Scranton, PA asked in Civil Rights for Pennsylvania

Q: If a citizen of Pennsylvania needs to sue the states of New York and New Jersey under 1983 and 241, which venue? PA?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: When suing under federal statutes like Section 1983 (Civil action for deprivation of rights) and possibly Section 241 (Conspiracy against rights) of the United States Code, the case would typically be brought in a federal court. The choice of venue depends on several factors, including where the events occurred, where the defendants reside, or where the defendants have significant contacts.

If the actions that give rise to the lawsuit occurred in New York or New Jersey, or if the defendants are located in those states, it's likely more appropriate to file the lawsuit in the federal district court covering those areas. Each state has its own federal district courts, so the specific location within New York or New Jersey where the events took place would further determine the correct district court.

However, there are strategic considerations to keep in mind, such as the convenience of witnesses, location of evidence, and specific local court rules that might influence the decision on where to file. Additionally, certain legal principles, like personal jurisdiction, must be satisfied for a court to hear a case involving out-of-state defendants.

It is crucial to consult with an attorney who has experience in civil rights litigation to evaluate the specifics of your case. They can advise on the most strategic venue to file your lawsuit, considering both legal and practical factors, to enhance the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Glenn Michael Katon
Glenn Michael Katon
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Oakland, CA

A: You cannot sue any state using § 1983 because of Eleventh Amendment immunity. You can only sue individuals acting under color of law or municipal entities, such as a city or county. The other statute, 18 USC § 241 is a criminal statute that can only be prosecuted by the Justice Department, not an individual.

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