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Civil Procedure I
Temple University School of Law
Sonenshein, David A.

I.       JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER (Subject-Matter Jurisdiction) – whether we are in the right court system
A.    Federal Questions
1.      28 USC § 1331 – statute that says the district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States (from Article III Section 2 of the Constitution)
2.      A federal question can be brought in a state court (concurrent jurisdiction) – there are only a few areas of exclusive federal jurisdiction
3.      Whether there is federal question jurisdiction will be decided from the face of the complaint
4.      Louisville & Nashville Railroad v. Mottley(1908)
a.       Facts
i.        The Mottleys had been given free passes for life to ride on D’s railroad
ii.      30 years later, in 1905, Congress passed an Act that restricted the railroads from giving free passes to ride on the railroad
iii.    The railroad then stopped allowing Ps to use their free pass
iv.    Ps filed a breach of contract lawsuit in federal court
v.      They brought it in federal court because P anticipated that D would use, as a defense, the Act of Congress – nothing in the complaint is about a federal issue
b.      Federal courts hear issues from federal statutes, federal constitution and treaties
c.       The Supreme Court dismisses the case because it did not arise under federal law (it was a breach of contract case)
d.      Subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and does not need to be brought up by the parties – the court can bring it up itself
e.       We look at the elements of the complaint in the complaint to determine if a case arises under federal law
i.        To allow Ps to anticipate potential defenses by Ds to get into federal court would allow federal jurisdiction by “artful pleading” which is not a “well pleaded complaint”
ii.      A well pleaded complaint will include just the elements but a badly pleaded complaint will include other things such as anticipated defenses
5.      The Holmes Test – we know a complaint contains a federal issue if the cause of action is created by a federal statute
6.      Smith v. Kansas City Title(1921)
a.       This involved a claim that was created by state law, but “arises under” a federal law because it required the determination of the meaning or application of the federal law
b.      Under the Holmes Test, this would not be a federal question because the cause of action is created by state law
c.       Because this case involves a federal question, the federal courts ought to be able to hear it
7.      In Shoshone(1900)a federally created cause of action that turned on issues of state law did not arise under federal law
8.      New Rule for Arises Under: After the filter of the well pleaded complaint rule, a claim will arise under federal law under §1331 if it (1) is created by federal law or (2) P asserts a claim for relief created by state law and a substantial disputed question of federal law is a necessary element of that claim
a.       either a federal issue creates a cause of action or the federal issue is a key component of the cause of action (before the court can decide the case it will have to make a determination about a federal issue – as in Smith)
9.      Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals v. Thompson
a.       This case is the same as Smith
b.      The question is whether the incorporation of a federal standard in a state law private action, when Congress intended that there not be a federal private action for violations of that federal standard, makes the action one “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
c.       The majority says that federal question jurisdiction would exist only if P’s right to relief depended necessarily on a substantial question of federal law
i.        Because there were multiple claims, the federal claim is not necessary for P to win so there is no federal question jurisdiction
ii.      The dissent says that the only way P could recover would be to talk about the federal issue so there is federal question jurisdiction
d.      This case adds another factor to the Smith test
e.       New Rule: After the filter of the well pleaded complaint rule, §1331 proceeds with whether the claim (1) is created by federal law or (2) P asserts a claim for relief created by state law and a substantial disputed question of federal law is a necessary element of that claim and Congress has not stipulated there is no federal private right of action
10. After Grable & Sons, whether there is a federal question jurisdiction is open to interpretation
a.       Whether Congress has stipulated that there is not a federal private right of action is only a factor, not the see all end all
b.      The Court should look to see if there is a real federal interest in the action or whether it will upset the state/federal balance
c.       Ex. federal tax law is very important and federal courts have an interest in it
d.      Therefore, the absence of a federal cause of action is not inevitably fatal to federal question jurisdiction
11. FINAL TEST – After the filter of the well pleaded complaint rule, §1331 proceeds with whether the claim is (1) created by a federal law or (2) P asserts a claim for relief created by state law and a substantial disputed question of federal law is a necessary element of that claim; whether Congress has stipulated whether there is a federal private right of action is to be taken into account
B.     Supplemental Jurisdiction
1.      28 USC §1367 is the statute for supplemental jurisdiction – two parts:
a.       Pendent jurisdiction – when P, in her complaint, appends a claim lacking an independent basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction to a claim possessing such a basis
b.      Ancillary jurisdiction – when either P or D injects a claim lacking an independent basis for jurisdiction by way of counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party complaint
2.      United Mine Workers v. Gibbs (1966)
a.       Gibbs asserted two claims – a state tort claim and a violation of a federal law
b.      UMW violated both state and federal law so Gibbs brought suit in federal court
c.       The District Court only finds for Gibbs in the state action which is affirmed
d.      The Supreme Court said it was okay for the federal court to hear the state tort claim when there is no diversity of citizenship because federal courts can hear state claims under pendent jurisdiction when there is a claim arising under federal law and the relationship between the federal and state claim made in the complaint permits the conclusion that the entire action before the court compromises but one constitutional “case.” The federal claim must have substance sufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction over the court. If considered without regard for the state or federal character of the claims, P’s claims are such that they would ordinarily be expected to be brought in one judicial proceeding, then, assuming substantiality of the federal issues, there is power in federal courts to hear the whole.
e.       Where a case has numerous claims that come from a common nucleus of operative fact and would ordinarily be decided together, then it will be considered a single case and will arise under federal law so that it can be heard by a federal court – if the claims are so related, then the federal court can hear them all, regardless of whether they are state or federal.
f.       The claims need to share facts, they do not need to be the exact same
g.      Federal courts should hear federal questions when they can – judicial eco

hich it has its principal place of business
ii.      A corporation can have only ONE principal place of business for diversity – different test to determine the location of a principal place of business:
(a)        Nerve Center test – where the corporate headquarters and the important decisions are made
(b)        Operating Assets test – greater weight is attached to the location of a corporation’s production or service activities
iii.    Unions take the citizenship of all its members
4.      Amount in Controversy – the amount in controversy must be greater than the statutory amount in order for a federal court to hear a case between citizens of different states
a.       St. Paul Indemnity v. Red Cab Co. (1938)
i.        The rule governing dismissal for want of jurisdiction in cases brought in federal court is that, unless the law gives a different rule, the sum claimed by the plaintiff controls if the claim is made in good faith. It must appear to a legal certainty that the claim is really for less then the jurisdictional amount to justify a dismissal (burden is on D to show it is worth less than amount)
ii.      Just because you recover less than the jurisdictional amount does not mean that the claim should not have been heard in federal court
iii.    The amount you claim in the complaint in no way limits what the jury can give you – whatever you claim is meaningless
iv.    The test is – on the day of filing could it be worth more than the jurisdictional amount (> $75,000 today) – look at the circumstances at the time the complaint is filed
v.      Things that happen later could be evidence that the case was never worth more than the jurisdictional amount – an amended complaint is not enough, you still need more facts
(a)        Here, P claimed $4,000 (>$3,000 amount in 1930s)
(b)        The claim is amended which includes a list of actual claims = $1,500 < $3,000 (c)        This claim was never worth more than $3,000 so the Court blew this one by allowing P to remain in federal court (would show that by not checking the value, you can get to federal court and then determine what its really worth later – this is not a good rule) b.      AFA Tours v. Whitchurch (U.S. Ct. App. 2nd Cir. 1991) i.        How do you figure out the value of an injunction? (a)        The loss to the party seeking the injunction (P’s point of view) (b)        Could also look to D’s point of view ii.      Claims for punitive damages count if P is entitled to punitive damages under the controlling law – otherwise, they do not count iii.    If D cannot show to a legal certainty that P’s amount is less than the amount in controversy, then P’s number controls iv.    Before making a determination that P’s claim does not meet the jurisdictional minimum, the court must afford P an appropriate and reasonable opportunity to show good faith in believing that recovery in excess of the jurisdictional amount is reasonably possible c.       Aggregation i.        One P can always aggregate claims that are less than $75,000 against one D