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Civil Procedure I
University of Oregon School of Law
Reynolds, Jennifer W.

Civil Procedure, Fall 2012, Prof. Reynolds
Civil Procedure: Cases and Materials, Friedenthal, 10th ed.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Structure of SMJ:
1)      Definition: the court’s power to hear cases due to the nature of the dispute
2)      State SMJ
a.       State constitution
b.      “Everything else” (statutes, common law practices)
3)      Federal SMJ
a.       Article III Sec. 2
                                                              i.      Diversity Jurisdiction – § 1332
                                                            ii.      Federal Question // “Arising Under” Jurisdiction – § 1331
                                                          iii.      Also: § 1334 (Bankruptcy), § 1338 (patents, copyrights), and some others
                                                          iv.      Note: Appellate courts are only given powers of review!
4)      Lacks v. Lacks, (1976) p.267
a.       There is a distinction between lack of SMJ and an error in judgment – although the court made an error you can’t go back and “take away” the entire decision now
9 Types of SMJ (all from Article III Sec. 2)
Party Based SMJ:
1)      All cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers, consulates
2)      When the US is a party
3)      When 2 or more states are involved
4)      Between citizens of different states
5)      Between citizens of same states claiming land
6)      Between a state and a city of another state
7)      Between a state/city and a foreign state/city
Claim Based SMJ
8)      All cases in law and equity arising under the constitution, the laws of he US, treaties
9)      All cases of maritime admiralty
Judicially Created Exceptions to Federal Jurisdiction
1)      No divorce proceedings, custody issues
2)      No probate cases or anything having to do with wills, estates
Pros and Cons to Federal Jurisdiction
1)      Highlights issues of national significance
2)      Prevents prejudice against out-of-state parties
3)      Cross pollination of laws between state and federal court system
4)      Promotes competition
5)      Federal courts are better (questionable)
a.       Larger jury pools
b.      Less political, longer term appointments (for life)
c.       Greater resources
d.      Less parochial
1)      Congestion of Federal Courts
2)      Interferes with State Autonomy
3)      Slows Development of State Law
4)      Forum Shopping
Concerns Regarding § 1331 and § 1332
1)      Federalism – hard to measure
2)      Efficiency – easier to measure
Diversity – § 1332
The basic rule: plaintiff and defendant must be (1) residents of different states and (2) the amount in controversy must be over $75k
1)      Domicile
a.       Mas v. Perry, (1974) p.278
                                                              i.      Determining Domicile for diversity jurisdiction (creepy landlord)
b.      Private citizens:
                                                              i.      Defined: one’s physical presence in a state and one’s desire to make that resident one’s present home
                                                            ii.      Key: whether person intends to maintain principal establishment there (may be temporarily).  Once established a domicile continues until a new one is acquired
c.       Corporations:
                                                              i.      Defined: where corporation is incorporated and where it maintains a principle place of business – § 1332(c)(2)
                                                            ii.      Difficulty: this reduces the chance for diversity because of the many jurisdictions a corporation may be a citizen of
1.      Major difficulty: what constitutes a principle place of business?
d.      Unincorporated Groups (labor unions, etc.):
                                                              i.      There are no special guidelines à inquiry into citizenship of all the members of the group – if any one member shares had the same citizenship as the plaintiff then there is no diversity (US Steelworkers v. Bouligny)
e.       When is domicile determined?
                                                              i.      Domicile is determined immediately before filing suit
                                                            ii.      The citizenship of either party may change immediately before or after filing – sometimes opportunistically – but the only citizenship that matters is at time of filing!
                                                          iii.      Plaintiffs used to assign out-of-state representatives to achieve diversity (esp. in suits over wrongful death)
1.      § 1332(c)(2) amended: representative of plaintiff shares plaintiff’s citizenship for course of suit
2)      Amount in Controversy
a.       AFA Tours v. Whitchurch (1991) p.285
                                                              i.      Determining the amount of matter in controversy for diversity jurisdiction ($50K lower limit in this case)
b.      Must be at least $75k today
                                                              i.      As long as sum claimed is made in good faith, even if it isn’t clear full sum will be recovered à sufficient to meet requirement
                                                            ii.      If it becomes apparent during trial that sum won’t be met, that’s ok
c.       Aggregation of Claims
                                                              i.      Two-Party Action (A v. B)
1.      Aggregations Allowed: A may join all claims related and unrelated she had against B
2.      However: court won’t allow aggregation of A’s claim with respect to counter-claims made by B
a.       This aggregation would permit indirect SMJ consent = impermissible
                                                            ii.      Multiple-Party Action (A v. B+C) (A+B v. C) in which no single claim meets amount-in-controversy
1.      Joint and Common Interest
a.       Yes, jurisdiction here!
b.      Occurs when a plaintiff’s claims against multiple defendants arise out of a common nucleus of operative fact
2.      Joint and Several interest
a.       No jurisdiction here!
b.      Interests that are separate and distinct – do not rise out of common nucleus of operative fact
Federal Question – § 1331
Provides for Federal SMJ whenever cases “arise under” Federal Law
1)      Special Federal-Question Jurisdiction – Federal statutes which give express right of action (specified under statute, method given for remedy)
2)      General Federal Question Jurisdiction – how to apply the “arising under” requirement?
a.       Implied Right of Action – method/right of action not specified but clearly discernable
                                                              i.      Magic happens à implied private right of action
                                                            ii.      We don’t need to know any of this for this class!!!

st (to a certain extent)
7)      Merrell Dow v. Thompson (1986), p.309
a.       Evolution of Shoshone, Smith and Moore à Two Part Rule and Standard:
                                                                                                                    i.      Placement Rule
1.      If there is a federal issue à possibly a Fed. Q
                                                                                                                  ii.      Substantiality Standard (evaluates the federal issue from part 1)
1.      Ask: is the federal issue sufficiently substantial that it conveys 1331 SMJ (Holmes Creation Test again?)
a.       Determined by looking at “tea leaves” of previous court cases – see what has previously been considered “substantial enough”
b.      Split in Court: over issue of substantiality
                                                                                                                    i.      Do you need a Fed. C/A to find § 1331 SMJ? (footnote 12 – source of confusion)
1.      Majority (5): Yes
a.       (we agree with Holmes)
2.      Dissent (4): Just a factor
a.       (we agree with Smith)
8)      Grable & Sons Metal Products v. Darue Engineering (2005), p.317
a.       Creation of the “Souter Test”
                                                                                                                    i.      Substantiality of federal issue is just a factor – sometimes important enough to override lack of Fed. C/A
1.      Solves the split of Merrell Dow
2.      Holmes’s creation test dissent is out forever
                                                                                                                  ii.      “The missing federal C/A isn’t a missing key to the federal door, but the missing welcome mat”
b.      The Souter Test: if you have a state law claim w/an embedded Federal issue ask these questions
                                                                                                                    i.      Does the State necessarily raise a stated Fed Issue?
1.      Mottley Rule
                                                                                                                  ii.      Is the Issue actually disputed?
1.      Still need clarification from Sup Ct on this
                                                                                                                iii.      Is the issue substantial?
1.      This creates some “play” in the decision
                                                                                                                iv.      Can the issue be raised in Fed. Ct w/out disturbing Federalism?
9)      Empire Health v. McVeigh (2006), p.322
a.       Court re-affirmed use of Souter Test – its helpful to examine and see how they used it