The recent attention of Legionnaires cases arising out of the VA raises a significant issue with regard to what courts actually hear Legionnaires Disease claims.
State or Federal Court?
As in most injury cases, the most likely court to file a lawsuit is in State court of the local County or Parish. While it may be that the local grocery may be responsible for an exposure, the most common defendants will be large national or international corporations, which create the possibility of a change in the court that hears the case.
The filing of a lawsuit in either State or Federal court should be weighed with the access to discovery, the favorable nature of the local state court, and the speed of the court’s docket. One may file a suit in State court, only to be met with a removal of that case to Federal Court. Hotels, national grocery chains, restaurants, will most likely be located in another state, which allows the defendant to remove the case to Federal court at their choosing.
Cases involving the Veterans Administration (VA) will in all likelihood be filed or removed to Federal court as the VA is a Federal entity with little connection to a State court jurisdiction. In the event that a Legionnaires case arises out of an exposure from a VA hospital the most prudent approach is to initially file in Federal court, and avoid any unnecessary delay; or even worse the possibility of a jurisdictional challenge to the lawsuit that could result in a dismissal.