#2 Outline for The U. S. Legal System and Court Jurisdiction.docx

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BLAW 3050 THE U. S. LEGAL SYSTEM AND COURT JURISDICTION – CHAPTER 4/5 I. The Court System A. Court Systems B. Jurisdiction – Is the power of a court to affect legal relationships. 1. Subject matter – Refers to the power of the court to hear and decide particular types of cases and questions. Subject Matter Jurisdiction: determines which court is the “right” court to hear a particular type of case or controversy. a. Federal – Two specific grounds exist for federal jurisdiction: 1. Federal question - Are the questions that pertain to the federal constitution, statutes of the United States, regulations of federal administrative agencies, and treaties signed by the United States. This means if a case was about bankruptcy, it will raise questions under the federal bankruptcy code. If there was a case about copyrights, this means it is a federal court case because states do not have subject matter jurisdiction to decide copyright cases due to the fact that they cannot issue copyrights. 2. Diversity – Federal question jurisdiction is not necessary when diversity of citizenship is present. Diversity of Citizenship Jurisdiction: Exists when the plaintiff is a citizen of one state and the defendant is a citizen of another; also exists when one party is a foreign country and the other is a citizen of a state. Federal Jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship; a further requirement exists: 1. The amount in question MUST EXCEED $75,000 in diversity cases (this is to reduce the caseload in federal courts). A lot of time the amount in the case is unknown so you use the plaintiff viewpoint rule , which the courts look to the amount the plaintiff, acting in good faith, claims to be dispute. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over antitrust under federal statutes, bankruptcy, copyright, federal crimes, and patents.

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