The plaintiff’s lawyer must decide where to file the case. A court has no authority to decide a case unless it has jurisdiction over the person or property involved. To have jurisdiction, a court must have authority over the subject matter of the case and
- the court must be able to exercise control over the defendant,
- or the property involved must be located in the area under the court’s control.
The extent of the court’s control over persons and property is set by law.
Certain actions are transitory . They can be brought wherever the defendant may be found and served with a summons, and where the jurisdiction has sufficient contact with one of the parties and the incident that gave rise to the suit. An example would be a lawsuit against a business–it would probably be sufficient to file suit in any county in which the business has an operation, and not necessary to file suit in the county where it its headquartered.
Other actions – such as foreclosing on a piece of property – are local. They can be brought only in the county where the subject of the suit is located.