What Court Do I File a Complaint in for Property Damage by a Utility Company?

Full Question:

I am requesting information for my son who lives in Tampa.He is in a quandry with the local electric provider concerning destruction of his property by one of their power poles.The pole fell on his vehicle while it was parked in his space at his apartment. The electric company is only willing to pay the minimum 'blue book' amount for the total destruction of his vehicle. This was a special four wheel drive (Needed for his work)that he was in process of restoring (to the tune of approximately $15,000.00 with receipts )It appears as though he will have to file this in court in order to get what is needed for replacement. I understand that there are different courts in which to file. My question is exactly that ... What court should he take his information to and file against this company? ... and Can he do this in the state of Florida without an attorney?
03/28/2010   |   Category: Venue   |   State: Texas   |   #21563

Answer:

Venue is the local area in which a court, that has jurisdiction, may try a case. Jurisdiction is the geographical area within which a court has the right and power to operate. A court system may have jurisdiction to take a case in a wide geographical area, but the proper venue for the case may be one place within that area for the convenience of the parties. Jurisdiction is subject to fixed rules; however, venue is often left to the discretion of the judge.

Venue is the legally proper or most convenient place where a particular case should be filed or handled. Every state has rules determining the proper venue for different types of lawsuits. Normally, the venue in a criminal case is the judicial district or county where the crime was committed. The state, county or district in which a lawsuit is filed or a hearing or trial in that action is conducted is called the forum. For various reasons either party to a lawsuit or prosecution may move (ask) for a change of venue, which is up to the discretion of a judge in the court where the case or prosecution was originally filed. Reasons for such a request may include a clause in a contract stating that any action must be brought in a certain other venue, or pretrial publicity may be claimed to have tainted the potential jurors in that venue from rendering an impartial judgment.

Subject matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear the type of case brought before it. It is jurisdiction over the type of claim brought by the plaintiff. For example, a small claims court only has subject matter jurisdiction of claims up to a certain dollar amount. Federal courts have jurisdiction over claims involving federal laws. The answer will depend on the nature of the claims involved, such as whether it is based upon breach or an employment contract or state or federal discrimination laws are involved. Subject matter jurisdiction refers to the power of the court to hear the issues involved in the case. Generally, if federal laws are involved, the lawsuit is brought in a federal court. If the claim only involves an employment contract or state laws, then a state court would have jurisdiction. I suggest you contact a local attorney who review all the facts and documents involved.

In Florida, cases claiming not more than $5,000, a complaint may be filed in small claims court. If the damages claimed are higher, a civil complaint may be filed in the civil court in the county where the accident occurred or where the defendant does business. The jurisdiction of county courts extends to civil disputes involving $15,000 or less. The trial jurisdiction of circuit courts includes, among other matters, original jurisdiction over civil disputes involving more than $15,000. A person may file a claim pro se (without an attorney) for a civil claim involving property damage in any of these courts.


See also:

http://www.flcourts.org/
http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/self_help/smallclaims.shtml