Civil Procedure I
I. Selecting the Proper Court
A. The court must have:
1. Jurisdiction over the subject matter
2. Jurisdiction over the person
3. Proper Venue
4. Must give constitutionally and statutorily adequate notice and statutorily adequate service of process
B. Analytical Tools:
1. Subject-matter Jurisdiction
a. Has the government given this particular court the competence to hear this kind of case?
b. Is this a matter that the federal courts can hear or is it a matter only a state court can hear?
2. Territorial Jurisdiction
a. Can the sovereign through any of its courts reach out and exercise power over this defendant?
3. Venue Jurisdiction
a. Which is the right district in the federal system and which is the right county in the state system?
– Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
A. Courts Sensitivity to the Issue
1. Fed. Rules of Civil Procedure: Rule 28(h)(3)
(a) “Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject-matter, the court shall dismiss the action”.
i. Eg. Capron v. Van Noorden – It doesn’t matter that P was the one who chose the court. He can still assert lack of SMJ Anyone can assert a lack of SMJ at any time.
B. The Subject-Matter Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts
(a) Art. III, §2, U.S. Constitution sets out the permissible scope of the judicial power of federal courts in Article III, §2. It lists the following types of federal SMJ:
i. Cases “arising under this Constitution … under their Authority,” i.e. federal question jurisdiction
ii. Cases affecting ambassadors and other representatives of foreign sovereigns.
iii. Admiralty and maritime cases
iv. Controveries to which the U.S. is a party
v. Controversies between states and between a state and citizens of another state
lle R.R. Co. v. Mottley – Mottley, in his complaint anticipated that D’s defense was going to be based on some federal question and therefore sued in federal court.
i. The “Well-Pleaded Complaint Rule” – The P cannot allege in his complaint that the D will try to use a federal defense and in the same complaint answer that defense. A federal suit arises under the Constitution when the P’s statement of his own cause of action shows that it is based in a FQ.
e. Holmes Test – If the law that creates the cause of action is state law, it must be heard in a state court. If the law that creates the cause of action is federal law it will be heard in a federal court.
f. Smith Test – When state law creates the cause of action, but the application or interpretation of federal law produces the “win-or-lose” issue in the case, there is “arising under” jurisdiction.