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Civil Procedure I
University of Mississippi School of Law
Czarnetzky, John M.

Civil Procedure Outline
Casebook – Yeazell, Sixth Edition

Prof. Czarnetski Section 3

(Note – This outline is not in the order that the book follows or Czar teaches. It is in the order that makes the most sense to me.)

I. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

A. State v. Federal SMJ
1. State Courts always have a court of general SMJ – can bring most any case there.
2. Federal Courts are courts of limited Subject Matter Jurisdiction.
a. Article III, § 2 of the Constitution – Judicial Power extends to cases:
(i) Arising under the Constitution, Laws and Treaties of the U.S. = Federal Question SMJ.
(ii) Between citizens of different States = Diversity SMJ

= It is UNCONSITUTIONAL for a federal court to hear a case not stated in Art. III, § 2. The Constitution provides the outer limits – b/ Congress can further limit jurisdiction of federal courts as we will see below.

B. Challenging Subject Matter Jurisdiction
1. Subject matter jurisdiction is different and more fundamental to Federalism than Personal Jurisdiction. PJ is about individual rights, which the defendant must assert or waiver.
***SMJ goes to Federalism — SMJ is not about the individuals involved. The Constitution goes to great lengths to say there are some things that the Federal Government cannot do = why it is UP TO THE JUDGE to make certain that the Constitution is being complied with. If the Federal government oversteps the Constitutional boundaries, it is usurping the power of the states).

2. Therefore SMJ jurisdiction CANNOT BE WAIVED by consent of each of the parties.
– The federal court must examine in each case if there is SMJ & if not and neither party challenges SMJ, then will bring its own motion SUA SPONTE.
– Also, SMJ can be challenged at ANY TIME during the lawsuit and the parties or appellate court can raise lack of SMJ on appeal.
– Any party may challenge SMJ – Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)

C. Federal Question SMJ

1. Constitutional Authorization – Art. III, § 2 as stated above “arising under Constitution, L

of what Congress meant in § 1331. Congress may give the federal courts jurisdiction over any case in which the court actually interprets a right or duty created by federal law. In fact, other federal jurisdictional statutes do not require that the federal question appear in the complaint.

4. Declaratory Judgment – potential ∆ can sue to have a court declare that a potential ∏ has no claim – Concept that the best defense is a good offense; know you’re going to be sued and beat the plaintiff to the punch.
a. In evaluating whether a declaratory judgment action could be brought in Federal Court under Federal Question SMJ, the Court must look at the DJ ∆’s (normal ∏) potential complaint. If the potential complaint could be brought in Federal Court, then Declaratory judgement action CANNOT be heard by the Federal Court.