Civil Procedure Outline
Checklist for Jurisdiction Questions:
Three Constitutional Issues
Does the court have subject matter jurisdiction?
Does the court have personal jurisdiction?
Has the Defendant been given notice and an opportunity to be heard?
Has the Defendant been served with process properly?
Does the court have venue?
Can the action be removed to a federal court? (Assumes an action in state court)
Have any of the proceeding 6 issues been waived?
Mississippi Court System
Mississippi Constitution created the following courts:
MS Supreme Court
MS Circuit Courts
MS Chancery Courts
MS Justice Courts
Mississippi Legislature has created the following courts:
MS Court of Appeals
Legislature can alter the jurisdiction of courts it created but not those created by state constitution. Courts created by state constitution can only be altered through an amendment.
State court of general jurisdiction (created by state constitution)
Original jurisdiction over all claims except those explicitly excluded by:
Federal statutes divest some jurisdiction from Circuit Court in matter such as bankruptcy (exclusive federal jurisdiction)
Jurisdiction in the following areas:
Matters in equity
Divorce and alimony
Matters testamentary and of administration (wills and intestates)
Cases of idiocy, lunacy, and persons of unsound mind
No right to trial by jury in Chancery Court.
Cannot hear cases over $2,500 (limited to $500 by constitution/increased by legislature)
Concurrent jurisdiction with Circuit Court on cases ranging from $200 to $2500.
Created by legislature
Concurrent jurisdiction with Circuit Court for matters of law up to $200,000.
Concurrent jurisdiction with Chancery Court FOR MATTERS OF EQUITY ONLY (not divorce, etc)
Mississippi Supreme Court and Court of Appeals
Appeal of right to Mississippi Supreme Court
Legislature has given MS Supreme Court power to create MS Court of Appeals
MS Supreme Court selectively assigns cases to MS Court of Appeals; the following types of cases cannot be assigned to the MS Court of Appeals
Utility rate cuts
Statutes held unconstitutional by lower courts
Decision by MS Court of Appeals is final if case is assigned there. MS Supreme Court can issue writ of certiori to MS Court of Appeals at its discretion.
Circuit Court vs. Chancery Court
If case is brought in Circuit Court when it should have been brought in Chancery Court, or vice versa, the case will simply be transferred to the appropriate court.
If case is tried in wrong court, reversal is NOT allowed when only error alleged is between law and equity.
If error alleged concerns another type of chancery claim (e.g., divorce, etc), error IS reversible.
I. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
i. Definition: The power of a court to decide the type of controversy involved in a particular case.
ii. Cannot be waived or conferred on the courts by the consent of the litigants.
iii. Existence of SMJ generally must be demonstrated at the outset by the party seeking to invoke it.
b. Article III of the US Constitution
i. § 1: establishes federal courts
ii. § 2: federal courts have jurisdiction over
1. Federal Question
2. Diversity of Citizenship
c. State courts have concurrent jurisdiction with federal courts except in cases where federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
d. Federal Question Jurisdiction: 28 USC § 1331 and Article III
i. District courts have original jurisdiction over claims arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the US – § 1331
1. A claim is arising under when the right or immunity in question is created by federal law and is a basic element of the P’s cause of action.
2. No limit on amount in question
3. Mottley Rule: Well-pleaded complaint—federal question must be part of the plaintiff’s original cause of action, not raised by the D or anticipated to be raised by the D.
4. Federal question must be the crux of cause of action, not just a mere ingredient in the case.
5. Plaintiff has burden of proof for SMJ in pleading. Rule 8a.
ii. District courts have exclusive (absolute) jurisdiction over:
3. Patents, copyrights, trademarks
4. Plant variety protection
5. US as P
6. US as D
7. Admiralty/maritime—P’s save the right to all other remedies—1333
8. Actions b/t states – Supreme Ct. has exclusive jurisdiction
9. Private people vs. Foreign Consuls
iii. Attacks on SMJ
1. Courts have a duty to raise federal SMJ issues whenever they become apparent. Rule 12(h)(3)
2. 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.
3. Collateral Attack: challenges SMJ after final judgment, not clear but seems to not be allowed
e. Diversity of Citizenship Jurisdiction–§ 1332
i. Complete Diversity
1. All Ps must be citizens of different states than all Ds (Strawbridge v. Curtis)
2. Citizenship is determined at the commencement of the action (time of filing)
· Changes in citizenship after filing are not considered.
3. Individuals citizenships
i. Physical presence
iii. Exceptions to the rules moving cases to federal court
1. Probate Exception – validity of a will
2. Domestic relations – everything but domestic abuse
f. Supplemental Jurisdiction—28 U.S.C. § 1367
i. Power of court to hear a claim that they do not have jurisdiction to hear but which is related to another claim over which the court does have jurisdiction—Developed to allow entire claim to be settled by one court.
ii. First, do federal courts have original jurisdiction (federal question, diversity, or exclusive SMJ) over one of the claims?
1. If original jurisdiction exists, then there is supplemental jurisdiction over all claims that arise from the same case or controversy.
2. Claim must pass a 2 part test:
· Case arises from “common nucleus of operative facts’
· Circumstances do not dictate that justice would be better served in state court.
3. Federal court may decline supplemental jurisdiction if:
· Claim raises complex or novel issues of state law
· State law predominates over the jurisdictionally sufficient claim
· All federal claims have been dismissed before trial
· Other exceptional circumstances
4. BASED ONLY ON DIVERSITY CASES:
· Split decision as to whether claims can be aggregated to reach amount in controversy
· District court does not have supplemental jurisdiction over parties brought in by:
i. Rule 14—Impleader
ii. Rule 19—Joinder of Persons Need for Just Adjudication
iii. Rule 20—Permissive Joinder of Parties
iv. Rule 24—Intervention
v. UNLESS THEY MEET DIVERISTY (1332) AGAINST THE NEW PARTY
5. If court dismisses claim, SOL will be tolled for 30 days after claim is dismissed; party can re-file action in state court.