Select Page

Civil Procedure II
UMKC School of Law
Grover, Susan S.

— The court’s power to adjudicate a particular type of case, authorized by the US Constitution and federal statute —

— The court assumes there is federal subject matter jurisdiction only if the plaintiff alleges facts in the complaint suggesting that SMJ is proper
Note: SMJ cannot be waived, so when considering whether the court has personal juris., assume that SMJ exists

+Exceptions that apply to all types of SMJ+ (practical effect = limits diversity SMJ)
a. domestic relations exception
i. watch for alimony (don’t be fooled: this cannot go to fed. ct.)
ii. divorce proceedings fall under this exception
b. probate exception
i. anything to do with wills/trusts/estates/inheritance/mental health procedures/adoptions/guardianships/civil commitments, etc. can not go to federal court

Diversity SMJ § 1332

The district court shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75k, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between (1) Citizens of different States (Plaintiff’s citizenship is diverse from that of defendants)

+Complete diversity requirement+
1) existence of diversity is determined with reference to facts as they existed at the time of filing
2)defining “citizenship”
a. domicile – place a person has a permanent home to which he intends to return
i. residence does not equal domicile
ii. additionally, residency as a student or otherwise, w/o intent to remain, is not good enough
b. change of citizenship (Mas v. Perry)
i. taking up residence in a different domicile with
ii. intention to remain there
a. corporate citizenship (most have 2 citizenships)
i. citizen of any state in which it is incorporated
ii. citizen in the state where it has its principal business
1. total activity test
a. most activity?; place of most income?; most employee residences?
b. aliens
i. alien admitted for permanent residence shall be deemed the citizen of the state where domiciled
ii. diversity does not exist if there are aliens on both sides of the case
c. class action
i. only citizenship of the class representative is considered
ii. complete diversity problem?? Dismiss the nondiverse defendant under Rule 21 (as long as not indispensable party under rule 19)
d. see exp’ns that apply to all SMJ (above)

+Amount in controversy requirement+
1) good faith pleading requirement
2)affirmative defenses have no effect on amount in controversy
3)courts are split on whether relief should be valued from Ps perspective [value to P] or [cost to D]

Mas v. Perry (1974) – MR was a citizen of France, MRS was a citizen of MS, they were both grad students @ LSU. They got married in MS, went back to LSU and got an apt from ‘peeping perry’ who installed 2-way mirrors in the apartment. They found out and sued, Perry challenges diversity SMJ. The general rule is that complete diversity of parties is required (at the time of filing) in order that diversity jurisdiction be obtained.

Federal Question “Arising Under” SMJ § 1331

The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under [federal law] (including statutes, treaties, Constitution)

1) Well-pleaded complaint rule (WPC Rule)
a. Tells the courts to look only at the Ps claims and not at anticipated defenses when looking to find a federal issue so that the court may assert SMJ over the case. The issue must come up on the face of the complaint.
2) Grover’s tests that courts use in deciding federal question SMJ
a. govt interest
b. substantially disputed/contested federal law
i. Meaning of the federal statute = must actually in dispute (fed statute as the proximate cause of the action = not enough)
c. balance between federal and state division of labor (“floodgates of litigation??”)
i. watch for #s of increase in hypos and/or speculation about this
3) Exceptions/tricks
a. exclusively federal jurisdiction laws
i. patents, antitrust, etc.
ii. still must be in complaint (follow WPC rule)
b. see exp’ns that apply to all SMJ (above)

Louisville & Nashville R.R. v. Mottley – P Mottleys filed a claim in fed dist ct because they wanted the court to order the D railroad to specifically perform on a quid pro quo contract giving them free passes on the RR & its future branches in exchange for releasing the RR from claims/damages from the accident. This is not a federal question issue, this is a breach of contract claim. (WPC rule – Ps claim is master of deciding jurisdiction, ct should look only at what belongs in Ps claim, not what belongs in Ds answer to find a fed. issue)

Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue (2005) – IRS seized Grable’s ppy and sold to Darue, Grable is contesting whether he had proper notice of seizure under a federal statute – ct found that a lack of a federal right cause of action does not bar the exercise of federal SMJ, but the federal issue in a state-law claim must actually be in dispute to justify “arising under” (federal question) jurisdiction

Remember: either diversity SMJ or federal question SMJ is needed for a federal district court to have SMJ over the case, not both

Supplemental Jurisdiction § 1367

In any civil action in which the district courts have original juris., the dist. cts. Shall have suppl. juris. over all other claims so related to the original claims that they form part of the same case or controversy

1) Requirements for new claims to be added using suppl. SMJ:

stringent control of discovery, aggressive encouragement of settlement, more frequent granting of summary judgment, litigation is more expensive & time-consuming, removed Ps are substantially less successful than those originally filed there, cases often languish in fed. ct. for years

28 USC § 1441 – Actions removable generally – provides for removal from state court to federal district court
(a) Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.
(b) Any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction founded on a claim or right arising under the Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States shall be removable without regard to the citizenship or residence of the parties. Any other such action shall be removable only if none of the parties in interest properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is brought.

+Limitation on removal in diversity cases+
1) where juris. of the fed. ct. is based on diversity and one of the Ds is a citizen of the state in which the state axn was brought, the action is not removable
2) if claim is based on a federal question, it is irrelevant that the parties are not diverse and that there is an in-state D in the axn

28 USC § 1446 – procedures for removal. Under this provision the D files notice of removal in the federal court to which the D wants to have the case removed
(a) A defendant or defendants desiring to remove any civil action or criminal prosecution from a State court shall file in the district court of the United States for the district and division within which such action is pending a notice of removal signed pursuant to Rule 11 and containing a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal, together with a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders served upon such defendant or defendants in such action.
(b) The notice of removal of a civil action or proceeding shall be filed within th