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•Summary judgment – terminating case before it is every tried; appropriately granted if the evidence in the case so clearly indicates that factually one side or the other is entitled to prevail that a trial would be a waste of timeChapter 2: Court Systems, Jurisdiction, and Functions•Adjudication – the fitting of rules to facts required for settling legal controversies; primarily performed state and federal courts•State System CourtsoCourts of Limited JurisdictionLimited to the kinds of cases they can heari.e. justice of the peace courts, municipal courts, traffic courts, probate courts, domestic relations courtsoGeneral Trial CourtsMost important cases, involving state law; general jurisdictionAka district courts, common plea courts, superior courtsoAppellate Courts (which frequently exist at two levels)Hears appeals from judgments entered by the courts belowSometimes called supreme court if only one appellate courtIn more populous sates, appellate courts interposed between trial courts and supreme courtDecide legal questions, don’t hear testimony of witnesses or otherwise entertain new evidence •Federal Court SystemoSpecialized special courtsi.e. US tax court, US Claims CourtsoU.S. district courtsBasic trial courts within federal systemMost federal cases originate in these courtsoAppellate courts11/13 courts located in circuitsParties who seek review must petition the supreme court for a writ of certiorari – an order of a higher court requiring a lower court to send to it the documentary record of the trial•Problems of JurisdictionoJurisdiction – the legal power of a governmental body or official to take some type of actionoIf a case has to be filed in a state where the attorney normally doesn’t practice, attorney may be unfamiliar with the procedures of that state’s courts and thus may be more comfortable in federal court in that state, where the procedures are basically the same as in federal courts in other states
o2 categories of civil cases that constitution and federal statues have placed within the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courtsoFederal question cases – jurisdiction over any civil case in which the plaintiff’s claim arises from the US constitution, a federal statue, or a federal treaty (rare)Exclusive – only in federal courts (patent, copyright, antitrust, securities laws)Concurrent – can be heard by either federal or state courtsoDiversity of citizenship cases – federal subject matter jurisdiction only if amount in controversy is greater than $75KConcurrent federal-state jurisdiction, but if file in state, can’t appeal to US supreme courtIf a case involves multiple plaintiffs and/or multiple defendants, exists only when no common state citizenship on opposite sides of caseCorporations are citizens of state where they were incorporated and of states where is principle place of business