Amount in Controversy

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Amount in Controversy

The value of the relief demanded or the amount of monetary damages claimed in a lawsuit.

Some courts have jurisdiction, or the power to hear cases, only if the amount in controversy is more or less than an amount specified by law. For example, federal district courts can hear lawsuits concerning questions of federal law andcontroversies between citizens of different states, but they can do this only if the amount in controversy is more than $50,000. Some lower-level state courts, such as those that hear small claims, have no authority to hear controversies involving more than certain maximum amounts.

When the amount in controversy determines the court's authority to hear a particular case, it may also be called the jurisdictional amount.