Deciding Where To File

Learn how to figure out which court in Nevada has the power to decide your case (or in legal speak, the court that has “jurisdiction”) and where you must file your court documents.


Overview

Before you can file a court case, you must decide which court to file in. Different courts in Nevada have the power to hear different types of cases. If you file your case in the wrong court, it could get dismissed.

You will need to answer a couple of questions, which are discussed below:

  1. Is there any court in Nevada that can exercise power over the person or business I want to sue?
  2. Which court in Nevada (justice or district) has the power to decide the kind of case I want to file?
  3. If a Nevada justice or district court can decide my case, in what county or city can I file? 


Q&A: Jurisdiction And Venue


Is there any court in Nevada that can exercise power over the person or business I want to sue?

To sue someone in Nevada, a Nevada court has to have power over that person. In legal speak, it must be able to “exercise jurisdiction” over your defendant.

If you are suing a person who lives in Nevada, it is pretty safe to assume that a Nevada court has jurisdiction. Similarly, if you are suing a business that is located in Nevada, a Nevada court likely has jurisdiction.

But if the person or business you are suing is located outside Nevada, the “jurisdiction” question gets complicated. Generally, you would need to show that the nonresident defendant has had enough contact with Nevada that they could reasonably expect to be sued here. The defendant’s contacts with Nevada could be substantial and continuous and totally unrelated to your dispute. Or defendant’s contacts could be more limited, but purposeful and affirmative and directly tied to your dispute. As long as you can demonstrate enough contact with Nevada, then a Nevada court can exercise jurisdiction over your nonresident defendant. (E.g., NRS 14.065; Arbella Mutual Ins. Co. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 122 Nev. 509, 134 P.3d 710 (2006).)

If you have doubts about whether a Nevada court will be able to exercise jurisdiction over the person you want to sue, talk to an attorney. Click to visit Lawyers and Legal Help.

Which court in Nevada (justice or district) has the power to decide the kind of case I want to file?

Different courts in Nevada have the power to hear different types of cases. You need to file your case in the court that has the power to hear it.

In Nevada, there are:

  • Justice Courts

Justice courts have limited jurisdiction and can hear only particular types of cases. There is a justice court for each of the townships in Clark County. To learn more about the types of cases justice courts can hear, click to visit Justice Courts.

If you are suing for money, you can file in a justice court only if you are suing for $10,000 or less. (NRS 4.370.)

If you are suing for $7,500 or less, the justice court still has jurisdiction, but you can choose to file a small claims case if you want to simplify the process. To learn more, click to visit Overview of Small Claims.

  • District Courts

District courts have general jurisdiction and can decide most types of cases that come in front of them (and all cases that are outside the jurisdiction of the justice court). There are ten district courts in Nevada, organized by county. The district court for Clark County is the Eighth Judicial District Court. To learn more about the district court, click to visit District Court.

If you are suing for money, you can file in the district court if you are suing for $10,000 or more.

For court location and contact information, click to visit Find My Court or go to the home page and use the “Find A Court Location” function.

If a Nevada justice or district court can decide my case, in what county or city should I file?

  • If you are suing because someone breached a contract, you file your case in the county (or city, if justice court) where the person you are suing lives or where they were supposed to perform the contract. (NRS 13.010(1); NRS 66.020(2),(7).)
  • If you are suing over “real property” (a building or land), file your case in the county where the property is located. (NRS 13.010(2).)
  • If you are suing a public officer for official actions, file your case in the county (or city, if justice court) where the incident you are suing over occurred. (NRS 13.020(2).)
  • If you are suing the State of Nevada for a “tort” (a personal injury, for example), file your case in the county where the incident occurred or in Carson City. (NRS 13.020(3).)
  • If you are suing a county, file your case in the district court for that county. (NRS 13.030.)
  • If you are suing in justice court because of any injury to a person or property, file your case in the township where the injury occurred or where the defendant lives. (NRS 66.010(3).)
  • If you are suing in justcie court for the recovery of property or its value, file in the township where the property is currently located, where it was taken, or where the defendant lives. (NRS 66.010(4).)
  • In other cases where you are suing a defendant who lives in Nevada, file your case in the county (or city, if justice court) where the defendant currently lives. (NRS 13.040; NRS 66.010(9).)
  • In other cases where you are suing a defendant who lives outside Nevada, you can file your case in whatever county (or city, if justice court) you choose. (NRS 13.040; NRS 66.010(6).)

There may be a statute that governs where your particular type of case must be filed. For example, there are statutes for adult adoption (NRS 127.210), guardianship (NRS 159.037, .039), mechanic’s liens (NRS 108.239), and paternity (NRS 126.091), among others.

If you are unsure about where to file your case, talk to an attorney. Click to visit Lawyers and Legal Help.

For court location and contact information, click to visit Find My Court or go to the home page and use the “Find A Court Location” function.