I) Overview of Civil Procedure
A) Intro Material
i) Subject Matter Jurisdiction- Does the Court in question have jurisdiction over the type of claim at issue?
(1) Hawkins v. Masters Farms, Inc (D. Kan., 2003, P 6)
Facts- П, estate rep, sues Δ from KY in fed ct alleging that his negligent driving caused the death of Mr. Creal. Δ files motion to dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(1), claiming there is not complete diversity.
Holding- Dismissed. Estate of Mr. Creal has KY citizenship b/c deceased and his wife were domiciled there w/ no intention or plans to move. No diversity per §1332.
(a) Answers to Claims
(b) Motions to Dismiss:
(1) lack jurisdiction over subject matter
(2) lack jurisdiction over person
(3) improper venue
(4) insufficient process
(5) insufficient service of process
(6) failure to state claim upon which relief can be granted
c. 28 U.S.C. §1331- Federal Question Subject Matter Statute
ii) Personal Jurisdiction: Is it fair for the court to exercise jurisdiction over a particular person?
iii) Venue: which court is the appropriate court within a given jurisdiction?
(1) 28 USC §1391
(a) A civil action may be brought only in
(i) A judicial district where any defendant resides if all defendants reside in the same state
(ii) A judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred or
(iii) A judicial district in which any defendant may be found, if there is no district in which an action may be otherwise brought
(2) Diversity Action-in any district where Δ’s reside; where events took place; where Δ is subject to personal jurisdiction
(3) Non-Diversity Action- where Δ’s reside; where events took place or where property is; where Δ can be found
iv) Complaint: Rule 8 governs what the complaint has to say
(1) FRCP 8
(a) Claims for Relief. A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief…Shall contain
(i) A short and plain statement of jurisdictional grounds
(ii) A short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief
(iii) And a demand for judgment
(b) Defenses; Form of Denials . A party shall state in short and plain terms the party’s defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averment upon which the adverse party relies
(i) Must plead affirmative defenses, allegations admitted if not denied
(ii) Substantial justice standard
(2) Bridges v Diesel Service, Inc. (E.D. PA, 1994, P 13)
Facts- П’s atty files suit, alleging violation of ADA. Δ moves for FRCP 11 sanctions for failure to conduct diligent legal research, b/c should have filed a complaint w/ the EEOC first.
Holding- Will not impose sanctions b/c FRCP 11 meant to deter not shift atty’s fees; mistake procedural, not blatantly frivolous; don’t want Title VII chilling.
(3) FRCP 7-10
(a) Π typically files a complaint and Δ answers and may file motion to dismiss. Pleadings can be amended under FRCP 15. Cross claims and counterclaims under FRCP 13
(b) Two basic objectives to pleadings: give notice to the parties about what the other side is going to do and screen out cases that do not belong in court
(c) Rule 8 – meant to prevent cases from being decided on technicalities rather than merits
(4) FRCP 11
(a) Attorney or pro se party must sign
(b) Signature certifies that after reasonable inquiry, the complaint has no improper purpose
(i) Is warranted under existing law or good faith extension
(ii) It has evidentiary support (now or later)
(iii)Denials are warranted
(5) FRCP 12 : Answers
(1) Permissive and Compulsory Joinder
(a) Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. 11C Music
Facts- П moves to dismiss complaint filed by П, alleging violation of copyright against 770 Δs, for improper joinder under Rule 20.
Holding- Claims improperly joined b/c fails two part test per FRCP 20 that (1) claim arise out of same transaction AND (2) a common question of law or facts will arise in the axn. Here, diff copyright violations.
(b) FRCP 19- Compulsory Joinder
(c) FRCP 20- Permissive Joinder of Parties- meant to save ct resources
(i) All persons may be joined in one action as defendants, if an action is for the same transaction and if there is a question of law or fact that is common to all the defendants
(ii) Two part test; may award damages according to respective liability of Δs
(iii) Judge may order separate trials if would embarrass, delay or put to expense party against whom there is no claim for relief or for whom joinder would cause prejudice or delay
(a) The party itself says it should be a part of the lawsuit
(1) Butler v. Rigby (E.D. La., 1998, P 31)
Facts- Δs have moved under FRCP to compel third party medical groups to produce info about patients w/ rel to lawyers in suit and list of all patients.
Holding- Med grps should produce info about patients referred to them by lawyers but list of all patients is privileged and should not be req’d. Party requesting info should pay ½ of all costs.