Part 1 – Louisiana Venue Analysis: What Is Venue, When Is It Proper, and Why Does it Matter in Litigation?
One of the choices that litigants have to make when they file a lawsuit is where to bring their case. Where a lawsuit is filed is called venue, i.e., plaintiffs must choose the venue to bring their claim before the courts. Venue is an important aspect of a lawsuit because where a case is brought could have an impact on the chances of success for a particular party. Some venues may hold vastly different opinions or positions than another venue, which can influence the court’s decision in a case.
Knowing some background information about a particular venue can help litigants determine what strategies might work best for their particular circumstances or whether their position will be treated more favorably in one venue over another. Kristin M. Lausten has prepared a venue analysis map for Louisiana. As demonstrated on the map, some venues are more defense oriented, while others tend to favor plaintiffs.
Venue Rules in Louisiana
A lawsuit cannot be filed in just any venue – the venue must be proper. A venue is presumed to be proper simply by the fact that the plaintiff filed their lawsuit in a specific venue or parish, and it is up to the defense to challenge venue if the venue is inappropriate. However, there are many rules in Louisiana about when a venue is proper in civil suits. In Louisiana, the general rules of venue are as follows:
- An action brought against an individual as the defendant must be brought in the venue where the defendant lives or resides.
- An action brought against a domestic corporation, insurer or limited liability company must be brought in the venue where the entity has its registered office.
- An action brought against a domestic partnership or unincorporated entity must be brought in the venue where the principal business establishment is located.
- An action brought against a foreign corporation or limited liability company that is licensed to do business in the state must be brought in the venue where the entity has a primary business office.
- For tort actions, venue is also proper for the parish where the damages were incurred or where the wrongful conduct occurred.
- When a lawsuit involves a piece of real property, the venue could be the parish where all or part of the land is located.
- There are a number of other situations where proper venue depends on the type of claim that is being brought.
There are also additional rules for when the entity that is being sued is a foreign entity that is not licensed to do business in Louisiana, and an experienced lawyer can help figure out which venue is appropriate after discussing the situation with you.
The purpose of venue rules is to make sure that the plaintiff does not deliberately choose an inconvenient or unfair venue for the defendant, i.e., the plaintiff cannot choose a venue that is difficult or too remote for the defendant to get to. While there are a number of rules governing where lawsuits can be filed, there are many situations where litigants have some flexibility when it comes to choosing their venue. Venue is almost as important as the underlying facts that support the case.
If you have a civil suit and need help choosing the venue that is most to your advantage, you should consult with an experienced Louisiana litigation lawyer.
This article is provided as an educational service for general informational purposes only. The material does not constitute legal advice or rendering of professional services.