Civil Procedure Outline:
Yeazell 6th Edition
Czarnetsky Fall 2004
I. Civil Procedure Overview
A. The idea and practice of procedure
· Procedure mirrors our most basic notions of fairness and about the meaning of justice. Procedure tries to capture our ideas about the acceptable forms of settling disputes – about weather we most desire peace or truth, efficiency or justice.
· Deals with procedure of a branch of government, the courts, the litigation of non-criminal cases. It is the rules and principles that govern the behavior of courts and lawyers in dealing w/disputes that turn into lawsuits.
· The need for procedure: there are not unlimited resources to trying a case and finding the truth. We are limited by Time, Social, and Economic needs.
B. Where can suit be brought
· Essentially there are 51 court systems in the United States. The Federal system and 50 state systems. The State and Federal systems are distinct from each other.
· State Judicial Systems: Circuit court ® Intermediate Appellate Court ® State Top Appellate Court (reserves the right in most cases to hear/accept appeals) ® U.S. Supreme Court (The losing Litigant in a State court preceding can only appear to the USSC when the state court has decided a “Federal Question” necessary to the outcome of the state)
Federal Judicial System: District Courts ® Circuit courts of appeal (13) ® USSC® (Losing litigant can petition to the USSC to hear her case who will decide to grant certiorari.)
1. Subject Matter Jurisdiction – Whether a court can hear a particular type of dispute. Subject Matter jurisdiction is divided into courts of general jurisdiction and courts of limited jurisdiction.
· General Jurisdiction – Courts can hear any kind of claim between any persons unless there is legal authority saying they cannot hear a particular court (All states have trial courts of general) SM Jurisdiction.
· Limited Jurisdiction – can hear only those cases that are specifically authorized by statue
· Article III, §2 of the Constitution sets outer bounds of jurisdiction for the Federal Courts (Congress Decides the subject matter jurisdiction of Fed. Courts, and can restrict Fed courts but cannot go beyond the constitution). Federal Courts are only courts of limited jurisdiction.
· The idea behind limiting the Fed court system is that the closer the court or sovereign is to the dispute, the better are the odds of justice – States would protect liberty.
· Certain cases may be brought in Fed. Court based on the nature of the claim:
o Federal Question cases: The federal district courts may hear any civil action arising under the constitution, laws, or treaties of the U.S. (28 USC § 1331)
Diversityca ses: The Federal District court can hear cases arising between
1. The Lawyers responsibility
Bridges v. Diesel Services, Inc. (E.D. Pa 1994)
D made motions for sanctions against P because P brought suite w/out exhausting the administrative remedies as required in ADA suits. This violated Rule 11-b-2 in that the claims were not made in the proper order. The P was required by R11 to exhaust other remedies before filing w/ADA. “does not allow pure heart, and an empty head defense.”
This rule was established by congress in order to cut back in flooding the court system as well as cutting back on time and money.
Because P agreed to dismiss the case w/o prejudice and admitted error, no sanctions were imposed. The primary purpose of sanctions is to encourage lawyers to be more thorough and avoid similar sloppiness and disregard.
2. The Complaint – asks the formal legal system to grant ∏ relief. (see rule 11 and form 9)
Bell v. Novick Transfer Co. (D. Md. 1955)
This case was removed from state to federal court pursuant to 28 USC §§ 1441 & 1446. The issue is whether or not the complaint is sufficient. This case was originally brought in