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Personal Jurisdiction

Personal jurisdiction refers to a court’s power over a particular defendant or an item of property. When a court does not have personal jurisdiction over a defendant or piece of property, it cannot bind a defendant to an obligation or judge rights over a piece of property.

Different from subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction can be waived, even unintentionally, by a defendant. Subject matter jurisdiction is the power of a court to render a judgment concerning a certain subject matter. Territorial jurisdiction is the power of a court to render a judgment concerning events that occurred within a territory. Personal, territorial, and subject-matter jurisdictions, along with proper notice to the defendant, are the fundamental constitutional prerequisites for a valid judgment.

Historically in the United States in civil proceedings, the defendant or land in dispute was required to be served with process physically in the state where the court sat. This was commonly known as “tag” jurisdiction. Over the years, the reach of personal jurisdiction has been expanded by a variety of judicial interpretations and legislative enactments. States in the United States have enacted “long-arm statutes.” Long-arm statutes allow a state to exercise jurisdiction over a party located outside of the state. This is dependent on sufficient contacts with the state.

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If you have been injured by another person’s actions, contact the Wausau personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 800-242-2874 to discuss your case and to determine your legal options.