Select Page

Civil Procedure II
University of Baltimore School of Law
Bourne, Richard W.

Civil Procedure II Outline                                                              Spring 2007

I. Forum Selection: Jurisdictional Rules Limiting Choice of Law

A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

1. The Basic Concept

–         Court like a bowl and litigation must fit into that particular bowl
–         Laws that create the court systems themselves
o        Constitution and Federal statutes (Title 28)

2. Limited v. General Jurisdiction

–         Original Jurisdiction: Court of 1st resort
o        Exclusive jurisd – only court that can hear that type of case
o        Concurrent jurisd – other courts can hear that type too
§         Federal courts are concurrent w/ state as long as they aren’t specified as exclusive (bankruptcy, anti-trust, etc)

(A) Special Pleading Requirements

P (VA) v. D (MD) à $1,000 debt and complaint only alleges debt and judgment
Ø       No SMJ b/c you MUST allege it in the org complaint

Capron v. Van Noorden – P didn’t allege SMJ in complaint so SC dismisses

FRCP 8(a)(1) – Every complaint must contain a statement of grounds upon which court’s jurisdiction depends.

–         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction so it’s presumed that P should bring case in state court, unless in Art III of Const or a Fed statute
–         P must show in complaint that court has jurisdiction
–         Judiciary Act of 1789 that set up lower fed courts declared that TCs had jurisdiction over all federal cases

3. Federal Original Jurisdiction

Art. III, Art. IV, Title 28 §§1331-46, 1738

P (GB) v. D (FR) à debt > $75,000
Ø       No SMJ b/c it’s between 2 foreign citizens
Ø       If between a US citizen and a foreign citizen, then YES

P (GB) v. D (MD) à debt < $75,000 Ø       No SMJ b/c it’s less than $75,000 Rule: For there to be SMJ, it MUST be in the Constitution OR a fed statute! -         there is a presumption against jurisdiction -         if certain facts aren’t state, presumption is against jurisd P (GB) v. D (MD) à debt > $75,000
Ø       P could sue in state court if no fed statute says that fed has exclusive jurisd.

Exclusive: fed anti-trust, copyright, patent, actions against US, bankruptcy, admiralty

When P chooses court, there are a variety of factors
–         choice of law
–         procedural differences
–         jury dockets
–         accessibility of court to witnesses

SMJ turns on nature of the claim
–         arising under federal law
–         bankruptcy, maritime
–         US as a party
–         Diversity jurisdiction
o        Fed jurisdiction b/c of local biases

(A) Arising Under

What does “arising under federal law” mean?

Louisville v. Mottley – P hurt on train and got free pass but Congress passed statute forbidding free passes on trains so P sued to get her pass back, breach of contract. Basis of claim was that statute was unconstitutional, but didn’t mention in the complaint. She anticipated the affirmative defense of D that the statute forbids free passes (avoidance).

Court: Only if the well-pleaded allegation of P’s complaint arises under federal law, then there is SMJ

–         can’t get SMJ by waiver, estoppel or consent by other party
–         courts can enforce and dismiss case
–         court narrowed org jurisdiction of federal court

§1331 – applies to original jurisdiction only
Art III is broader b/c it applies to org and appellate jurisdiction (“judicial power”)

Gully v. Meridian Nat’l Bank (not in casebook) – no federal jurisd b/c suit is under state law (breach of K case), even though bank’s charter gives law that it can’t be taxed by the state. Fed was mentioned in the complaint, but not enough.

Pacific RR Cases – Federal land disputes were not considered to have SMJ because it wasn’t challenging Federal law. Just being a federal corp is not enough.

–         claim can be litigated on appeal to the SC b/c of Art III
–         question is whether case has org fed jurisdiction (§1331)

T.B. Harms v. Eliscu – §1338 says patent arises under federal law and fed courts have SMJ. But even though this case dealt with patents, it was actually a breach of K case (according to the court)

–         licensing cases do not have SMJ: breach of K
–         raise same issues as infringement cases, but they are likely enough not to raise federal issues so in order to not flood fed courts, they deny SMJ

School desegregation case alleging violation of EPC = fed jurisdiction

Holmes “creation” test: if a suit ar

s = perpetual child, she claimed her permanent residence was her parents’ home in Mississippi to get diversity jurisdiction. Court held she lived in Miss and allowed div jurisdiction.

can be argued both ways

P (MD) v. D (US/FR) > $75K
Ø       no diversity jurisdiction b/c he is citizen of US but not domiciled there (no alienage, b/c US citizen and no diversity of state b/c not a domiciliary of any state)

P (MD) v. D (FR) > $75K
Ø       Yes, alienage

P (MD) v. D (FR/MD) >$75K
Ø       No b/c of §1332(a)(4) – statute limits jurisdiction, alien deemed permanent resident of MD, so MD citizen

P (GB) v. D (Fr/MD) > $75K
Ø       ambiguous, probably not (suit between 2 aliens)
Ø       if the statute creates jurisdiction, then can’t apply it – technically §1332(a)(4) makes D a citizen

P (MD) v. D(alien – unknown country)
Ø       no b/c must positively show person is citizen of specific foreign country

When P is representative of decedent, look at citizenship of decedent at time of his death

Assignments of assets to someone else (or corporation)
–         mortgage
o        person is assigned cause of action and their citizenship counts
–         subrogation
o        insurance company if your car was totaled
o        their citizenship counts

P (MD) v. D (MD) tort claim
–         not diverse, loan recede agreement
–         assign claim to lawyer (PA)
o        creating assignment just to create federal jurisdiction
o        §1359 – No federal jurisdiction
–         what if P wants it to be in state court and assigns to lawyer from same state as D
o        cases are split: not explicitly stated in §1359 that you can’t destroy jurisdiction
o        Meekum says you can enter assignments to destroy FJ, but this is old SC case
§         It hasn’t been overruled yet