Select Page

Civil Procedure II
UMKC School of Law
Klonoff, Robert

Where can a case be brought?

Subject matter jurisdiction à can the Ct. hear this case?

Federal courts hear cases on diversity jurisdiction and federal questions
State courts can hear just about anything else

Some statutes require cases to be brought in fed. courts (ERISA, Title VII)
If a federal question is brought in state court, the case can be removed

Person jurisdiction à is the D subject to process and judgments of this jurisdiction?

Subject matter jurisdiction can never be waived, but personal jurisdiction can
Decker v. Circus Circus Hotel

Poker machine fell on P; D removed the case to federal ct. rather than dismissing it b/c D wanted a “home-turf” advantage à fed. courts also more likely to give fair trials to out-of-state D’s than state courts are

Federal judges appointed for life; state court judges usually voted in

P needed either specific or general jurisdiction
P argued that the ads on TV / magazines in NJ were sufficient contacts w/ the forum state
Ct. disagreed; not sufficient contacts, D’s website had a forum-selection clause
Ct. transferred to NV; may have been wrong b/c it might be more burdensome for P’s to go to NV rather than just drop the case

Issue and Claim Preclusion


Claim preclusion – res judicata

Issue that has definitely been settled by judicial decision
Affirmative defense barring the same parties from litigating a 2nd suit on the same claim or any other claim arising from the same transaction and that could have been, but was not, raised in the 1st suit

Earlier decision on the issue
Final judgment on the merits
Same parties or those in privity

Issue preclusion – collateral estoppel

Issue is estopped by a judgment on a different claim
Affirmative defense barring a party from relitigating an issue determined against that party in an earlier action, even if the 2nd action differs significantly from the 1st one

***When people sue at the first injury, but they haven’t been stricken by the 2nd injury yet, then they’re estopped from suing on it; if they wait for the more serious injury, then they risk ruining the SOL on the current injury and risk the more serious injury never coming

Adjudicative Power: Personal Jurisdiction
Historical Foundation

Pennoyer v. Neff

2nd of two suits: First case was Mitchell v. Neff; Mitchell was trying to get money for unpaid attorney’s fees à Neff was not served, did not appear; Default judgment entered against Neff.

Neff’s property was sold off to satisfy the judgment; Pennoyer buys it. Neff sues Pennoyer to get property back

Full Faith and Credit? Must give judgments full faith and credit unless original ct. didn’t have jurisdiction over the case

Collateral review à when 2nd ct. reviews the decision of the 1st

Neff’s arguments under the Oregon statute

Neff did not appear
Neff was not served by the state
Neff did have property, but this suit doesn’t involve property, and it wasn’t attached to the case from the beginning (judgment rendered in February, property attached in March); the land did not attach

Lower ct. decision produced the same outcome as this ct., but rather b/c of defects in notice, affidavit, and publication. S.C. said notice wasn’t the issue and that it couldn’t be raised in the 2nd suit
This decision creates two tiers of state ct. jurisdiction:

Person’s presence w/in the state à in personam jurisdiction
Person’s property à in rem or quasi in rem jurisdiction

Domestic disputes, nonresident business entities (agent in state even if corporation isn’t)

Argument was the two-tiered approach was rooted in the DP clause of the Constitution

Ct. says that even w/ sufficient contacts in the forum (Neff had land an a lawyer), they still hadn’t fulfilled the in rem qualification (property)

Had the property been attached from the beginning, this case would have come out differently

Territorial issues:

Individual states resemble independent nations à though a state ct. wasn’t allowed to exercise its powers so as to interfere w/ another state’s exclusive dominion over its people and property, it was obliged to protect its own
Though it might be easier / more convenient to go to ct. in a different state, you must respect the sacredness of state borders

Hess v. Pawloski

State can legislate that a nonresident motorist has appointed a local official to be his agent to receive service of process simply by using his vehicle in the state, provided that the statute req’d the D to be notified of the service on the official

This case puts more emphasis on the importance of notice; Ct. found the motorist to have constructive or implied notice à Pennoyer said those were fictional constructs
Ct. goes about getting around the strict rules of Pennoyer à outcome-driven decision

Modern Approach

International Shoe v. State of Washington

WA law req’d employers to donate to the state’s unemployment compensation program à statute authorized the state to collect delinquent payments by personal service upon the employer if found w/in the state; Agency personally served a notice of assessment on one of P’s sales-people; also sent a copy by registered mail to P’s address in St. Louis (principal place of business); D had no office in WA, made no contracts for sale / purchase in WA, no merchandise, stock, deliveries, nothing
Minimum contacts? Constitutionality?

This shifts the focus of in personam jurisdiction from a state’s physical power over D to D’s minimum contacts
Pennoyer req’d physical presence in the state; here it is just a test of fairness

Minimum contacts cannot

by the clause
Enforcing the forum clause would contravene strong public policy
Trial in the designated forum would be so gravely difficult that was not foreseeable at the time of contracting, that it would be tantamount to depriving a party their day in ct.

Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute

Wife in a couple from WA was injured while on a cruise; couple filed suit in federal Ct. in WA; their ticket contained a forum clause sending everything to FL
Ct. said the clause was not unreasonable, and promoted certainty à was upheld
The clause didn’t subject D’s to an inexperienced partisan or remote alien forum, and wasn’t the result of a bad faith motive to designate a forum to discourage passengers from pursuing legit claims
Change in rules

No longer has to be an arms-length transaction; if all other elements are established, the Ct. will look past unequal bargaining power

Emergence of Long-Arm Statutes and General / Specific Jurisdiction

Woodring v. Hall

KS resident sued her former son-in-law in KS Ct. for failing to repay a series of loans she had made to him over a 10-year period
Ct. said that the loan was a business transaction, and therefore fell under the KS long-arm req’t
Ct. read the statute to be equivalent to a long-arm statute
When determining the validity of a long-arm statute, you use a two-prong test:

Is there jurisdiction under the statute? One of the activites included? (If not, don’t even analyze the constitutionality of the statute)
Are there minimum contacts consistent w/ DP?

McGee v. International Life Insurance Company

Ins. Company wouldn’t pay a CA beneficiary the proceeds from the policy; P rec’d a default judgment against the TX company, and when she later tried to enforce it, the TX courts wouldn’t give the judgment full faith and fair credit b/c they said no personal jurisdiction existed
General jurisdiction? None existed b/c the company didn’t have enough contacts w/ CA à no agents, officers, not actively soliciting business w/in the state
Specific jurisdiction? Yes

Policy was mailed to CA
Premiums were mailed from CA to TX

Person was living in CA and suffered injury in CA = specific