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BASIC CIVIL PROCEDURE I PROFESSOR DEVLIN FALL 2006 I) INTRODUCTION A) Civil case goals i) Fairness – making the party ‘whole’ ii) Efficiency – rendering a decision using as little time and money as is appropriate iii) Truth iv) Social acceptability v) Social Goals vi) Note that these goals may conflict with each other. B) Sources of law (procedural) i) Constitution ii) Statutes iii) Codified rules (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure – same weight as statutes) iv) Case law (Judicial precedent) v) Local rules II) HOW TO GO ABOUT FILING A COMPLAINT A) Civil litigant determines whether she has a claim, and if so, against whom, through the substantive law – civil procedure provides the vehicle for attempting to vindicate rights created by substantive law B) Turn in the paperwork – file the complaint C) Pay the fee D) Paperwork is day/time stamped E) Get your case docket number III) SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION *** Start of by talking about why federal SMJ is limited and what two elements are needed for federal SMJ. A) Why federal courts should hear certain cases i) Uniformity of application of federal laws ii) Neutrality iii) Avoidance of state bias B) Two questions to ask : i) Does the case fall under Article 3 of the Constitution? ii) Does Congress have a statute providing for federal jurisdiction? C) Federal subject matter jurisdiction can be established in one of two ways: i) Diversity of citizenship AND the requisite amount in controversy ii) Federal question jurisdiction D) US Const. Article 3 – Federal Judicial Power – creates Supreme Court and provides Congress with the power to create lower courts “as it sees fit” i) All cases arising under the Constitution ii) Treaties made under US authority iii) Cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls
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iv) Cases of admiralty or maritime v) Controversies to which the US is a party vi) Between two or more states vii) Between state and citizens of another state viii)Citizens of different states ix) Between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states x) Between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects E) Rule 12(h)3 – Motion to dismiss based on lack of SMJ, can be brought up at any time. If the court finds a lack of SMJ, even if a decision has been rendered, it is void for lack of SMJ. F) Subject Matter Jurisdiction – jurisdiction over certain cases or disputes i) Limited Subject Matter Jurisdiction – federal courts, can only hear certain types of cases, as prescribed by the US Constitution and federal statutes ii) General Subject Matter Jurisdiction – state courts, can (with rare exceptions) hear any cognizable claim iii) Concurrent Subject Matter Jurisdiction – when the case satisfies the SMJ of both the state and federal courts, the plaintiff decides in which court to file G) US Const. Article 6 – Supremacy Clause – If federal law and state law conflict, the federal law preempts the state law H) Supplemental Jurisdiction
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