Articles Tagged with federal court

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Personal injury cases are generally a matter of state law. Many non-Georgia defendants will seek to transfer a personal injury claim to federal court. There are a number of reasons why they do this.

First, while a federal court must still decide the merits of a personal injury claim under the substantive law of the forum state, the trial itself is conducted under federal rules of evidence and procedure. This often benefits defense attorneys, who have more practical experience trying cases in federal court. Federal rules also make it easier for defendants to seek dismissal of a plaintiff’s complaint during the summary judgment stage, i.e. before the case gets to a jury.

Second, the jury pools in federal court are much broader than in state court. Let’s say you are in a car accident in Marietta. The negligent driver lives in Florida. If you file a personal injury claim in state court, the jury will be drawn from residents of Cobb County. But if the case is removed to federal court–the Northern District of Georgia–the jury pool suddenly expands to 46 counties. This can produce a final jury that is less sympathetic to a “local” plaintiff.