routinely soliciting business there, the court may find minimum contacts have been achieved and personal jurisdiction is granted. This is less cut and dry with regards to online transactions. Passive sites that strictly market to customers in a state are less likely to meet the requirement than interactive sites that process credit card transactions and the like.
  • Injury Caused in the State – If it can be shown that a defendant’s deliberate activity in a particular state has caused injury to a plaintiff who resides there, personal jurisdiction may be established in some cases. The court must be provided evidence that the activity was purposefully directed at the plaintiff.
  • Consent – Both parties may consent to establishing personal jurisdiction in a particular state. Sometimes, this is done passively — and often unknowingly — online. For instance, you may be required to consent to a company’s terms of service, which may include a clause stating that you are consenting to personal jurisdiction. Contracts also sometimes aim to establish personal jurisdiction. Such clauses are recognized by all states except Idaho and Montana.
  • Gotcha Jurisdiction – If the defendant visits the forum state and is served with a complaint and summons, jurisdiction may be established.

Retain Skilled Montclair Cyber Crime Lawyers Today

If you would like to file a lawsuit against a web-based business, it is crucial to obtain competent legal representation. Without doing so, personal jurisdiction complications may prevent your case from being brought before the court. If you need Montclair cyber crime lawyers, contact Lorraine Gauli-Rufo at (973) 239-4300 now.

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