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Civil Procedure I
University of Iowa School of Law
Stensvaag, John-Mark

Civil Procedure – Spring 2014 – Prof. John-Mark Stensvaag

1)      Sources of Civil Procedure Law
a)      US Constitution
i)        Provides for the federal courts (also for the state courts)
ii)       Due process clause
iii)     Full faith and credit clause (courts of one jurisdiction must respect the decisions of other jurisdictions)
b)      Federal Statutes
i)        Established the inferior courts (USC §28)
c)       Federal Rules of Civil Procedures (FRCP) (“Rules”)
i)        Congress passed a statute instructing the SCOTUS to draft the rules in 1938)
ii)       These rules are not statutes
iii)     Only govern federal courts, but most states have copied them almost exactly
d)      Local rules
i)        Almost all courts have “local rules” that govern mundane matters (e.g. form of briefs/memos, when there are hearings, etc.) (These are court specific)
e)      Judicial Opinions
i)        They have ‘fleshed out’ the meanings of the rules
2)      Selecting a proper court
a)      Overview
i)        There can be multiple proper courts, the plaintiff is the one who decides it
ii)       A court must have all of the following (personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and venue)
b)      Types of jurisdiction
i)        Personal Jurisdiction: Authority to issue a decision that will bind the defendant
(1)    Key geographic unit is the state
(a)    If any court in the state has jurisdiction, all courts in the state have jurisdiction
ii)       Subject Matter Jurisdiction: The court’s competence to decide on a particular type of controversy
(1)    State courts
(a)    Small claims courts/maybe juvenile courts
(b)   Courts of general
(2)    Federal courts
(a)    Limited by two things
(i)      Federal Question: The claim of the defendant arises under federal law
(ii)    Diversity: Involves questions on disputes between individuals of different states
1.       The federal judge is supposed to act as a state court judge on content (although maybe not procedure)
iii)     Venue: Proper place for the trial within the state
(1)    This is usually decided by county on the state level (on the federal level it’s decided by district)
(2)    Further refine geography
3)      History of Personal Jurisdiction
a)      History
i)        Incarceration of Defendant: In England, the only way a common law court could obtain personal jurisdiction over a defendant is to have the sheriff arrest the defendant (note: this is for civil law, not criminal law)
(1)    However, a Sheriff couldn’t go outside of his jurisdiction (bailwick) to arrest a defendant
ii)       Process: Later, rather than arresting the defendant, the sheriff had to serve the defendant with papers (again, he had to stay within his bailwick

Personal Jurisdiction
1)      In Personam: A court may enter an unlimited judgment against the defendant
a)      Unlimited judgment: May be satisfied out of any of the defendant’s assets that are not otherwise exempt from execution
b)      Some exemptions from execution in Iowa: a vehicle up to the value of $7,000; tools of the trade up to $10,000; furnishings; clothing; household goods
2)      In Rem (more limited than in personam)
a)      True in rem: (1) the only issue is “who owns the property,” and (2) the resulting judgment will bind the whole world
i)        Example: An action to quiet title (for property)
ii)       This makes a lot of sense with real property, but makes less sense when dealing with intangibles (because the location of intangibles is more difficult to know)
b)      Quasi in rem (ownership): The only issue is “who owns the property” (however the resulting judgment will not bind the whole world)
i)        Similar to “true in rem” where the court is dealing with ownership of a property, but dissimilar in that it’s not binding in that it doesn’t make the loser personally responsible for anything (the only result of the decision is that one party owns the land, and the other doesn’t, can’t make them pay fines, etc.)
c)       Quasi in rem (“gimmick”): A decision about property, that is not about who owns the property and doesn’t bind the whole world. It’s simply grabbing the property as a means to get a hold of the defendant
i)        Example: B sues A (nonresident) for not delivering widgets. B claims jurisdiction based on A owning property in the state
ii)       The difference between this and in personam is that the plaintiff can only recover the property (not everything the defendant has)
iii)     This is the type of jurisdiction used in the Pennoyer v. Neff (case 1)
3)      In Personam Jurisdiction
a)      Methods for getting in personam jurisdiction
i)        Presence – If they can prove the defendant was present in the state (through service of process in the state), they can get in personam jurisdiction
(1)    Today, many attorneys think it may be too little for in personam jurisdiction if someone is only briefly in the state and served with process.
(a)    The Counter-argument is “what line to do we draw on “temporary”?
(2)    Can also be proven by voluntarily coming to court
ii)       Domicile (citizenship) (p.80 !)
(1)    If they are a resident of the state, the court has jurisdiction even if they’re not in the state
(2)    The authority of the state over one of its citizens is not terminated by the mere fact of his absence from the state
(3)    *Using the term of “domicile” loosely
iii)     Voluntary General Appearance in court (p.76 R8)
(1)    Voluntary General Appearance: A defendant showing up voluntarily and objecting to the issue on its merits (At this point, they have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the court)
(2)    Special Appearance (does not grant jurisdiction): A defendant shows up to contest the court’s jurisdiction over him (this does not give the court jurisdiction over the defendant)
iv)     Actual Consent (p. 77, R11)
(1)    Must be made in advance
(a)    This is fairly common in financial deals. Example: An attorney may get an out-of-state resident to give consent in advance th

rists had to give actual consent to drive in the state (presumably at the border)
(ii)    The court also said states had the power to exclude nonresident motorists unless they consent to personal jurisdiction
(2)    Nonresident Businesses
(a)    State can exclude nonresident corporations from doing business in the state (unless they consent to personal jurisdiction
(3)    Critical Theory Behind both of these: The state can “extort” consent by refusing nonresident motorists or companies from operating in that state
(a)    Flexner v. Farson (1919) – Rejected this theory, because corporations are considered natural persons, and it is unconstitutional for states to exclude citizens of other states from doing business in their state
(i)      However, this still allowed states to exclude noncorporate nonresident businesses (so a business could avoid jurisdiction simply by not incorporating)
(b)   For the same reason in Flexner v. Farson, the courts found that nonresident motorists could not be excluded
ii)       Extorted Consent (not allowed)
(1)    Why this is important: Court overturns implied consent (with Flexner v. Farson) because the Full Faith and Credit clause makes it illegal for states to deny entry to nonresident individuals, they cannot imply consent to businesses based on the resident’s entry into the state (because the state couldn’t refuse entry)
iii)     Long-Arm statutes
(1)    Hess v. Pawloski
(a)    Formalities of actual consent
(i)      Actual written consent in advance
1.       The court says that this is not required by the constitution
2.       This is a fiction because even if the defendant gives notice that he doesn’t consent, and then drives on the road, the court will still find he gave consent.
3.       In reality, the court is concerned with the nonresident’s conduct rather than his conset
(ii)    Service on someone in the state
(b)   This led to the proliferation of “long-arm statutes”
6)      International Shoe
a)      The rule for in personam jurisdiction changed
i)        Old Rule – Based around implied consent/presence in the state
ii)       New Rule – Requires minimum contacts between the defendant and forum state
(1)    A court has jurisdiction if the corporation “has certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice”
(a)    Important parts are
(i)      Fairness