Text Size -A+

Cases in Federal and State Courts

Find out what types of cases are heard in federal courts and state courts. How are they different? How are they similar?

State Courts Federal Courts State or Federal Courts

Crimes under state legislation.

State constitutional issues and cases involving state laws or regulations.

Family law issues.

Real property issues.

Most private contract disputes (except those resolved under bankruptcy law).

Most issues involving the regulation of trades and professions.

Most professional malpractice issues.

Most issues involving the internal governance of business associations such as partnerships and corporations.

Most personal injury lawsuits.

Most workers' injury claims.

Probate and inheritance matters.

Most traffic violations and registration of motor vehicles.

Crimes under statuses enacted by Congress.

Most cases involving federal laws or regulations (for example: tax, Social Security, broadcasting, civil rights).

Matters involving interstate and international commerce, including airline and railroad regulation.

Cases involving securities and commodities regulation, including takeover of publicly held corporations.

Admiralty cases.

International trade law matters.

Patent, copyright, and other intellectual property issues.

Cases involving rights under treaties, foreign states, and foreign nationals.

State law disputes when "diversity of citizenship" exists.

Bankruptcy matters.

Disputes between states.

Habeas corpus actions.

Traffic violations and other misdemeanors occurring on certain federal property.

Crimes punishable under both federal and state law.

Federal constitutional issues.

Certain civil rights claims.

"Class action" cases.

Environmental regulations.

Certain disputes involving federal law.