Litigation 101 for eDiscovery Tech Professionals: The very beginning…

By: Jane Gennarelli

** This blog series is intended to introduce new eDiscovery professionals to the litigation process and litigation terminology. Click here and here to go to the first two posts in the series.**


Once a party decides to initiate a lawsuit, one of the first things that counsel will determine is jurisdiction —  that is, what court has the authority to hear and decide the case.  There are several types of jurisdiction and many factors that come into play, but let me give you two examples to give you a general understanding:

  • Subject matter jurisdiction: Certain types of cases go to specialized courts with limited jurisdiction.  For example, only a probate court has the authority to decide cases involving wills.  A couple of other examples are family courts and bankruptcy courts.  Courts that do not cover specialized topics have general jurisdiction.
  • Personal jurisdiction:  This refers to a court’s authority over the parties to the lawsuit and is often tied to geography and the body of law that is applicable. For example, burglary is a crime against the state, so most often it will be heard in State court rather than in Federal court.  And, the state court that has jurisdiction is probably the state in which the crime was committed.

Jurisdiction is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it determines what rules must be followed in the litigation — referred to as the Rules of Civil Procedure for civil lawsuits.  A case heard in Federal Court will follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP).  Each state has it’s own set of rules for how a case will be litigated, but most are closely modeled on the FRCP.  We’ll talk more about Rules of Civil Procedure in a later post in this series.  It’s important, however, that counsel is familiar with the rules that will be applied in the court in which the lawsuit is filed.

Once jurisdiction is determined, there is also a question of venue – which in simple terms means location.  For example, once its determined that the State of NY has jurisdiction over a case, will the case be heard in a state court in NYC? Albany? Buffalo?  The specific location is the venue, and venue is often determined based on what place has the most interest in the incident (for example, where the parties are located or where an incident took place).

In the next post, we’ll cover the first action that’s taken to initiate a case.  Please let us know if there are specific areas you’d like to see covered.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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About the Bloggers

Brad Jenkins

Brad Jenkins, President and CEO of CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years of experience leading customer focused companies in the litigation support arena. Brad has authored many articles on litigation support issues, and has spoken before national audiences on document management practices and solutions.

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Doug Austin

Doug Austin, Professional Services Manager for CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years experience providing legal technology consulting and technical project management services to numerous commercial and government clients. Doug has also authored several articles on eDiscovery best practices.

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Jane Gennarelli

Jane Gennarelli is a principal of Magellan’s Law Corporation and has been assisting litigators in effectively handling discovery materials for over 30 years. She authored the company’s Best Practices in a Box™ content product and assists firms in applying technology to document handling tasks. She is a known expert and often does webinars and presentations for litigation support professionals around the country. Jane can be reached by email at

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