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Civil Procedure I
Wayne State University Law School
Burnham, William

I. Court Structure
A. State Courts
1.                Trial Courts
o       General jurisdiction – major civil disputes and felonies
o       Limited general jurisdiction – most states have, layer below, civil cases up to certain amount & misdemeanors
o       Trial courts w/ specialized jurisdiction (probate, surrogate, juvenile, claims courts)
o       Small claims courts/Justice of the Peace – informal, no appeal, can ask for removal or trial de novo
2.      Appellate Courts
o       Court of last resort is final arbiter of STATE law
B. Federal Courts
1.                District Courts – basic level, “Article 3 judges”, life terms
2.                Federal courts w/ specialized jurisdiction
o       US Claims, Tax, Int’l Trade, Bankruptcy, Military/Veteran Affairs
o       “Article 1 judges”, specific terms
3.                Federal Courts of Appeal
o       13, right to appeal all final judgments, also hears admin. Agency appeals
o       11 cover several states, DC & Federal Circuit
o       Right to disagree w/ one another, opinions only persuasive
4.                US Supreme Court
o       Cases appealed from US Appeals Courts, Appellate jurisdiction over state courts re. federal issues
o       2 routes =
§         Appeals as of right – rare
§         Certiorari – discretionary grant, chosen via conference every week, “Rule of Four”
o       Original jurisdiction over when ambassadors or state is a party
II. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
A. Federal Question
·         Cases arising under the Constitution, Federal laws, Treaties, Controversies btw. states
·         Civil rights, antitrust, bankruptcy, patent/copyright, securities, labor law, fed. criminal statutes
·         Well-pleaded Complaint Rule – jurisdiction only in cases where Fed. question is necessary to P’s claim (NOT defense)
o       Supreme Court: even if State law claim, if it requires a “substantial” Federal issue à Federal jurisdiction
·         However, R 57 declaratory judgment can switch side – have to take a look @ how the case would be brought if there were not a declaratory judgment
·         Federal & State jurisdictions overlap – most cases go to state courts
·         Procedural law of jurisdiction – have state courts deciding substantive law federal issues & federal courts deciding substantive law on state issues
B. Diversity – between citizens of 2 different states or between a citizen & an alien
·         Limited to major disputes $75,000
·         Citizenship = place of domicile (residence + intent to remain indefinitely)
·         Corporation = citizen of state where incorporated AND citizen of state where principle place of business
·         Concurrent jurisdiction of all diversity cases in state court
·         Strawbridge Rule – requires ALL P’s to be from different states than ALL D’s
C. Removal
·         Where subject matter juris could be state or federal, initial choice is made by P
·         D’s can choose federal forum via removal
o       If diversity, only can do when no D is a citizen of the state of the court where the action was brought
o       File “notice of removal” – state court can’t do anything, federal court decides whether jurisdiction (sanctions if filed erroneously)
o       If in Federal Court, use STATE LAW but FEDERAL PROCEDURE
 
Hierachy:
Fed Constitution
Fed Statute
Fed Regulation
Fed Common Law
State Constitution
State Statute
State Regulation
State Common Law
 
 
III. Relief
A. Substitutionary Relief (damages)
1. Compensatory Damages
·         usually governed by substantive law governing measurement & proof of damages, failure of proof will be enforced by summary judgment/directed verdict
a. Economic – compensate P for $ he has lost or has had to pay
b. Non-Economic – damages reach beyond $ lost – pain & suffering, emotional dis

blic interest rights)
o       Predominantly 1-way shifting (Christianburg)
·         Buckhannon (307) – court said party that failed to secure a judgment or consent decree but nonetheless achieved desired result (voluntary) not prevailing party for purposes of attorney’s fees
c. Fee Arrangements with Lawyers
·         Hourly rate or
·         Contingency fee – works as insurance, spreads fees among all clients
o       Standard contingency fee is 1/3rd
·         Public Subsidies/Professional Charity – volunteers from law firs, difficult to match up w/ clients
o       Also legal aid – gov. $, can’t challenge public policy
·         Cause-related groups (Brown v Board of Education)
·         Common fund – P wins a case that helps others gain a valuable legal right, can recover part of attorney’s fees from fund that his efforts created – all who benefit must share cost (class action suits)
B. Specific Relief (legal, usually equitable)
·         Legal – damages, substitutionary, Equitable – get back
·         For equitable, usually must prove legal is inadequate or irreparable harm, no jury in equitable
·         Legal = replevin, ejectment, mandamus, habeus corpus
1. Permanent Injunctions
·         Courts order parties to do/stop doing things or use official to recapture property
·         Most common equitable act, enforced by contempt ($/jail)
·         Sigma (282) – non-compete agreement, court sets out equity requirements – balancing interests of involved parties à
Hardship on P if denied vs. hardship