Venue – Introduction
Venue refers to the specific court in which a case is brought. In each city, county, state or country, there may be many courts in which a case may be brought, but one specific court may be more appropriate or proper than another. For example:
John wants to bring an action against Bill for injuries John sustained during a collision between John’s and Bill’s vehicles. Both John and Bill live in White Plains, New York, and the collision occurred in White Plains, New York. White Plains is in Westchester County, which is adjacent to Rockland County. New York State trial courts exist in both Westchester and Rockland. Both courts have jurisdiction over John and the subject matter of the case. However, the proper venue in which to being this case is in Westchester county since that is where both parties reside and that is where the accident occurred.
Where a plaintiff may bring a federal action is also an issue. If John’s claim was based on federal law, should he bring his action in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, or should he bring his action in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York?
To understand venue, it is crucial that you remember that all other jurisdictional requirements, such as diversity jurisdiction or federal question jurisdiction, and personal jurisdiction, must be satisfied before venue can even be discussed. In other words, for a court to be a proper venue, it first must have jurisdiction to hear the case.