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Civil Procedure I
Wayne State University Law School
Benson, Jocelyn

Civil Procedure – 1st Semester: Remedies and Rules/Procedure for Pleading Stage to Appeals

I. REMEDIES

Rule 1: governs all civil suits (law or equity) & shall be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action

14th Amen: no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, and property without due process of law

A. SUBSTITUTIONARY REMEDIES

(usually money damages that substitue for what was actually lost)

1. Compensatory Damages

UNDER RULES OF COMPENSATORY LAW (plaintiff cannot truly be made whole)

mitigation principle: plaintiff must take steps to reduce damages in reasonable amount of time
proof problems: damages can’t be speculative, need to prove replacement costs “market value”, pain/suffering
time value of money: pre/post judgement interest (inflation during time, possibly years of trial) award excludes interest for bodily injury, emotional distress or reputational harms — interest rates are usually under market value so not wholly compensated
pay own legal fees: American Rule is to pay own fees – incentive to for P’s to bring lawsuit since won’t have to pay other parties fees if P loses, incentive for D’s to settle if have strong defense cuz costs of litigation may be over what the settlement award could be. However court costs may be awarded to winning party under Rule 54(d)(1) and (2) allows for attorney’s fees provided some other provision of law establishes a right to them and Rule 68 authorizes awarding of costs in cases against party who rejects settlement (& judgment awards less than that) – incentive to settle
no compensation for subjective harm
irreplaceable items/property

U.S. v Hataley U.S suing Hataley to get off land, meantime took animals and killed them. So Hataley sued US. Ct awarded Hataley damages for value of animals, loss of use, and pain/suffering. U.S appealed. Court held: Damages reversed, court must callculate damages using market value, mitigation, and individual punitive awards
· Replacement costs market value at time of loss
· Mitigation right to damages does not extend forever, calculate from time of loss til reasonable time item should be replaced, or fixed, P’s needed to have animals replaced, if couldn’t must prove efforts and lastly
· Pain/suffering punititive awarded on individual basis, not group
Notes: if don’t have finances to mitigate, don’t have to do what’s unreasonable/impractical Valencia v. Shell Oil.

2. Punitive Damages

Punitive punish D for wrongful conduct. To be entitled to punitive there must be willful, malicious, and bad faith conduct Intentional torts like fraud, deceit, trickery (NO punitives in negligence or contracts, because not about punishment, only about making P whole, i.e. “compensation”)

14th Amendment: clause places outer limits on civil damages awards

Procedural (D must have notice and opportunity to be heard) and (State cannot prohibit appellate review of punitive damages award Oberg v. Honda).
Substantive (Award will violate due process if unreasonably and disproportionately large BMW v. Gore)

(SETS CAP ON PUNITIVES)
State Farm v. Campbell Campbell awarded $145mill in punitives (and $1mill in compensatory) State Farm appeals for excessive damages. Court Holds: award violates due process, so use BMW v. Gore guideposts to award appropriate punitive damages.

THE SUBSTANTIVE TEST:
1. reprehensibility of D’s misconduct (more than one of the following – harm caused physical or economical, tortious conduct showed reckless regard for others, financial vulnerability of injured, conduct was repeated or just once, harm was result of intentional malice, trickery, deceit or was it accidental
2. disparity between actual/potential harm suffered by P versus punitive damages award (single digit ratio between compensatory and punitive awards — ratios larger than single digit can satisfy due process only when an egregious act has resulted in a small amount of economic damages). wealth can be used but cant be only factor in awarding large punitives
3. difference between punitives awarded here and civil penalties imposed in comparable cases.
Notes: case sets precedent, limits very high awards (but may increase average if “multipliers” are used)

B. DECLARATORY RELIEF

Declaratory Relief: statement of court declaring rights and duties of parties in a case or stating an opinion on a question of law without awarding relief (binding), limited to actual controversies and not hypotheticals Rule 57

(Example) When State Farm determining if they should deny coverage and risk “bad faith” action, or if they should just pay; should go to court for declaratory judgement, court will decide what they should do, protects State Farm

C. SPECIFIC REMEDIES

(Courts may order parties to do things or refrain from doing them)

Types of Specific Remedies

Legal (decided by jury) Equitable (decided by judge)

replevin (returning goods to owner) injuctions
ejectment (removing unlawful occupants) constructive trust
mandamus (order to lower court to perform act required by law rescission of contract
habeas corpus reformation of contract
money damages accounting, quiet title
restitution, trover

(EQUITABLE REMEDIES)
1. Temporary Restraining Order – No Notice Before Filing
Rule 65(b)temporary restraining order can be filed with court before giving notice to other party (ex parte)
but TRO only good for 10 days Granted if there’s: irreparable injury (no legal remedy), $ damages won’t fix not appealable

2. Injunctions: order of court pro

n: to collect internal revenue, meet needs of national war effort, protect against economic disaster of bank failure, and protect public from misbranded drugs and contaminated food.

II. PLEADINGS

Burden of Persuasion defined as the preponderance of evidence (more probable than not or more likely than not)

A. FILING THE COMPLAINT

1. Serving Pleadings Rule 3 A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.

2. Summons and Service Rule 4 A Summons & Complaint shall be served on D or waiver of service may be requested. (Plaintiff must serve defendant within 120 days of filing complaint, D may move or Court may order dismissal of the action without prejudice provided plaintiff show good cause for failure)

3. Pleadings Rule 7(a) there shall be a complaint and an answer and no other pleading shall be allowed, EXCEPT that the court may order a reply to an answer For example: if D gives aff. defense in answer & P wants dismissed cuz legally invalid, court may order a reply to D’s answer

4. Claims for relief Rule 8(a) a complaint shall contain (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief (3) a demand for judgement for the relief the pleader seeks. Relief in the alternative may be demanded. (e)(2) a party may set forth two or more statements of a claim or defense, alternatively or hypothetically. A party may also state as many separate claims or defense as the party has regardless of the consistency and if based on legal, equitable grounds

(STANDARD TO STATE A CLAIM)
Bell v. Novick Transfer Co. P gave no specific facts about negligence alleged that D operated truck in careless, reckless, & negligent manner that directly caused injuries, P claims no contributory negligence
· Held: sufficient under R 8(a) and denied D’s 12(b)(6) Motion because P doesn’t have to plead with specificity and details and denied D’s motion for a “more definite statement” cuz the complaint was not so vague or ambigious that D could not be reasonably required to answer-better if D obtains specifics during discovery Pleading the elements for a cause of action states a claim.
· Must plead enough facts, including law and elements, but not too specific.