Change of Venue in Business Lawsuit

December 6, 2010

I occasionally get calls from businesses outside of the Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest area but have received a summons in Wake County, Johnston County, Harnett County or other areas of the Triangle. These small business owners want to know if they can change the venue where the civil litigation is to be held – preferably to the county that they reside in.

Generally, North Carolina allows plaintiffs to file their lawsuit in any county where any of the plaintiffs or defendants resides. Residence is determined by where the business is located, maintains a place of business, or is regularly engaged in carrying out their business. The primary exception to this general rule is that actions involve a piece of property generally will be tried in the county where that property is located. There are other exceptions to this rule that may arise that a business lawyer will be able to identify depending on the type of civil claim filed.

Can the venue be changed if the Plaintiffs file in their home county – a county in which you, the defendant small business, have no contacts? North Carolina law allows for a change in venue where the convenience of witnesses and the ends of justice would be promoted by the change. This will be determined on a case by case basis.

Of course, the rules on venue do not preclude out of state businesses from defending lawsuits based on lack of jurisdiction; where a defendant contends that the state of North Carolina does not have the authority to hear a lawsuit against them. However, with the modern global internet-based economy, it is becoming increasingly difficult to claim that your business has no ties with a state if your business attempts to market there or sells your product there.

Have you been sued in Wake County, Johnston County, Granville County or another county near Raleigh or Clayton? Contact Maginnis Law, PLLC to discuss whether or not it is possible that the case can be moved back to your home county or state. If the case must remain here in the Triangle region, Maginnis Law, PLLC is a full-service civil litigation firm with a business law attorney capable of handling your matter. Contact the firm at 919.526.0450 to discuss your claim or visit our website at www.maginnislaw.com for more information.

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