Can a Non-US Citizen File a Lawsuit in Oklahoma?
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If you are not a US citizen, and you want to file a lawsuit, you may wonder: Can a non-US citizen file a lawsuit in Oklahoma?
The answer is a resounding, YES.
The Oklahoma Rules of Civil Procedure govern lawsuits in Oklahoma state courts. Section 2017 of these Rules, says,
“Except as otherwise provided by law, any person, corporation, partnership, or unincorporated association shall have capacity to sue or be sued in this state.”
Note the words of this statute: “any person” may sue or be sued in Oklahoma. It says “any person,” not “any citizen.”
There is no law, elsewhere, that prohibits a non-US citizen from suing in Oklahoma. So, the words, “Except as otherwise provided by law” do not prohibit a non-citizen from suing in Oklahoma, either.
You don’t even have to be legally present in the U.S. to file a lawsuit in Oklahoma, either. Although the state legislature has passed certain laws restricting what illegal immigrants can do in Oklahoma, none of these laws prohibit an illegal immigrant from filing a lawsuit. Moreover, if you file a lawsuit, the court is not required to check your immigration status. (If you have been charged with a felony, or with driving under the influence, and are confined in jail, the keeper of the jail must check your immigration status. However, this law applies only to criminal cases; it does not require anyone to check your immigration status if you file a civil case. Click here to see the difference between a criminal and a civil case.)
A non-US citizen, living in Oklahoma, may file a lawsuit in federal court as well. Federal law provides that
“Capacity to sue or be sued [in federal court] is determined as follows:
(1) for an individual who is not acting in a representative capacity, by the law of the individual's domicile;”
So, the law of your domicile determines whether you can sue or be sued in federal court. If you live in Oklahoma, the law of Oklahoma determines whether you can sue or be sued in federal court. Because Oklahoma law says that a non-citizen (even one not legally present) may sue or be sued, a non-citizen living in Oklahoma, may sue or be sued in federal court.
The bottom line: If you are not a US citizen, you may file a lawsuit in Oklahoma. If you have other questions about filing a lawsuit, or about your rights in general, contact our office today.