Civil Procedure Outline
Term: Spring 2008 Prof: Stancil Book: Yeaz Not covered: Erie Doctrine, Joinder, Class Actions, Issue Preclusion
Steps in a Civil Lawsuit
Step 1: Determine what claims to bring
Step 2: Determine where to sue
I. Does the court have Jurisdiction?
A. Does the court have Subject Matter Jurisdiction to hear the case?
1. Does this claim belong in Federal or State court?
a. State-Most fed JX is concurrent w/ state cts. Exceptions are what fed have as exclusive
State courts usually divided up by subject matter for sake of efficiency and economy. Courts of general JX, empowered to hear all cases in law and equity. Every state has one court that can hear every case not specifically delegated to some other court. (P could decide to file diversity jurisdiction case in state or federal court. Once in state, option to remove to federal court (§1332))
b. Federal- Article 3 established fed cts & they have JX over federal question and diversity of citizenship. may hear 3 categories of cases:
1) Is there Federal Question JX ? (1331; Article III §2)
a) NO- see 2) What are tricky ways it might look like federal Question?
(1) P says arising under state law which requires interpretation of federal law, like contract breach or copyright, —
(2) Just that litigation is about federally regulated property
● T.B. Harms Co. v. Eliscu (1964)- it doesn’t answer the question whether the cause of action “arises under…” The court is not going to be called upon to determine issues of federal law
(3) Fed subject matter isn’t part of the complaint. Well-Pleaded complaint Rule- asks whether fed element is necessary to P’s case
● Louisville & Nashville Railroad v. Mottley (1908)- peeps sue to enforce lifetime RR pass, say reasons for refusing violate fed law & Constitution. SC says failed to present fed questions. Just needed to show contract breach, which is a state law issue. Anticipated federal defenses aren’t part of the cause of action, so you don’t create federal JX.
(4) Seeking recovery under state law that involves fed law element- (only a fed question if the fed law also affords a private right of action for parties injured by violation of the statute)
a) YES- then there’s SMJ. Requirements: Well pleaded complaint rule from L N v. Motley- must raise federal issue on face of complaint & satisfy “arising under” the Constitution, laws or treaties of the US: 3 categories of federal questions for cases to arise under (§1331).
(1) cases arising under Constitution- constitutional rights violated, Constitution is source of P’s claim
(2) cases arising under federal law- Statute or Fed Common Law?
(a) Statute- most cases arise under Congress enacted statutes. Cause of action can be set forth expressly in the statute or implied in the statute
(i) Expressly in the statute (1338a)-exclusive JX over :
(i) District court has jurisdiction over: patents, copyright, trademarks, bankruptcy, commerce/antitrust, actions against foreign counsels, US as P, US as D, admiralty/maritime, actions btw states
(ii) Implied in the statute-
(i) a court from the language
(ii) context of the statute
(b) Fed Common Law- judge-made substantive laws. Claims arising under fed CL may be heard in fed district court
(3) cases arising under Treaties- treaties w/ other nations are negotiated @ fed level. If treaty gives rights to P, fed courts can hear claim. (most don’t, its usually statutes)
2) Is there Diversity JX? 28 USC §1332(a)(1). Creates fed ct JX over “controversies btw citizens of diff states” and citizens of a state and foreign citizens (codifies Art # §2). There is SMJ with a) & b), if NO, see 3)
a) Is there Complete Diversity? There is no diversity if P & D are from same state (Strawbridge v. Curtiss)
(1) YES- P’s and D’s from different states or citizens of foreign state. §1332. How is Citizenship determined?
(a) US citizens are citizens in the state of their domicile (physical presence, intent to remain, same until changed)
● Hawkins v. Masters Farms (2003)- For adults, domicile is established by physical presence in a place in connection with a certain state of mind concerning one’s intent to remain there, Mr. Creal had intent to stay in KS so was domiciled.
(b) 28 USC § 1332(a)- alien admitted to the US for permanent residence is a citizen of the state in which he is domiciled
(c) US Citizen domiciled abroad can’t sue or be sued in federal court under diversity JX, they’ll never be citizen under 1332
● Redner v. Sanders (2000)- US citizen domiciled in France, not a citizen or state or
laim of yacht getting blown up that they each own half of. They can aggregate above 75,000
(4) Single P can sue single D on multiple claims and aggregate amount, even if claims are unrelated
(5) Class actions- issue unsolved. SC split vote says as long as the class representative satisfies the JX limit (Free v. Abbott Labs (1995))
(6) Counterclaims, depends on compulsory or permissive.
(a) compulsory counterclaims-if claim is above 75,000, heard regardless of the amount
(b) permissive counterclaims- requires independent jurisdictional basis. Law unsettled about if P’s claim less than 75,000 but D’s counterclaim increases to over 75,000
c) When is diversity determined?
(1) at commencement of the action
d) Who has to prove diversity?
(1) P. Must include statement in federal complaint alleging that requirements of diversity are satisfied (8a1)
e) Has diversity been improperly or collusively joined to invoke JX?
(1) sham assignment defeats diversity
(2) If a P is missing that is a necessary party, Rule 19 says if party would destroy diversity, case dismissed
3) Is there Supplemental JX? state law cases that arise out of same basic facts (facts = transaction/occurrence or series of transactions/occurrences) as those federal claims- (for additional claims) –and- circumstances do not dictate that justice would be better served in state ct
(1) Does the district court have JX over at least one claim?
(a) YES- Is it based on Diversity or Federal Question?
(i) Federal Question- allowed to hear closely related state law claims. Also allows additional parties to be brought.
(ii) Diversity- When can Supp JX apply?