Jurisdiction of Federal Courts:

     Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction (limited power).  Generally, only two types of cases can be heard in federal court cases involving a federal question and involving diversity of citizenship of the parties. [1]

Federal-Question Jurisdiction – the exercise of federal-court power over claims arising under the U.S. Constitution, an act of Congress, or a treaty.

Diversity Jurisdiction – the jurisdiction of a federal court over all civil actions involving diversity of citizenship (wherein the parties involved are from different states (or foreign states)) and the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

References:

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[1]:  United States Courts, “Complaint for a Civil Case, Form Number: Pro Se 1,” page 3: http://www.uscourts.gov/forms/pro-se-forms/complaint-civil-case

     Above abridged definitions extrapolated from the following law dictionaries:

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