Select Page

Civil Procedure I
Wayne State University Law School
Benson, Jocelyn

Civil Procedure B. Benson OUtline Draft

Evaluating Jurisdiction:
(P – before filing; D – after filing):
1 – Is there Subject Matter Jurisdiction?
2 – Is there Personal (In Personam or In Rem) Jurisdiction?
3 –Is Venue proper?
4 – Is the forum convenient or is transfer available?

1) Subject Matter Jurisdiction -Does a state or federal court, or both, have power to hear case?

A. Federal Question Jurisdiction (FQJ)
Origins:
Constitution (Article III)
Statutory (1331)
Decisional (court interpretation)
1331 – DCs shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions “arising under” the Cons, laws, or treaties of the U.S. (means less than the Cons meaning)
§ “Arising under” federal law
P need to rely on arising under jurisdiction, it can’t be in expectation of D’s defense
P’s claim ONLY
Defenses and counterclaims DO NOT matter
§ Well-pleaded complaint rule (Mottley)
§ States the facts and the body of law that makes it actionable
§ Look to complaint and then surmise how it should have been written without anticipating defenses
§ What would have P pleaded if P was NOT trying to get into federal court
§ Must show the case arises under federal jurisdiction
§ Applies for both original and removal jurisdiction
§ Anticipating a defense – Mottley,
P makes allegations/seeks relief involving federal law in their complaint in anticipation of the rebuttal from the D
But the suit that P brought was a simple breach of K, so P did NOT HAVE TO mention federal law
The reference to federal needs to be an essential element of the claim
The federal issue here is an anticipation of the D’s defense
Louisville & Nashville RR v. Motley (1908) “Well Pleaded Complaint” Rule
Allegation in complaint that a constitutional defense will be raised in answer, does not raise a federal question which would create FQJ.
§ Well-pleaded complaint rule would require Mottley to say, “we had a K and he breached it”
§ A suit belongs in federal court only if the original statement of the Plaintiff’s cause of action shows that it is based on the Const

he Venue
o Justice Marshall’s Strawbridge rule
· Can have multiple Ds from the same state or multiple Ps from the same state
· Can cure diversity by dropping the party from the suit who destroys your diversity
· Determined at the commencement of the action
i. Individual’s citizenship (U.S. citizenship + domicile)
· 2 prong test; most recent state where he has:
a. Resided
b. With the intent to remain indefinitely
i. Means might or might NOT
ii. Staying on an open-ended basis
iii. Going away to college without definite plans beyond your studies
iv. Taking a one year job (unless you know you are coming back for sure)
· Remain domiciled in previous state until the 2 prongs are BOTH met
· A person’s subjective intent is the test for domicile
Objective evidence is proof of domicile, is NOT the test