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SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES A. Diversity vs. federal question: In the federal courts, there are two basic kinds of controversies over which the federal judiciary has subject matter jurisdiction: (1) suits between citizens of different states ( diversity jurisdiction) ; and (2) suits involving a federal question 1. Other cases: ambassadors, admiralty, and where US is a party B. Amount in controversy: In federal suits based on diversity, an amount in excess of $75,000 must be in dispute. This is the amount in controversy requirement. In federal question cases there is no amount in controversy requirement. C. Burden: The party (Π) seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court must make an affirmative showing that the case is within the court’s subject matter jurisdiction. D. Dismissal at any time: No matter when a deficiency in the smj of a federal court is noticed, the suit must be stopped, and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction (even on appeal). See FRCP 12(h)(3), requiring the court to dismiss the action at any time if it appears that the court lacks smj. I. DIVERSITY JURISDICTION A. Definition: The Constitution gives the federal courts jurisdiction over “controversies between the citizens of different state.” This is the grant of “diversity jurisdiction.” 1. Date for determining: The existence of diversity is determined as of the commencement of the action . If diversity existed between the parties on that date, it is not defeated because of one of the parties later moved to a state that is the home state of the opponent. 2. Domicile: What controls for citizenship is domicile , not residence. A person’s domicile is where she has her ture, fixed and permanent home. a. Resident alien: A resident alien (an alien who lives in the United State permanently) is deemed a citizen of the state in which he is domiciled. b. Presence of foreigner: In a suit between citizens of different states, the fact that a foreign citizen (or foreign country) is a party does not destroy diversity. 3. Complete diversity: Complete diversity is required. That is, it must be the case that no plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any ∆. 4. Pleading not dispositive: In order to determine whether diversity exists, the pleadings do not settle the question of who are adverse parties. Instead, the court looks beyond the pleadings, and arranges the parties according to their real interests in the litigation. a. Nominal parties ignored: In determining the existence of diversity, nominal or purely formal parties are ignored. See 1332(c)(2) B. Alienage jurisdiction: Related to diversity jurisdiction, but analytically distinct, is “alienage” jurisdiction. Alienage jurisdiction exists where there is a suit between citizens of a state, on one side, and foreign states or citizens thereof, on the other.
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1. Suit between two foreign citizens: But a suit solely between citizens of two foreign countries does not fall within the alienage jurisdiction. C. Diversity involving corporations:
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