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Civil Procedure II
Santa Clara University School of Law
Russell, Margaret M.

DUE PROCESS AND THE DUAL COURT SYSTEM: A FIRST LOOK AT SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION AND VENUE

I. A Dual Court System

o State courts

1. Courts of general jurisdiction.

2. Under the Tenth Amendment, all powers not expressly given to the federal government are reserved to the states and to the people.

o Federal courts

1. Courts of limited jurisdiction.

2. Federal judiciary has only as much power as the Constitution allows.

o State courts have broader subject matter jurisdiction than do federal courts.

Legislative Authority- Federal v. State

Congress has power over national concerns set forth by Article I of Constitution.

i. Interstate commerce, money, naturalization, post offices, roads, etc.

ii. Commerce clause is the most significant basis of congressional action.

Congress is not obligated to exercise its power to legislate in an authorized area of concern at all times.
Supremacy Clause (Article VI): When state and federal law conflict, federal law trumps state law.
Federal law may preempt state law

i. Where there is congressional intent to do so OR

ii. Where there is compelling reason not to allow both federal and state standards to control that subject.

Federal Judicial Authority

Article III of Constitution, §1: Congress’s power to establish the “inferior” federal courts.

i. U.S. Supreme Court is only court not subject to congressional discretion.

Article III of Constitution, §2: Major areas of subject matter jurisdiction for federal courts.

i. Diversity jurisdiction- “citizens of different states”

1. At least one of the plaintiffs is from a different state than at least one of the defendant or adverse party.

2. Complete diversity of all plaintiffs from all defendants is not constitutionally required.

ii. Federal question jurisdiction- “arising under the Constitution, laws of the U.S., and Treaties made”

1. Federal law is an ingredient of the dispute (need not be central)

Supplemental jurisdiction- Article III permits federal courts to hear state law claims even when they arise between citizens of the same state, provided state law claims “grow out of a common nucleus of operative facts” as a claim that meets Article III requirements.
Statutory power of the federal courts has been construed to be much narrower than the constitutional potential power described above.

II. Federal Diversity Jurisdiction

1. Determining Diversity of Citizenship

a. 28 U.S.C. §1332: Federal courts exercise jurisdiction where action is between citizens of different states AND the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.

b. If plaintiff chooses federal court over state court, the defendant move the case to federal court provided defendant is not resident of the state in which the original action was filed AND all other requirements of removal are met.

c. Requirements of modern diversity statute

i. Complete diversity (Nondiverse plaintiff allowed to be tacked on though not a nondiverse defendant).

ii. Amount in controversy may sometimes be satisfied by aggregating claims within the lawsuit.

1. Calculating value of injunction (if requested over money damages)

a. Value of the injunction to the plaintiff

b. Cost of complying with the injunction for the defendant

c. If either (above) exceeds $75,000, jurisdiction allowed.

d. Mas (P) v. Perry (D) (D was landlord of P was peeping on them)

A change of domicile: (1) taking up residence in a different domicile with (2) the intention to remain there

Not sa

tizen of Ohio. P had an opportunity to present facts.

Judgment dismissing the complaint for want of jurisdiction is valid because P did not provide sufficient evidence regarding his citizenship.

2. Current Controversies

a. Arguments for and against retaining federal diversity jurisdiction.

Proponents

Opponents

1. State court trial not fair

2. Diversity cases keep federal judges up to date on state statutory and common law.

3. Relieves the caseloads of state courts (backlog).

4. State judges tainted by politics (because they are voted in).

5. Federal judges are better trained and more objective.

6. Rules and procedures of the federal court are the same throughout the country.

1. No evidence that state court trial is not fair.

2. State courts lose opportunity to upgrade and reform state law.

3. Ease the burden of the federal courts.

4. State boundaries are meaningless in global world.

b. Proposed solutions

i. Eliminate jurisdiction based on subject matter (i.e. personal injury).

ii. Multiparty, multiforum federal court jurisdiction.

c. Effect of opponents prevailing.

i. Diversity statute has been amended to increase the amount in controversy necessary to qualify for federal court jurisdiction.ii. Court unwilling to expand scope of diversity jurisdiction by allowing nondiverse parties to tack themselves on to suit between diverse parties.