Civil Procedure Outline
I. Modern Dispute Resolution: Litigation and Its Alternatives
A) Overview: The State and Federal Legal Systems
1) State Judicial Systems:
(a) Often state courts designed so that courts are specialized as to what they hear: What types of cases that a court can hear is referred to as subject matter jurisdiction, This can be based on the amount at stake (i.e. small claims court). Other states have a ‘unified’ court system (examples of these include Illinois and California). In these states the trial level court hears all cases regardless of amount at stake.
(b) On the appellate level most states have a two tier appellate system. States that do not include: Delaware Nevada and Wyoming, these states have only a single appellate court. Furthermore there are states, such as Alabama and Texas, which maintain appellate courts that hear specific types of cases.
(c) There are also differences in the procedure and substantive law of each of these courts
2) Federal Judicial System
(a) Article III of the Constitution created the U.S. Supreme Court. This article outlines the types of cases that may be heard by the U.S.S.C and lower federal courts. The Judiciary Act of 1789 created a system of lower federal trial and appellate courts. Any cases not authorized by congress or falling within Article III must be heard in state court.
(b) The federal court system can be visualized as a pyramid:
Federal District Court
Court of Appeals
(c) At the District court level there are about 90 districts. None take up more than a single state but some, more populous states have several. The number of judges in each district varies by district size. There are 12 Circuit Courts of Appeals.
(d) There are 3 different types of cases that Federal Courts hear:
(i) Federal questions: those arising cases regard federal statutes, treaties and the U.S. Constitution
(ii) Diversity cases: Cases arising from disputes between citizens of different states
(iii)Alienage cases: Those arising between citizens and aliens.
II. Personal Jurisdiction
A) Overview: Territoriality is the concept that a person can only submit to jurisdiction if they, or their property are found in the jurisdiction. Territoriality was the sole basis for establishing jurisdiction until about the mid-twentieth century. This was based sovereignty and judicial economy (if court did not have power over person then it would likely not be enforceable, although with full faith and credit clause this is not really an issue). With increased mobility and technological advances this concept has evolved.
B) Pennoyer v. Neff and the Rule of Territoriality
1) Pennoyer v. Neff-
(a) Pennoyer sues Neff in a collateral attack in which Mitchell, Pennoyers old attorney was granted Pennoyer’s property located in Oregon through a default judgment. Mitchell then sold this property to Neff. In this action Pennoyer challenges the validity of this original judgment.
(b) The court found that because the court did not have personal jurisdiction over Pennoyer in the original suit it could not be enforced. Under Oregon code there are 4 ways to establish jurisdiction:
(i) Appearance in court
(ii) Can be found in the state
(iii)Be a resident of the state
(iv)Have property in the state, and in this case only to the extent of property attached at the time of asserting jurisdiction.
i. The original court failed to attach Pennoyer’s property in order to establish jurisdiction and Pennoyer did not meet any of the other basis for jurisdiction.
C) Traditional Bases of Jurisdiction
1) Personal Jurisdiction
(a) Physical Presence and Transient Jurisdiction: States may exercise jurisdiction over anyone found and served while physically present within the state. Under this approach a person can be “tagged” no matter how fleeting their presence in the state is.
(b) Voluntary Appearance in Court: a defendant submits to jurisdiction by appearing on court to defend the suit without making a timely objection to jurisdiction
(c) Consent to Service on an Agent: Express and Implied Consent: When a nonresident has appointed “an agent or representative in the State to receive service” a court may acquire jurisdiction over that person.
(d) Domicile: a person’s state of domicile may assert jurisdiction over them even if they are not present in the state at the time of suit as long as they are given notice of the suit. A person’s domicile is the state in which they have taken up residence with the intent to remain indefinitely or permanently.
2) In Rem and Quasi in Rem Jurisdiction
(a) Harris v. Balk
(i) Harris was indebted to Balk for the amount of 180. Epstein, a resident of Maryland sued Balk asserting that he owed him $300 while Harris was in Maryland. Epstein initiated garnishment of Harris’ debt to Balk. Harris did not fight these proceedings and Balk never responded to the suit, which was served through Harris. Balk later sued Harris seeking his debt and argues that the court in Maryland did not have jurisdiction over him.
(ii) The court stated that debt is an object that can be attached like any other property and may be used to assert in rem jurisdiction and the garnishee was present in the state although it was fleeting. The judgment ordering Harris to pay Epstein was valid and therefore Balk could not seek the $180 from Harris.
3) Corporations and Traditional Bases of Jurisdiction: Traditionally the only ways that a court could assert jurisdiction over corporations was:
(a) If they had designated an agent in that state
(b) Voluntarily appeared in court
(c) In Rem or Quasi in rem based on the attachment of the corporation’s property in that state. If the corporation had no property or its value did not meet the plaintiffs claims what could be done?
(i) Courts engaged in the fiction that a corporation had “consented” to jurisdiction if their activities were sufficient to warrant exercising jurisdiction.
D) Long-Arm Jurisdiction
1) International Shoe and the “Minimum Contacts” Test
(a) International Shoe v. State of Washington
(i) A Delaware shoe company employed salespeople in the state
ration, as the place for all litigation.
(ii) Court holds that this is ok because the ( had notice that they could be haled into court in Florida. They had adequate connections with the forum state through their involvement with the corporation.
(d) Asahi Metal Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Superior Court of CA (Part I.)
(i) A tire valve made by Asahi ended up in a California purchased car. Asahi sells many and very few actually ended up in California. Court held that this was not enough to establish jurisdiction.
(ii) There must be something more than the fact that you product ended up in the forum state through the stream of commerce. This is O’Conner’s stream of commerce plus theory (stream of commerce not enough but stream of commerce PLUS something else is adequate to establish jurisdiction.)
(e) Kulko v. Superior Court
(i) New York resident Kulko divorced his wife who moved to California. There was a visitation agreement in which she would get the kids 3 months out of the year and child support. The kids later went to live with her and she filed suit in California seeking modification of custody and child support. Kulko claims there is no jurisdiction in California.
(ii) Court agrees stating that a simple effects test is not sufficient in this case because it is a family. Furthermore simply by causing a result it can not necessarily be said that the person has purposefully availed himself to the forum state.
(f) Calder v. Jones
(i) Suit brought for defamation in CA regarding a letter written in the Enquirer. a Florida corporation.
(ii) Research was done in Florida but jurisdiction is available in California due to the effects test. Because California is the focal point of the story and of the harm suffered. The actions were specifically focused on California. This test has been limited to cases in which the defendant committed an intentional tort; the plaintiff felt the brunt of the harm in the forum state so that the forum state is the focal point of the harm suffered; and the defendant expressly aimed his tortious activity at the forum state so that the forum state is the focal point of the tortious activity.
(g) Panavision International, L.P. v. Toeppen-
(i) Domain name taken by Toeppen. Company then asks for name back and ( says ok for a fee. Court used the effects test to resolve the jurisdictional issue:
The (’s conduct was aimed at Panavision in California, the harm was felt by Panavision in California and the focus of the intent is in California. Might even be able to resolve the issue through minimum contacts: ( sent letter to California attempting to extort