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Civil Procedure I
St. Johns University School of Law
Ruescher, Robert A.




· Course Outline

· Personal Jurisdiction – Can a court require a defendant to litigate in their court?

· Subject Matter Jurisdiction – Can a court hear the question at issue?

o Federal courts

§ Diversity of citizenship

§ Federal question

· Venue – at what location within a system is the appropriate court

· Conflict of laws

· Pleadings – complaint and answer

o Lists the causes of action

o Fulfill the elements of a cause of action with allegations

· Discovery – authorized gathering of info from other parties

o Deposition: a sworn statement

o Interrogatories: a written questionnaire

o Medical exams

o Documents procured

o Notices to Admit

· Summary Judgment

o No need to send to jury, because case is so weak

§ Motion made after discovery

o Different from motion to dismiss (no need to send to jury, because even if all allegations are true, there is no cause of action)

§ Motion made after pleadings

· Preclusion

o Claim: is P precluded from suing b/c already sued on same claim?

o Issue: is the point of law at issue already litigated?

· Joinder

o Applying the simple rules to multiple parties

· Class action

o Many Ps

· Personal Jurisdiction

· Can a state call a D into court?

o Two steps

§ 1.) Look at state’s long-arm statute (NY CPLR 302)

§ 2.) Is the assertion of jurisdiction by long-arm constitutional

o Some states may create a long arm that violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment

o States are courts of general jurisdiction, and can hear any case, even if participants are not related to the state (see question 5 on page 30)

· Can the Feds call a D into court?

o Yes, but limited by the FRCP

§ 4K1A: Federal courts located in state X can only assert personal jurisdiction if a state court could do so

· Pennoyer (bought land from lawyer who won it as a judgment) v Neff (original owner of land)

· The Fountain head – the first case to claim that assertions of jurisdiction by state courts are subject to review under the 14th Amendment

· Mitchell tries to sue Neff, but can’t find him

o Judge allows service by newspaper

o Mitchell wins summary judgment when Neff doesn’t show

o To execute on judgment, Mitchell “attaches” the land

o Mitchell takes title of the land and sells to Pennoyer

o Neff finally shows up and sues Pennoyer, claiming the land was wrongfully taken

· Methods of asserting jurisdiction – all flow from state having power within its borders

o 1.) D acquiesces to be sued

o 2.) D is in the state

o 3.) D is a resident of the state

o 4.) D has property in the state (in rem)

§ In rem type 1: true in rem; jurisdiction is true for the entire world (EG condemnation)

§ Quasi in rem type 1: suit is connected to the property (EG foreclosure)

§ Quasi in rem type 2: suit is unrelated to property

· Rules of asserting jurisdiction in rem

o If you seek to assert jurisdiction in rem, you must do so at the outset of the suit

§ Any judgment late is invalid, because you never had jurisdiction in the first place

o Any judgment is limited to the property

§ Can’t enforce it beyond the property, because the state’s power ends there

· SC rules for Neff, because property should have been attached at the beginning

o LC mistakenly assumed it was immaterial if attached at beginning or seized for judgment at the end

o 14th Amendment allows for review of such assertions and finds that this violated due process

· Dicta on the new rules

· Full faith and Credit rule

· A state must honor the judgment orders of another state

o As long as the initial suit in State A had appropriate jurisdiction, the judgment is enforceable in State B

§ But if State A was wrong about having jurisdiction, that B will not honor the judgment

§ Creates incentive to go to state A to contest the suit if you have a decent defense. If not, a default judgment will prevent you from ever stating the merits of your case, as the default judgment is only contestable in state B on the grounds of jurisdiction

o Exceptions where states don’t need jurisdiction, b/c it must protect its citizens

§ Personal proceedings w/o judgments against others (EG divorce)

§ A corporation that forms in a state consents to jurisdiction

· Hypo: P (NY) sues D (FL) in NY. D’s options in NY

· 1.) make a special appearance to argue “no jurisdiction”

o If D wins = dismissal

o If D loses = served on the spot

· 2.) not show up = default judgement for P

o When P goes to FL to enforce (full faith and credit), FL must enforce IF VALID

§ D will respond with a “collateral attack” on the validity, claiming no jurisdiction

o If D wins = no payment

o If D loses = pay up

§ D never gets to argue merits of case

· Hypo: P (NY) sues D (GA domiciled, but traveling) for a breach of K formed in FL

· P wants to sue in FL, but cannot unless he finds D in FL

o P serves D in


· After take over, insurance company mails a re-insurance letter, notifying insured of change in insurer

· Court ruled CA was an appropriate jurisdiction

o Q1: yes, defendant collected premium and purposefully sought out business in CA via the letter

§ Contacts are related to the suit

o Q2: yes, fair

§ CA has a state interest in protecting its citizens

§ Most evidence is in CA

· Hanson (woman creates trust in PA with a bank from DE and moves to FL)

· P argues that the facts match McGee

o IE mailed payments that related to the suit

· But the court distinguishes

o There was no “purposeful availment”

§ Trust didn’t seek business in FL, just mailed checks as it was obligated

· Gray (P in IL sues valve manufacture of component part from OH)

· Valve manufacturer claims that they only sold parts to a final manufacturer in PA

o No purposeful availment of IL laws

o But IL rules that valve maker knows the valves could be sold into IL and that he would therefore derive a benefit

· Q1: Yes…

· Q2: Yes…

· Personal Jurisdiction review

· In person / in rem via Pennoyer

o 1, 2, 3, 4

· Minimum contacts via Int’t Shoe

o Q1: minimum contacts (shoe box)

o Q2: fairness (other factors)

§ 1.) To protect D from burdens of distant litigation

§ 2.) P interest in convenient and effective relief (EG if P is in a hospital in that state)

§ 3.) Forum state interest (EG state interest in showing it enforces laws, makes highways safe, etc0

§ 4.) Interstate judicial interests (simple efficiency)

§ 5.) Interests of several states in furthering policy

· World Wide Volkswagen v Woodson (car sold in NY to NY residents, accident while driving through OK)

· Defendants

o Manufacturer (Audi) – didn’t contest b/c already had minimum contacts

o Importer (VW) – didn’t contest b/c already had minimum contacts

o Distributor (Worldwide) – contested b/c NY region only

o Retailer (Seaway) – contested b/c NY region only