By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights
Suing another Jew in arka’os shel goyim (a non-Jewish court) is a very serious aveirah (transgression), unless one has received explicit permission to do so from a Beis Din in accordance with the guidelines of Shulchan Aruch.
A holech l’arkaos (an individual who goes to a non-Jewish court) may not be a shliach tzibbur (lead the prayers in shul) nor receive an aliyah (be called up to the Torah).
The Torah states about such people, “Kimat she’einam nimnin b’adas Yisroel.” (It’s almost as if they are not counted in [considered a part of] the Congregation of Israel.)
Even if the defendant chooses a Beis Din that they are not entitled to using, it still does not justify the plaintiff taking another Yid to arkaos shel goyim.
Any monetary compensation that the secular court orders the defendant to pay – unless payment is in accordance with the Torah ruling – is considered geneivah (theft).
In case a person uses that money to be mekadesh (betroth) a woman, she is not considered mekudeshes (betrothed).
Furthermore, the plaintiff is required to reimburse all of the defendant’s expenses, including hotzaos hameilitz (attorney’s fees).
If the defendant did not hire an attorney, and perhaps lost the case because of that, the plaintiff may not say, “Well, you should have hired someone to defend you.”
Regardless of the circumstances, a plaintiff who goes to secular court without permission from a Beis Din has to pay all of the expenses incurred by the defendant.