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Civil Procedure I
St. Johns University School of Law
Cavanagh, Edward D.

Civil Procedure Outline
Fall 2012
Prof. Cavanagh
I.                   Justiciability- This is the threshold which each dispute must pass before the more specific question of which court may hear it can be addressed.
a.       Can the dispute be adjudicated at all?
II.                Not Justiciable
a.       Political Question- the dispute does not lend itself to resolution by resort to reasonably definite legal standards.
                                                              i.      Ex: referee makes a bad (forgets to give the winning team a first down on a penalty) call and the π(winning team) lost the football game. Parents of the players brought suit. This case is not justiciable b/c the law in sports is what the referee says. Courts can only entertain cases which can be resolved through the legal system. (Georgia High School v. Waddell)
1.      Article III §2- courts can only hear cases of controversy; can’t give advisory opinions; Can’t hear cases from different branches of the government.
b.      Friendly Suits- one party supporting another
                                                              i.      When there is no adversary 
III.             Mootness
a.       Courts will not entertain a case that no longer has a controversy. The issue is already settled.
                                                              i.      Ex: : π applied to Wash law school but was denied. π alleged he was denied b/c of his race. Case went to court and by the time it reached the US SC π was in his third year of law school (law review) and both sides decided he could finish so a legal resolution was not necessary anymore. (DeFunis v. Odegaard)
1.      Dissent: what if the π got sick in his final semester? Then could Wash law kick him out. Yes they could have, therefore there was no mootness? Seems the US SC avoided that issue.
IV.              Advisory Opinion
a.       Courts will not entertain giving advice, they can only entertain judicial controversies.
V.                Standing
a.       Rule: Must have a stake in the litigation.(You are the one who is hurt).
                                                              i.      Ex: POWER tried to register voters inside of waiting rooms of the labor offices b/c it was very cold outside. The state refused to let them do so. POWER sued under the 1st Amendment. Standing is a prerequisite for a dispute – the injury sought must support a federal court action under traditional principles of common law or equity. B/c POWER didn’t assert that they lost voters or that their members were unable to represent themselves, POWER is not the proper π. They weren’t the injured party or have a stake in the litigation (POWER v. Thompson).
VI.             Ripeness
a.       Rule: Case that is not yet ready for adjudication.
                                                              i.      Ex: Filing an action that a statute is unconstitutional before the statute has been enforced. Courts may not hear a case like that because it is not yet ripe for adjudication.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
I.                   State Court
a.       General Jurisdiction: state courts can usually hear any case that comes in
b.      Can’t hear Anti-trust, patent, copyright, admiralty, and bankruptcy cases. 
II.                Federal Court
a.       Limited Jurisdiction- subject matter jurisdiction can’t be waived. Two parties can’t just bring suit to federal court. Must have statutory right.
b.      Procedural Process for Jurisdiction
                                                              i.      party wanting to invoke jurisdiction in federal court has burden of proving jurisdiction
                                                            ii.      court can raise objection to subject matter jurisdiction at any time in the proceeding, or at any level of the court
                                                          iii.      If no subject matter jurisdiction then the case must go somewhere else, doesn’t mean you go without a remedy
III.             Diversity
a.       What is the purpose of diversity?
                                                              i.      π (NJ) v. ∆ (NY) would there be a bias on the jury/court for the ∆ if the case was brought in NY? This is the only argument we have
                                                            ii.      Maybe you get better justice in the federal courts?? State judges are elected; federal judges are appointed and approved by the senate. This eliminates prejudicial judges – bad argument
                                                          iii.      Some people like the flexibility of the Federal Rules of Civ. Pro.
b.      §1332 Requirements
                                                              i.      The amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
1.      Purpose to prevent federal courts from hearing non important cases. However, $75k+ is easy to prove.
a.       Rules of aggregation- all the claims total to 75K
                                                            ii.      Complete Diversity
1.      Every π must be a citizen of different state from Δ. Each person concerned in the interest must be competent to sue or liable to be sued, in those courts.
2.      Newman-Green v. Alejandro → π(Illinois) v. ∆(4 Venezuelan citizens + U.S. citizen but domiciled in Venezuela “stateless”)
9  each person must meet the requirements of the diversity statute, Bettison is not a U.S. citizen, thus not a foreigner, thus no diversity, case dismissed
                                                          iii.      Rules on Domicile
1.      Persons → can only have one domicile. Requirements:
a.       Actual presence at one time in the place said to be the domicile – so you live there and regard it as your present home (It’s the place at which a person maintains a physical).
                                                                                                                                      i.      Also, if you DON’T intend to make anywhere else your home, your domicile is wh

n Jurisdiction is only where the federal issue appears to on the face of the well-pleaded complaint
1.      Ex: π’s were injured on the ∆’s railroad when a collision occurred. They entered a K, π agreed to release liability and ∆ agreed to give the π free R.R. passes for life. Then Congress passed a statute which forbids free passes of transportation. ∆ canceled the passes and π sues for breach of K (state law claim). Cannot get into Federal court if the suit does not arise out of the π’s statement of his own c/a. It is not enough that the π anticipated the ∆’s defense to be invalid due to a provision in the US Constitution, even if it’s likely to occur. (Louisville R.R. v. Mottley)
                                                          iii.      Grable v. Darue → Darue removed a state case to federal court b/c it depended on the interpretation of the notice statute in federal tax law. (substantial federal interest). Supreme Court Affirmed.
                                                          iv.      Other Sources of Federal Jurisdiction
1.      § 1337 – Antitrust
2.      § 1338 – Patent
3.      § 1343 – Civil Rights
4.      § 1345/1346 – U.S. is a party
d.      §1335 Interpleader- dealing with banks or trusts or  a sum of money.
1.      Interpleader – a suit to determine a right to a property held by a 3rd party who is in doubt about the ownership and deposits the property into court and permits the parties to litigate over the property (helps prevent insurance companies from paying twice)
a.       The stakeholder initiates Interpleader to avoid multiple liability and determine ownership
b.      Amount in controversy – value of $500 or more
2.      State Farm v. Tashire → we need minimal diversity: any π must be diverse from any ∆; doesn’t matter if other claimants may be co-citizens
a.      π(MI)(CA)(CA) v. ∆(CA) = GOOD
b.      π(CA)(CA) v. ∆(CA)(CA) = NO DIVERSITY
3.      Interpleader is not unconstitutional b/c Strawbridge only construed “the words of the act of congress” Article III poses no obstacle to the legislative extension of federal jurisdiction, as long as any two adverse parties are not co-citizens
4.      The judgment need not be made before the party invokes the Interpleader statute. This is to prevent the 1st claimant who obtains such a judgment to not appropriate all or a disproportionate slice of the funds. This is the exact unfairness the Interpleader statute was intended to remedy