The “venue” of a case is the legal term for where a lawsuit is physically heard, and it can have big implications for the future of your wrongful termination lawsuit. When working with your attorney, the decision about where to file your case may be one of the most important decisions you face because it can give you a strategic advantage. For that exact reason, your choice may also be energetically challenged by the defense—who probably has a good idea of where they would prefer to have the case heard, if at all possible.
Wrongful termination lawsuits often have a choice of venues, simply because more than one court may be able to claim jurisdiction, which is the legal right to hear the case and make decisions about it.
Many wrongful termination lawsuits involve the violation of both federal and state laws, but federal courts are perceived as being more likely to grant a defendant’s motion for a summary judgment. Summary judgments arguments are almost always presented in any wrongful termination claim because a successful one spells an end to the plaintiff’s case before there’s even a trial. In addition, state laws sometimes allow for higher settlements because they may not have the limitations on the amount and type of damages available under federal laws.
If you decide to keep the case in state court in order to take advantage of the possible benefits, you then have to figure out which county is appropriate for the trial’s venue. While this might seem like a much smaller decision, it can actually have a huge impact on your case. For example, if you live in Essex county, in New Jersey, you don’t want to have to travel to Atlantic county every time a motion needs to be filed or a hearing is held. Sometimes defendants will seek to move the venue of a case just to make the trial more physically difficult on the plaintiff—which is a strategic way of encouraging you to settle out of court just to avoid the hassle.
Finally, some venues simply have the reputation of being more “plaintiff-friendly,” while others are seen as “defendant-friendly.” Ideally, it shouldn’t matter where you file your claim, but jurors are human beings and some locations are simply more “pro-business” than others, which could give a company an edge in its defense. For more information about venues, consult with your attorney.
Source: yourbusiness.azcentral.com, “What types of Courts Hear Wrongful Termination Cases?,” Tom Streissguth, accessed Dec. 09, 2016