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Flashcards in Chapter 2 Deck (28):


The process of bringing, maintaining, and defending al lawsuit


Two major court systems in the US

The federal court system;
The court systems of the 50 states and DC


Alternative dispute resolution

Several forms of nonjudicial dispute resolution that have developed in response to the expense and difficulty of bringing a lawsuit


Limited-jurisdiction trial courts or inferior trial courts

A court that hears matters of a specialized or limited nature. (Ex. traffic courts, juvenile courts, justice-of-the-peace courts, probate courts, family law courts, and misdemeanor criminal law cases and civil cases involving lawsuits under certain dollar amount). Can be appealed to a general-jurisdiction court or an appellate court


Small claims courts

Hear civil cases involving small dollar amounts (Ex. $5000 or less). Cannot have lawyer representing them. Appealable to general-jurisdiction courts or appellate courts


General-jurisdiction trial court

They hear cases that are not within the jurisdiction of limited-jurisdiction trial courts, such as felonies, and civil cases over a certain dollar amount. Appealable to the intermediate appellate court or state supreme court


Some states divide their general-jurisdiction courts into two divisions, one for:

criminal cases and one for civil cases


Courts of record

Another name for general-jurisdiction courts because the testimony and evidence at trial are recorded and stored for future reference


Intermediate appellate courts OR appellate courts OR courts of appel

An intermediate court that hears appeals from trial courts;
Reviews trial court record to determine any errors that would require reversal or modifications of the trial court's decision;
No new evidence is permitted;
Usually grants brief oral hearing to parties;
Appealable to state's highest court


Supreme court

State's highest court;
Hear appeals from intermediate state courts and certain trial courts;
No new evidence or testimony is heard;
Parties submit legal briefs and are usually granted a brief oral hearing;
Appealable to U.S. Supreme Court


U.S. Supreme Court

Federal government's judicial power is vested into this


Special federal courts

Have limited jurisdiction including:
U.S. tax court-Hears cases involving federal tax laws;
U.S. claims court-Hears cases brought against the United States;
U.S. Court of International Trade-Hears cases involving tariffs and international commercial disputes;
U.S. bankruptcy court-Hears cases involving federal bankruptcy laws


U.S. district court

The federal court system's trial courts of general jurisdiction;
1 FDC in each state and DC;
96 FDCs;
Receive evidence, hear testimony, and decide cases


U.S. courts of appeal

The federal court system's intermediate appellate courts;
13 circuits;
12th in DC and called DC Circuit;
Hears appeals from District court in its circuit;
No new evidence or testimony is heard;
Given oral hearing;
Appeals usually heard by three-judge panel


Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

A court of appeals in Washington, DC, that has special appellate jurisdiction to review the decisions of the Claims Court, the Patent, and Trademark Office, and the Court of Intermediate Trade


Supreme Court of the United States

Highest court in the land;
9 justices nominated by POTUS and confirmed by senate;
POTUS appoints one justice as chief and others are associates


Petition for certiorari

A petition asking the Supreme Court to hear one's case


Writ of certiorari

An official notice that the Supreme Court will review one's case


Unanimous decision

If all of the justices voting agree as to the outcome and reasoning to decide the case, it's a unanimous opinion. UDs are precedent for later cases


Majority decision

If a majority of the justices agree to the outcome and reasoning used to decide the case, it is a majority opinion. MDs are precedent for later cases


Plurality decision

If a majority of the justices agree to the outcome of the case, but not as to the reasoning for the reaching outcome, it is a plurality opinion. PDs are precedent for later cases


Tie decision

When the SC sits without all 9 justices being present. If a tie vote, the lower court decision is affirmed. Not precedent for later cases


Federal question

A case arising under the US Constitution, treaties, or federal statutes and regulations


Diversity of citizenship

A case between (1) citizens of different states, (2) a citizen of a state and a citizen or subject of a foreign country, and (3) a citizen of a state and a foreign country where a foreign country is the plaintiff


Exclusive jurisdiction

Jurisdiction held by only one court (federal courts only)


Concurrent jurisdiction

Jurisdiction shared by two or more courts ( state and fed. court)


Concurring opinion

A justice who agrees as to the outcome of the case but not the reasoning used by other justices may write a concurring opinion, setting forth his or her reasoning


Dissenting opinion

A justice who disagrees with the outcome of a case may write a dissenting opinion setting forth his or her reasoning for dissenting