THE COURT SYSTEM
o United States Supreme Court
· Circuit of Appeal (6th Circuit meets in Cincinnati)
o Trial-District Courts (North District- Ohio)
o United States Supreme Court
· State Supreme Court
o Appeal Courts (Toledo 6th Appellate district of Ohio)
§ Trial Courts (Court of Common Pleas; Municipal à Traffic, Criminal; Family)
– In order for a court to have jurisdiction over a case à it must have:
o Personal jurisdiction over the def.
o Subject Matter jurisdiction of the cause of action
o Proper Venue
1. PERSONAL JURISDICTION
2 criteria for personal jurisdiction:
o Statute or rule of civil procedure which authorizes the court to exercise personal jurisdiction
o Exercise of personal jurisdiction does not violate the due process clause
Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution:
o No state shall deprive a person of property without Due Process of Law
§ Issues of fair play and substantial justice
*SEE Pennoyer v. Neff*
o Found the Oregon law authorizing courts to exercise jurisdiction on an out of state defendant notifying only through publication was unconstitutional and violated due process of law.
State sovereignty is key to this decision à offensive to one state when another state exercises jurisdiction over citizens of the one state.
o Territorial approach to jurisdiction à based on the view that the state court has jurisdiction over a person because he or she lives in the state or because he or she has property in the state.
o States have sovereignty over people and property that are located within their borders
o Exercise of the POWER of sovereignty
1. Traditional Basis of Jurisdiction:
Consent à individual can waive due process and consent to jurisdiction
Citizenship à benefits from the state in exchange that the state gets allegiance from you
Presence and service in state à temporary presence in the state and the person gets served
Presence of property in state à State can exercise jurisdiction on property within the state (if case is about property)
Quasi in Rem
Attachment of property before suit
*SEE Kane v. New Jersey*
– New Jersey requires that in order to drive a car in New Jersey, you must go register the car at the courthouse stating that you will comply to any lawsuit that may arise in jurisdiction.
*SEE Hess v. Pawloski*
– doesn’t require signed papers. However, they have enacted a statute that says if you are driving in the state of Massachusetts it is assumed that you are consented to jurisdiction in the state. Implied.
*SEE Adam v. Saenger*
– A state can require that a corporation within a state is consenting to jurisdiction within that state.
2. Modern Approach to Jurisdiction:
No Contacts Contacts not Contacts not Contacts related Contacts
related to C/A related to C/A to C/A related
Sporadic or Continuous & Sporadic Or Continuous
Casual Systematic Casual Systematic
(less likely) (more likely)
No PJ No PJ General Jur. Specific Jur. PJ
(C/A = Cause of Action)
New Test: (International Shoe Approach)
– Minimum contacts with the jurisdiction
– so that assertion of jurisdiction does not violate the standards of fair play and substantial justice.
How to apply this test:
o Bottom line is fairness and reason for the forum state to put jurisdiction over the individual
o Amount of contacts required are less if the injury occurred in the forum state.
Fair Play and Substantial Justice:
Points to Consider:
– Covenience of Defendant
– How strong are Interests of Plaintiff in having case decided in forum state?
– Interests of the Forum State
– Interest of All States (Public Policy)
*SEE Kulko v. Superior Court*
– Supreme Court held no per
Once a product is sent into the state à that is enough to suffice as minimal contact
– How can a retailer avoid being hauled into court in another state?
o Not to sell to other states à limiting geographical info, even on the internet
o Forum selection clause in the sales contract
Jurisdiction over Property
– modern approach overrules traditional basis in jurisdiction over property
– In Rem à Cause of Action is About the Property
– Quasi In Rem à Not about Property
o Limited to value of property seized
o Property is attached as a means to obtain jurisdiction over the owner
o Traditionally if you obtained jurisdiction this way, then personal service was not required
§ *SEE Pennington v. Fourth National Bank*
· (a bank account as property)
o These become more problematic because these properties are much more mobile than a piece of land.
*SEE Harris v. Balk* (quasi in rem)
o Court rules à obligation to pay debt clings to and follows a person wherever he may go
§ Therefore, debtors could be sued in any state where he goes
International Shoe Approach:
– minimum contacts and fair play and substantial justice
– expanded traditional bases of jurisdiction
– firmly ensconced as a traditional basis for jurisdiction
– Rule 12(h) à if you don’t object to personal jurisdiction and file a motion to dismiss in a federal case, in the beginning of the case, you will have waived your right to dismissal, and will have been presumed to have consented
objection to personal jurisdiction = consenting to courts determination