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

A.      Road Map
1.      Personal Jurisdiction- First, make sure that the court has personal jurisdiction or jurisdiction over the parties. Must check to make sure that: 1) D had minimum contacts with the forum state (whether the court is a state or federal court); and 2) D received such notice and opportunity to be heard as to satisfy the constitutional requirement of due process
2.      Venue- Then, check whether venue was correct. In federal court suits, the venue requirement describes what judicial district the case may be heard in. Essentially, the case must be heard either: 1) in any district where the defendant resides (with special rules for multi-defendant cases); or 2) in any district in which a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred.
3.      Subject matter jurisdiction- if the case is federal case, you must then ask whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Essentially, this means that one of the following two things must be true:
a.       Diversity- either the case is between citizens of different states (with complete diversity required, so that no plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any defendant) and at least $75,000 is at stake; or
b.      Federal question- the case raises a federal question. Essentially, this means that plaintiff’s right to recover stems from the US Constitution, a federal treaty, or an act of Congress (There is no minimum amount required to be at stake in a federal question case)
4.      Pleading- Next, you must examine whether the pleadings are proper
5.      Ascertaining applicable law- Now, figure out what jurisdiction’s law should be used in the case. The most important problem of this type is: In a diversity case, may the federal court apply its own concepts of federal common law, or must the court apply the law of the state where the federal court sits? If the state has a substantive law (whether a statute or a judge-made principle) that is on point, the federal court sitting in diversity must apply that law. This is the rule of Eerie v. Tompkins

I.                    GENERAL PRINCIPLES
A.      Two kinds of jurisdiction- before a court can decide a case, it must have jurisdiction over the parties as well as over the subject matter
1.      Subject matter jurisdiction- refers to the court’s power to decide the kind of case before it
2.      Jurisdiction over the parties- refers to whether the court has jurisdiction to decide a case between the particular parties, or concerning the property, before it
B.      Jurisdiction over the parties- two distinct requirements which must be met before a court has jurisdiction over the parties
1.      Substantive due process- the court must have power to act, either upon given property, or on a given person so as to subject her to personal liability. The constitution’s 14th amendment Due Process Clause imposes this requirement of power to act, as a matter of substantive due process
2.      Procedural due process- also, the court must have given the defendant adequate notice of the action against him, and an opportunity to be heard. These taken together, are requirements of procedural due process, also imposed by the 14th’s due process clause.
C.      Three kinds of jurisdiction over the parties- three different kinds of jurisdiction which a court may exercise over the parties- one of these three must be present for the case to go forward
1.      In personam- or jurisdiction over the defendant’s person, gives the court power to issue a judgment against her personally. Thus all of the person’s assets may be seized to satisfy the judgment, and the judgment can be sued upon in other states as well
2.      In rem- or jurisdiction over the thing, gives the court power to adjudicate a claim made about a piece of property or about a status
3.      Quasi in rem jurisdiction- the action is begun by seizing property owned by (attachment), or a debt owed to (garnishment) the defendant, within the forum state. The thing seized is a pretext for the court to decide the case without having jurisdiction over the defendant’s person. Any judgment affects only the property seized, and the judgment cannot be sued upon in any other court
4.      Minimum contacts requirement- If jurisdiction is in personam or quasi in rem, the court may not exercise that jurisdiction unless D has minimum contacts with the state in which the court sits. In brief, the requirement of minimum contacts means that D has to have taken action that were purposefully directed towards the forum state. Without such minimum contacts, exercise of jurisdiction would violate D’s 14th federal constitutional right to due process
a.       Unreasonable exercise- even if D has the requisite minimum contacts with the forum state, the court will not exercise jurisdiction if considerations of fair play and substantial justice would require making D defend in the forum state so unreasonable as to constitute a due process violation. But in most cases, if D has the require minimum contacts with the forum state, it will not be unreasonable for the case to be tried there.
D.      Long arm statute- most states have long arm statutes, which is a statute which permits the court of a state to obtain jurisdiction over persons not physically present within the state at the time of service

roduct causes injury in the state
H.      Owners of in state property- many states exercise jurisdiction over owners of in state property in causes of action arising from that property
I.        Conducting business- states often exercise jurisdiction over non-residents who conduct businesses within the state. Since states may regulate an individual’s business conduct in the state, they may constitutionally exercise jurisdiction relating to that doing of business
J.        Domestic relations case- courts sometimes try to take personal jurisdiction over a non-resident party to a domestic relations case. However, the requirement of minimum contacts applies here (as in every personal jurisdiction situation), and that requirement may bar the state from taking jurisdiction
A.      Domestic Corporations- any action may be brought against a domestic corporation, i.e., one which is incorporated in the forum state
B.      Foreign corporations generally- a state is much more limited in its ability to exercise jurisdiction over a foreign corporation (i.e., a corporation not incorporated in the forum state)
1.      Minimum contacts- the forum state may exercise personal jurisdiction over the corporation only if the corporation has minimum contacts with the forum state such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice
2.      Dealing with residents of forum states- Usually, a corporation will be found to have the requisite minimum contacts with the forum state only if the corporation has somehow voluntarily sought to do business in, or with the residents of, the forum state
3.      Note- The key idea is that D will be found to have minimum contacts with the state only if D has purposely availed itself of the chance to do business in the forum state. Thus in McGee, the insurance company offered a policy to someone who it knew was a resident of the forum state. In Hanson, by contrast, the trustee never voluntarily initiated business transactions with a resident of the forum state or otherwise voluntarily did business in the state- it was only S’s unilateral decision to move to the forum state that established any kind of connection with that state, so minimum contacts did not exist.