How is personal jurisdictionin a civil lawsuit determined?

UPDATED: May 23, 2011

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How is personal jurisdictionin a civil lawsuit determined?

My stepfather is suing me for ownership of a boat he gifted me 8 years ago. He lives in OH and the boat and myself reside in AZ.  Which stat has personal jurisdiction over me or the boat? Do I hire an OH or an AZ lawyer? My stepfather has sent me a summons from an OH court and an OH lawyer.

Asked on May 23, 2011 under Business Law, Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The court evaluates jurisdiction as to the plaintiff - your step-father - and as to the defendant -you - as well as with regard to the issue, to determine variousthings: is the subject matter of the lawsuit proper in their court, is the lawsuit properly brought by the plaintiff and has the plaintiff properly served the lawsuit on the defendant so that the court can issue a binding order.  Serving a party outside the state is tricky and sending you a summons in the mail I assume may not be proper under the circumstances.  Since the lawsuit is in Ohio I would consult with an attorney there to see about having it dismissed.  An Arizona lawyer would have to be admitted in Ohio to represent you there and even if he or she was it would be expensive for you in the long run.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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