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Civil Procedure I
West Virginia University School of Law
Bowman, Gregory W.

“Road Map” for Analyzing a Civil Procedure Problem:
 
1.      Personal Jurisdiction—First, make sure that the court has personal jurisdiction or jurisdiction over the parties. You must make sure that: (1) Defendant had minimum contacts with the forum state; and (2) Defendant received such notice and opportunity to be heard to satisfy the constitutional requirement of due process.
 
2.      Venue—Then, check whether venue was correct. In federal court suits, the venue requirement describes what judicial district the case may be heard in. Essentially, the case may be heard either: (1) in any district where the defendant resides (with special rules for multi-defendant cases); or (2) in any district in which a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred. 28 U.S.C. § 1391
 
3.      Subject Matter Jurisdiction—If the case is a federal case, you must then ask whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Essentially, this means that one of the following two things must be true:
 
a.      Diversity—Either the case is between citizens of different states (complete diversity is required, so no plaintiff can be a citizen of the same state as any defendant) and at least $75,000 is at stake; or
 
b.      Federal Question—The case raises a federal question. Essentially, this means that the plaintiff’s right to recover stems from the U.S. Constitution, a federal treaty, or an act of Congress. (There is no minimum amount required in federal questions cases.)
 
4.      Ascertaining Applicable Law—Now, figure out what jurisdiction’s law should be used in the case. Under the Erie doctrine, the federal court sitting in diversity jurisdiction must apply the substantive law of the state (either statutory or judge-made law) where it is sitting and the federal procedural law.
 
JURISDICTION OVER THE PARTIES
 
        I.            General Principles
 
A.     Three Requirements for Full Faith and Credit
 
1.      Personal Jurisdiction—Personal jurisdiction refers to the ability of a court to exercise power over a particular defendant or item of property. There are three different kinds of jurisdiction which a court may exercise over the parties—one of these three must be present for the case to go forward:
a.      In personam jurisdiction—In personam jurisdiction, or jurisdiction over the defendant’s “person,” gives the court power to issue a judgment against her personally. Thus, all of the person’s assets may be seized to satisfy the judgment, and the judgment can be sued upon in other states as well.
 
b.      In rem jurisdiction—In rem jurisdiction, or jurisdiction over a thing, gives the court power to adjudicate a claim made about a piece of property or about a status.
 
c.       Quasi in rem jurisdiction—In quasi in rem jurisdiction, the action is begun be seizing property owned by attachment, or a debt owed to (garnishment) the defendant, within the forum state. The thing seized is a pretext for the court to decide the case without having jurisdiction over the defendant’s person. Any judgment affects only the property seized, and the judgment cannot be sued upon in any other court.
 
d.      International Shoe Co. v. Washington
Minimum Contacts Requirement—If jurisdiction in the case is in personam or quasi in rem, the court may not exercise that jurisdiction unless the defendant has minimum contacts with the state in which the court sits. The requirement of minimum contacts means that the defendant has to have taken actions that were purposefully directed towards the forum state.
 
Relatedness / Types
Suit Arises from Contacts
Suit Does Not Arise from Contacts
Substantial Continuous and Systematic Contacts
General Jurisdiction
General Jurisdiction
Continuous and Systematic Contacts
Specific Personal Jurisdiction
No Jurisdiction
Isolated and Irregular Minor Contacts
Must satisfy minimum contacts to have specific Jurisdiction                 (International Shoe)
No Jurisdiction
No Contacts
No Jurisdiction
No Jurisdiction
 
                                                                                      i.      Unreasonable Exercise—Even if the defendant has the requisite minimum contacts with the forum state, the court may only exercise jurisdiction if considerations of fair play and substantial justice are satisfied.
 
2.      Notice—Even if the court has authority to judge the dispute between the parties or over the property before it, the court may not proceed unless the defendant received adequate notice of the case against him.
 
a.      Reasonableness Test—In order for the defendant to have received adequate notice, it is

      Two Pronged Analysis
 
(a)   Does the state’s statute permit jurisdiction?
 
(b)   If so, is constitutional due process satisfied?
 
      II.            JURISDICTION OVER INDIVIDUALS—In most states, there are a number of different criteria which will enable the court to take personal jurisdiction over an individual.
 
A.     Factors to consider
(a)   Presence
(b)   Domicile
(c)    Residence
(d)   Nationality or citizenship
(e)   Consent
(f)     Appearance
(g)   Doing business in the state
(h)   Doing an act in the state
(i)     Causing effect in state by act or omission done elsewhere
(j)     Ownership, use or possession of a thing in state
(k)    Other relationships
 
1.      Presence—Jurisdiction may be exercised over an individual by virtue of his presence within the forum state. That is, even if the individual is an out-of-state resident who comes into the forum state only briefly, personal jurisdiction over him may be exercised as long as service was made while the individual is in the forum state.
 
Burnham v. Superior Court—Physical Presence
∆ and his wife, ∏, separate while residing in New Jersey. ∏ moves to California with their children. ∆ visits California on business, and stops briefly to visit the children. While ∆ is visiting, ∏ serves him with process in a California suit for divorce. ∆ never visits the state again. The court held that California can constitutionally assert personal jurisdiction over ∆ based on his presence in the state at the time of service, even though that presence was brief, and even though the ∆ had virtually no other contacts with the state.
 
Justice Scalia: Jurisdiction based on physical presence alone constitutes due process because it is one of the continuing traditions of our legal system that define the due process standard of ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice’.