Updated on February 26, 2022
When a person lives in, or even travels to California, he or she is governed by multiple sets of laws. For example, an incident occurring in Los Angeles County may give rise to claims under United States (“Federal”) law, California law, and/or one or more local municipal ordinances. Indeed, the interrelationship amongst the various laws derives its own complex and convoluted web of laws. However, potential clients often ask a simple question that has a relatively simple answer:
In California, can a person bring a claim under a Federal statute in State court? The simple answer is yes, with exceptions.
California courts are courts of “general jurisdiction” and have what is called “subject matter jurisdiction” over all categories of actions arising under State and Federal law. Generally, this means a California plaintiff may bring a claim under a Federal statute in State Court. For example, a plaintiff in California could bring a claim in State court against a defendant for a defendant’s violation of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. (Pfeifer v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th125.) Indeed, the Consumer Credit Protection Act is a Federal Statute.
However, there are limits to California courts’ subject matter jurisdiction over Federal laws. For example, a Federal Statute may expressly give the federal government exclusive jurisdiction over litigation related to the statute. In this event, if a plaintiff filed an action under such a statute, the plaintiff’s action would be susceptible to being thrown out of State court or removed to Federal court.
The California real estate attorneys at Schorr Law have years of experience litigating real estate cases in both State and Federal Court. To that end, the specific performance attorneys at Schorr Law will be able to analyze all applicable laws and help you find the correct venue for your real property action. Contact Schorr law for your free consultation today.