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Civil Procedure I
St. Johns University School of Law
Ward, Ettie

Civil Procedure Fall 2009
 
 
 
JUSTICIABILITY
 Can a court hear this matter?
§     Can be raised sua sponte
 
I.      CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITATIONS
A.    Justiciability Doctrines
1.      Political Question
a.       Type of issue: linked to separation of powers
                                                                                            i.            Cudahy v. Quirk
–      parties try to use courts to enforce wager about fluoride
–      it is not necessarily the issue, but the context in which an issue is presented to court that may not be justiciable (may be better in hands of legislature)
2.      Standing
a.       Who can sue?
                                                                                            i.            Article III limits judicial power to cases or controversies
–      Constitutional requirements:
§     Actual Injury
§     Particular Injury
§     Remedy for Injury
                                                                                          ii.            P.O.W.E.R. v. Thompson
–      question of standing when π brings suit on behalf of others, although he has no injury
–      person with actual injury may be better representative
3.      Mootness
a.       Timing: too late?
                                                                                            i.            DeFunis v. Odegaard
–      Court raises issue of justiciability sua sponte because π nearly finished law school
4.      Ripeness
a.       Timing: too early?
                                                                                            i.            May be concerns about deciding controversial issue when social situation not ripe
 
5.      Abstract, hypothetical, advisory questions
 
II.      PRUDENTIAL LIMITATIONS
A.    Limitations court has put on itself on top of constitutional requirements to promote efficient use of resources
1.      No generalized grievances
2.      Zone of interest
3.      Within the statute in question
III.      JURISDICTION
A.    The power to say the law—that is, the power to affect legal interests
B.     Jurisdiction
1.      Power of the state to affect legal interest through its judicial processes
a.       Limits set by Art. III or federal courts
C.     Competence
1.      Authority given by the state (legislation or common law) to its courts or other organs to exercise this power
a.       can increase of decrease competence but cannot go outside Art. III authority
SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION
Can a federal court hear this matter?
§     Can be raised anytime sua sponte or by parties
§     Cannot be waived
§     Source: constitution (Art. III, Sec.2); statute (28 U.S.C.), common law
 
I.       COURT-MADE RESTRICTIONS
Domestic Relations Exception
1.      Federal courts cannot hear cases involving divorce, alimony, and child custody decrees
a.       Exception: intra-family torts
Abstention
1.      Appropriate to give state courts cases dealing with state constitutional law
2.      Principles of comity and deference
Generally, real-property cases
1.      i.e. mortgage foreclosures
 
II.    DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP JURISDICTION
 
28 U.S.C. §1332         Diversity of citizenship; amount in controversy; costs
(a) District Courts shall have original jurisdiction (trial level jurisdiction) in civil actions where value in controversy exceeds $75,000 and is between
1)      citizens of different States           
–      NY v. NJ
2)      citizens of a State and citizens of a foreign state
–      NY v. France
3)      citizens of different States and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state are additional parties
–      NY and France v. NJ and France
4)      a foreign state…as plaintiff and citizens of a State or of different states
–      France v. NY
 
DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP
Complete Diversity
a.       Requires that there be no citizens of the same state on both sides of a dispute
                                                                          i.      Strawbridge v. Curtiss
–      interpretation of §1332
ý NO: NY and NJ v. CA and NJ
þ YES: NY and NY v. CA and CA
2.      Who can sue?
a.       U.S. Citizen domiciled in a state
b.      Permanent resident alien: considered citizen of state where he is domiciled
                                                                          i.            Domicile
–      True, fixed and permanent home and principal establishment to which one has the intention of returning
–      More than a residence (physical presence usually required but can be argued)
3.      Who can’t sue?
a.       A U.S. citizen permanently living (domiciled) abroad
b.      A U.S. citizen with a foreign citizen v. another foreign citizen
þ YES: NY and France v. Ohio: –under (a)(3)
ý Probably NO: NY and France v. Italy: –not under (a) (2) and not under (a) (3)
 
4.      Corporations
a.       § 1332 (c) (1) — a corporation is deemed to be a citizen of
                                                                    i.            the state where it has been incorporated AND
                                                                  ii.            where it has its principal place of business
–      Courts look at
ü where the corporation performs most of its activities
ü where the corporate headquarters, board meetings, and offices are based
–      Corporations are the only type of party that can have 2 places of citizenship
5.      Unincorporated Associations
a.       You have to look at the domicile of members of the association
6.      Class Actions
a.       Determined by citizenship of the representative
7.      Legal Representatives
a.       Look to the citizenship of the represented person
8.      Manipulating Jurisdiction
a.       § 1359 Parties collusively joined or made
                                                                          i.      No jurisdiction when any party, by assignment or otherwise, has been improperly or collusively joined to invoke jurisdiction
 
AMOUNT IN CONTROVERSY OVER $75,000
Determined from what is claimed in the complaint
Legal Certainty Test
a.       Courts tend to give plaintiff the benefit of the doubt unless it is clear to a legal certainty that the claim doesn’t meet the requirement
Problem Areas
a.       Determining the monetary value of a claim is difficult with
a.       non-monetary damage claims
b.      injunction claims – value of injunctive relief to π or Δ (skyscraper example)
Aggregation of claims
a.       One π can add value of his separate claims against

expected to try them all in one proceeding?
 
 Discretionary
·         Factors in exercising discretion (some are codified in 1367(c))
ü Judicial economy, convenience, fairness
o   The time during the trial that pendent jurisdiction becomes an issue is important because courts don’t want to say “do over” and start again
ü Predominance of state issues
ü Avoiding federal decision of state issues (claim raises a novel or complex issue of State law)
ü Likelihood of jury confusion
ü Need for federal decision
ü Effect of dismissal of federal claims
o   A number of courts say that if the federal claim is dismissed before trial, the leftover state claim should be dismissed
o   UMW v. Gibbs
§ Federal question claim was dismissed on post-trial motions and only state claim was left
§ Held that although lower court could have used discretion to dismiss the claim, the circumstances showed no error in refusing to do so.
ü Something additional to bring in: Expiration of statute of limitations of state claims?
EXCEPTION: 1367(b) Codification of Kroger
ü When π brings a third party in as a second defendant in a diversity case, he must have original subject matter jurisdiction — Kroger
o   In diversity cases, §1367(b) kills supplemental jurisdiction for claims asserted by plaintiffs
§ against persons joined under Rules 14 (Impleader), 19 (Necessary and Indispensable Parties), 20 (Joinder of Parties), or 24 (Intervening Parties)
o   AND over claims asserted by parties brought in as plaintiffs under
§ (Rule 19) Necessary and Indispensable Parties and (Rule 24) Intervening Parties
 
V.      REMOVAL JURISDICTION
A.    Permits a defendant to move plaintiff’s case from state court to federal court
B.     28 U.S.C. §1441-1447
1.      §1441 Removal statute
2.      §1446 Strict procedures for removing case
C.     Removal Limitations
1.      Must have been able to be originally brought in a federal court
a.       Federal question, diversity, amount in controversy, well-pleaded complaint rules apply
2.      Only Δ may remove — All the defendants must agree to remove
3.      Limited to civil cases
4.      You can remove only from state to federal court
a.       If it should not be in federal court, it can be remanded back to state court
5.      Procedural requirements strictly enforced, i.e., time limits. If you participate in the state court case, you may be barred from removal
a.       Generally you must remove within 30 days of service of the document that makes the case removable. In most cases, time limitations are triggered when Δ is formally served (Murphy Brothers, Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc. )