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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
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