Edited by Albert A. Foer and Jonathan W. Cuneo
Chapter 7: Initiation of a Private Claim
Michael D. Hausfeld1 Introduction Although the initiation of a private claim in the United States appears relatively straightforward – a plaintiff prepares, files, and serves a complaint – this process actually involves a number of important choices on the part of a litigant: ● ● ● ● ● Should the case be in court at all, or is some alternative forum preferable? This chapter discusses options such as complaining to the Federal Trade Commission or Department of Justice, pursuing arbitration, or attempting to negotiate a pre-litigation settlement. If the dispute or claim is to be in court, should it be filed in state or federal court? This chapter provides an overview of why one or the other might be more appropriate. What venue should be selected? This chapter explores requirements for jurisdiction and venue, the role of the multidistrict litigation process, and considerations about when to invoke the process and what factors to emphasize. Are US courts even available? This chapter examines limitations on the right of foreign plaintiffs to take advantage of the US court system. What are the procedural requirements for initiating a claim? This chapter concludes by summarizing the necessary contents of a complaint and the rules of service. Considering alternatives to courts Before initiating a private claim, an injured party may consider several alternatives to filing suit in court. Possibilities include lodging complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice or state regulators, seeking arbitration or engaging in pre-litigation settlement negotiations. Federal Trade Commission The Federal Trade Commission was initially established...
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