Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Florida

I live in California and am being sued civilly by someone in Florida can I be forced to go to Florida to defend myself?

Asked on 8/25/13, 4:22 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Byron Petersen Byron G. Petersen P.A.
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From Florida Attorney Byron Petersen:

You ignore the Florida law suit at your own peril. An order might be entered against you in Florida which would then prompt your adversary to seek you out in California in order to "domesticate" the order against you, asking the California court- in the process- to permit your claimant to chase you in California.

There are limited circumstances where a Florida court may have the "power" (the "jurisdiction"), to enter an order against you. For example, committing a tort or similar wrong- even business wrongs- in Florida or, for example, a suit based on wrongs committed out of state but damaging a Florida resident, in state. Also of course, if you resided in Florida at the time of the alleged wrong, a Florida law suit can be entertained against you.

Your question cannot be adequately addressed without a review of the Florida court filing(s) and a conference with a Florida attorney. In closing, I would note that if the Florida court acts wrongfully in enforcing a suit against you, a California Court (under extremely restrictive circumstances) might consider the Florida action void- but that is usually an uphill battle. The courts in one state usually bend over backwards to honor court decisions in other states. This is what lawyers and judges refer to as "comity". For advice concerning California law on the enforcement of foreign (Florida) orders/judgments you will need to contact a California attorney.

Good Luck. Byron Petersen

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8/25/13, 4:56 pm
Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary
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You cannot be forced to go to Florida, but if the lawsuit establishes a basis for the suit then you can have a judgment entered against you in Florida. As Mr Peterson points out that can end with a Judgment being enforced in California. Seek legal guidance.

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8/26/13, 4:56 am

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