HOFFHEIMER CIV PRO FALL 2011
OVERVIEW OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
Where can suit be brought?
Subject Matter Jurisdiction (SMJ) = power of court to hear a particular type of dispute
State Courts – courts of general jurisdiction
Federal courts – courts of limited jurisdiction
SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution circumscribes outer boundaries of federal SMJ and gives Congress the power to further limit federal SMJ. Congress has done so in the Judiciary Code:
1. 28 U.S.C. § 1331: Federal question jurisdiction
2. 28 U.S.C. § 1332: Diversity jurisdiction
State courts have concurrent jurisdiction with federal courts except in cases where federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction:
2. Admiralty (although non-admiralty common law tort claims arising from admiralty actions can still be brought in state court)
4. Patents/copyrights/plant variety (federal court has SMJ over trademarks but it is not exclusive)
5. US as a P or D
6. State v. State
Federal Question Jurisdiction (§ 1331)
Federal courts have SMJ over all claims arising under (well-pleaded complaint) federal law (i.e., Constitution, federal statutes, and treaties).
“Well-pleaded complaint” rule: P’s claim/cause of action must arise under federal law. It is NOT enough that an anticipated defense to P’s claim arises under federal law. Amount in question is irrelevant, and P has burden of proof for SMJ.
Direct Attack: Either party may raise federal SMJ objection at any time, even on appeal. There is no waiver associated with federal SMJ as there is with personal jurisdiction.
Collateral Attack: If (1) party has appeared and litigated federal SMJ, then NO collateral attack is permitted on SMJ (2) party has appeared and did NOT litigate federal SMJ, then NO collateral attack is permitted on SMJ (3) party did not appear, probably NO collateral attack permitted on federal SMJ.
Diversity Jurisdiction (§ 1332)
1. Amount in controversy must exceed $75,000 (Multiple Ps – must be able to separately satisfy in their claims)
2. Requires complete diversity of parties
3. Corporation is citizen of:
a. State of incorporation
b. State of PPB
4. Natural person who is U.S. citizen is citizen of state where they are domiciled or where they intend to stay indefinitely:
5. Citizenship attaches when complaint is filed
6. P has burden of proving diversity exists, also have to prove that they are a citizen of a given state.
7. States themselves cannot be citizens AND under 11th Amendment, a person cannot sue a state in federal court
a. State of Mississippi is not a citizen of Mississippi
b. However, counties are citizens, so Lafayette County is a citizen of Mississippi
8. Unincorporated associations – citizenship of all members
9. Two exceptions to diversity jurisdiction – even if diversity exists, federal court will not hear claim:
a. Domestic relations exception: federal courts will not hear claims relating to (1) divorce, (2) alimony, or (3) child custody
b. Probate exception: federal courts will not probate a will
10. Can you add or defeat diversity by joining a party?
a. Generally YES
b. However, exceptions exist:
i. You cannot “collusively” create diversity
1. P cannot assign claim by contract to third party to create diversity
2. If P joins D against whom there is no reasonable possibility of recovery, court will disregard this D in determining diversity jurisdiction
ii. If D impleads a third party, this will NOT affect diversity jurisdiction
11. A third party who is representing a child, incompetent person, or deceased person can only be a citizen of the state of which that person was a citizen
12. Aliens admitted to permanent residency: considered to be a citizen of state in which they are domiciled; some courts will not allow federal SMJ when one party is foreign and one is a permanent resident alien
Amount in controversy:
· Must be in EXCESS of $75,000.
· To be dismissed for insufficient amount in controversy, must be a legal certainty that the claim is really for less than the jurisdictional amount.
· Injunctions: Ps seeking federal SMJ must prove that value of injunction exceeds $75,000.
· Aggregation of claims:
o A single party can aggregate all claims they have against another party, even if the claims are unrelated.
· Have 30 days to remove, absolute cut off of ONE YEAR (Ex: Caterpillar)
· If case is removed, it is removed to federal district court for district in which state court from which it is being removed is located. Only way to bring a case from state to fed.
· In diversity cases, case is NOT removable if ANY D is a citizen of the state in which the state claim was filed; this does not apply in federal question actions – if one claim is removable, then other claims w/ the case are removable.
· If all of these are met, then case is removed automatically.
· There is discretion to remand when state law dominates
· Motion for remand: to get case back into state court when it has been improperly removed – 30-day deadline here as well
§ Remand order is not reversible on appeal
· If wrongful removal occurs, it will stand provided it is cured by time of judgment
· Can block removal by joining a non diverse 3rd party, lowering the amount in controversy, and bringing action in the state where a D resides
NOTE: You can file a lawsuit in more than one court that has SMJ. There is no requirement preventing this; however, it may be wasteful and may antagonize the judges in the respective courts where you filed.
Challenging SMJ – it can be raised at any time.
· Direct – before final judgment – def allowed
· Collateral – after final judgment
Appellate Court Jurisdiction: Supreme Court will review
a. Decisions of US C of A
b. Decisions of highest state court if some implication of fed law, cases can also get to SC through writs of certiori or certification from lower court – 4 votes from SC
US C of A will review:
c. Final decisions of district courts
d. “no reason for delay” questions
e. Interlocutory decisions for injunctive or non-final specific performance questions
f. Unsettled questions