Select Page

Civil Procedure I
University of Dayton School of Law
Cox, Jeannette

Course Outline-Civil Procedure I- Fall 2009
 
I. Introduction to Procedural Law
Procedural law is designed to promote efficient and fair litigation. Procedural rules and case law govern civil litigation in the federal and state courts.
 
A. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Rule 1
1.     “These rules govern the procedure in all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts…They should be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”
2.    Three Overarching Policy Goals Implied by Rule 1:
a.    Fairness
b.    Efficiency
c.     Keeping the Costs of Litigation Low
 
Rule 2
1.     “There is one form of action – the civil action.”
2.    Rationale of Rule 2:
a.    Attempts to Streamline the Process
b.    Every Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court is a Civil Action
 
Rule 3
1.     “A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.”
 
B. Federal Courts v. State Courts: Determining Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction means “power” or authority”. Subject matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to adjudicate a type of dispute. Territorial jurisdiction is the authority of a court to enter a judgment binding a person or thing. Since an enforceable judgment granting relief is the goal of a lawsuit, П must ensure that the adjudicating court has authority over ∆. Subject matter jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction, notice, and venue become important.
 
State Courts:
Each state, as an independent sovereignty, has its own judicial system. State courts may be courts of general or limited subject matter jurisdiction.
 
Both Systems:
Allow for appellate review of decisions by lower courts. Some suits can be filed in either court.
Federal Courts:
Federal courts are part of the national sovereignty, but they are located within the states. All federal courts are courts of limited subject matter jurisdiction.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
II. Territorial Jurisdiction
Territorial jurisdiction refers to a court’s power over this ∆ or property as to this civil action. Territorial jurisdiction refers to a court’s power to enter a valid binding judgment in light of territorial boundaries of the state in which the court sits and the location and activities of ∆.
 
A. Two Types of Territorial Jurisdiction:
1. In personam Jurisdiction
2. In rem Jurisdiction
 
1. In personam Jurisdiction
An in personam judgment binds ∆ personally; the action is brought against the person [individual, corporation, partnership, etc.]. The object of an in personam action is to determine the personal rights and obligations of ∆.
Origins of Personal Jurisdiction: Pennoyer v. Neff
Significance of Pennoyer v. Neff
1.     The court clarified principles of law as to judicial power over non-resident ∆s.
2.    The court made the concept of territorial jurisdiction a matter of due process required by the U.S. Constitution.
 
Requirements for Exercise of Jurisdiction under Pennoyer
1.     A valid in personam judgment against a non-resident ∆ requires:
a.    Personal Service of Process within the State; or
b.    Voluntary Appearance in the Proceeding
2.    A valid in rem judgment against a non-resident ∆ requires:
a.    Property owned by ∆ in the state, properly brought under the control of the court via attachment [property must be attached before litigation begins]; and
b.    Proper substitute service or notice provided to ∆
 
Rationale Underlying Pennoyer Doctrine
1.     Each state is an independent sovereign, possessing exclusive jurisdiction over persons and property within its territory. No state court can extend beyond its territory to subject outside persons or property to its decisions.
2.    Due process requires fair procedures. If something is done according to the rules which have always been applied, it puts off at least a semblance of fairness. Because the concept of due process is grounded in historical ideas of fairness, the court concluded that a state court could determine the status of its citizens toward non-resident ∆s.
 
The Modern Constitutional Formulation of Power: International Shoe Co. v. Washington
Significance of International Shoe [Contact: Doing Business within Forum] 1.     Under Pennoyer, presence within the forum state was the most important factor when deciding personal jurisdiction. In International Shoe, however, the court expanded this doctrine, recognizing that it made more sense to look at the activities or contacts of a non-resident ∆ within the forum state.
2.    Sufficient contacts become the key for determining whether a forum state can exercisepersonal jurisdiction.
 
Requirements for Exercise of Jurisdiction under International Shoe
1.     A valid in personam judgment against a non-resident ∆ requires that:
a.    ∆ have certain minimum contacts with the state, such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice”.
b.    If the obligation sued on is unconnected to ∆’s activities, however, ∆ must have more than mere minimum contacts with the state for the court to exercise jurisdiction. ∆’s contacts in this case must be substantial.
2.    A casual presence of a corporation [or its agents] in a state in a single or isolated incident is not necessarily enough to establish in personam jurisdiction. The agent’s actions, because of their nature, quality, and circumstances of their commission, must be analyzed.
 
“Minimum Contacts” Analysis
1.     Non-resident ∆’s contacts with the forum state must be such as to make it reasonable to require ∆ to defend the particular suit which is brought there.
2.    The nature of the contacts depends on the quality and nature of the activities in relation to the fair and orderly administration of laws.
 
Two Types of Personal Jurisdiction Cases: Application of International Shoe
1.     Specific Jurisdiction Cases
a.    When the contacts between a non-resident ∆ and the forum state are more limited, then the state may exercise specific jurisdiction.
2.    General Jurisdiction Cases
a.    When the contacts between a non-resident ∆ and the forum state are substantial, then the state may exercise general jurisdiction.
 
 
Application of International Shoe in Specific Jurisdiction Cases:
World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson
Significance of World-Wide Volkswagen [Contact: Placing Product into Stream of Commerce] 1.     Although isolated contacts may suffice [when contacts give rise to the suit], mere foreseeability that a product may end up in a distant forum is not sufficient for the exercise of jurisdiction.
2.    ∆’s conduct and connection with the forum state must be such that ∆ should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.
3.    To establish personal jurisdiction, the contacts must reflect purposeful, deliberate activity of ∆.
a.    Purposeful contacts may include:
–      Efforts to serve the market
–      Delivery of a product into the stream of commerce with the expe

Relationships: The Big Picture
Nature and Frequency of Contacts/Relationship to Litigated Claim
 
Importance of “Other Factors”
 
2. In Rem Jurisdiction
An in rem judgment binds the property [or the rights of a person to the property]; the action is brought against a thing. Unlike an in personam judgment, a valid in rem judgment cannot be taken to another state to enforce the seizure and selling of property. The object of an in rem action is to determine one’s rights to the property. Since an in personam action is generally preferable, an in rem action is often used as a substitute when П cannot personally bring ∆ before the court. In quasi-in rem actions, the right to the property is grounded in issues unrelated to the property.
 
Transformation of In rem Proceedings
1.     Pennoyer suggested that if you adjudicate over a “thing”, then the owner of the property is unaffected. International Shoe cemented this belief and did not extend the “minimum contacts” analysis over in rem actions.
2.    Shaffer v. Heitner, however, changed this notion. Specifically, Shaffer suggested that in rem actions still affect a person’s interests. International Shoe should govern the assertion of jurisdiction, even where property is attached.
 
Requirements for Exercise of Jurisdiction under Shaffer
1.     Presence of property in a state may allow jurisdiction if contacts are shown between forum state, ∆, and litigation.
a.    When claims to the property itself are involved, the state where the property is located has jurisdiction.
2.    The presence of property in a state, with nothing more, does not allow jurisdiction if the property is completely unrelated to П’s cause of action.
 
III. The Constitutional Requirement of Notice
Notice is a distinct, but related requirement. Principles as to what constitutes sufficient notice to ∆ have evolved over time. Due process requires sufficient notice in all cases. Additionally, service of process must be effective [upon a ∆ subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction] and properly performed.
 
Requirement of Notice Analyzed: Mullane v. Central Hannover Bank & Trust Co.
Significance of Mullane v. Central Hannover
1.     The Due Process Clause requires that “deprivation of life, liberty, or property” by adjudication be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing.
2.    Mullane set the standard used to assess the sufficiency of a particular means of notice. What type of service satisfies due process depends on the nature of the case.
3.    As a rule, notice must be reasonably calculated under all the circumstances to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action AND afford them an opportunity to present objections.
4.            Mere gestures will not suffice. The means employed must be those that would be used by someone desirous