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Flashcards in Federal Jurisdiction Deck (50):

Personal jurisdiction

Assessed in fed court the same way as in NY (see NY Practice)

Due process considerations: CONTACTS ("minimum contacts with the forum such that the exercise of jurisdiction would be fair and reasonable" --> purposeful availment; foreseeable could be haled into court there, RELATEDNESS (more likely to have jur if claim is related to contacts; unless systematic + continuous activity such that D is "essentially at home" there --> general jur, at least some physical presence is required), AND FAIRNESS ("traditional notice of fair play and substantial justice"

Jur also authorized over 3PDs and parties required to be joined under compulsory joinder rules if the party is served within 100 miles from the place where the summons was issued


Subject Matter Jurisdiction

1. Diversity/alienage;
2. Federal Q


Diversity Jur

Suits between (1) citizens of different states; or (2) citizen of a state and citizen of a foreign country; PLUS amount in controversy >$75,000

Class Action --> citizenship = named representative

Aliens may appear on either side as add'l parties as long as there are citizens on both sides of the controversy.
Must be met at the time case is filed.


Citizenship: People

PEOPLE: place of domicile (phys presence + intent to remain permanently). People can only have one domicile; DC is a state for these purposes.

A person who is a U.S. citizen but does not reside in any U.S. state cannot obtain diversity jur.

A RESIDENT ALIEN is not an alien for the purposes of this test, so a New York resident alien cannot be sued under diversity by a New York citizen.


Citizenship: Business Associations

Can be citizens of more than one state.

Corps: place of incorporation AND principle place of business ("nerve center" where corporate control is located).

Other ass'ns,like partnerships: use citizenship of ALL members. Where the business was formed; principal place of business is irrelevant for these purposes.


Citizenship: decedents, minors, incompetents

Citizenship is THEIR citizenship not that of their representative


Amount in Controversy

Must EXCEED $75,000 excluding the interest and litigation costs. A claim made in good faith will meet this requirement unless "CLEAR TO A LEGAL CERTAINTY" that P cannot recover more than $75,000.

P can aggregate claims against ONE D to meet the $75,000 requirement but cannot aggregate claims against separate defendants, unless they are being sued as joint tortfeasors.


Failure to Obtain a Judgment of $75,000

Does not defeat jurisdiction but P may have to pay D's litigation costs


Amount in Controversy Where P Seeks Equitable Relief

Satisfied if P can show either: (1) encroachment by D decreases value of P's property by more than $75,000; or (2) D's removing or preventing the encroachment would cost more than $75,000


Absolute Bars on Diversity Jurisdiction (Types of Claims)

Probate of will
Divorce action
Child custody decrees


Federal Question Jurisdiction

Claim based on a right or interest founded substantially on federal law. Citizenship + amount in controversy are irrelevant for this purpose.

Note: federal DEFENSES of otherwise state law claim do NOT suffice for Fed Q jur


Exclusive Federal Jur

Some federal securities and anti-trust cases


Well-pleaded complaint rule

Just stating P's claim without any extraneous material, would it be federal?


Supplemental Jurisdiction

If at least one claim asserted satisfies federal Q or diversity jur, additional claims not meeting these reqs may come in under supplemental jurisdiction if the case is already in federal court, where:
1) The claim shares a "common nucleus of operative fact" with the case that invoked federal SMJ (arises from same transaction/occurrence);
2) IF the original claim is based on diversity, the supplemental claim is not asserted by P against a citizen of the same state as P. If P's additional claim would defeat diversity, no supplemental jur.


Discretion to dismiss supplemental claims

Court has discretion NOT to hear the supplemental claim, (1) if the federal Q is dismissed early in the proceedings; or (2) if the state law claim is complex; or (3) state law issues would predominate. The first of these is the most common.


Removal to Federal Court:

A DEFENDANT ONLY can remove a state-court case that could have originated in federal court to federal court (subject to certain diversity limitations). Removal must occur within 30 days after service of the first paper making the case removable. D must prove SMJ in federal court (federal DEFENSE insufficient). If removal was improper, can remand. All defendants then in the action must move to remove; P has no right of removal.

Permissive counterclaims filed in state court probably waive right of removal. Compulsory counterclaims in state court probably do not.


Diversity Limitations of Removal Power

There is NO removal allowed where there is no federal Q basis for jur and: (1) any D is a citizen of the forum state where the action was brought; or (2) more than 1 year has passed since the case was filed, unless judge finds that P acted in bad faith to prevent removal (as where P intentionally joins a P to defeat federal diversity removal and dismisses after 1 year).


Place of Removal

A case that is are removed goes to the federal district court embracing the state court where the action was filed.


Erie Doctrine: Conflicts of Law

A federal judge sitting in diversity must apply state substantive law but applies federal PROCEDURAL law when:
(1) there is a federal rule or statute directly on point, as long as valid (they are all valid); or
(2) where there is no directly on point fed rule, federal judge can ignore the state procedural rule unless: (a) outcome determinative; (b) balance of interest favors state courts; or (c) forum shopping risk.

State law rules always apply for: elements of claim or defense; SOL; tolling rules for SOL; and conflict/choice of law rules.



P may file in any district where ALL Ds RESIDE or a SUBSTANTIAL PART OF CLAIM AROSE. (Residence = domicile; for corps, any district where the corp could be subject to PJ - diff than for diversity). If Ds reside in different districts of the SAME STATE, P can lay venue in the district in which ANY of them resides. An alien or non-resident citizen an be sued anywhere.


Transferring Venue

May be transferred to another district where claim could have been brought, if parties consent and it finds cause for transfer. Court may also transfer based on forum non-conveniens based on the conveinence of the parties, witnesses, and interests of justice.


Service of Process

Summons + complaint delivered within 120 days of filing complaint, or else dismissed without prej unless P shows good cause for delay. (Same time frame for CPLR)


Who May Serve Process

Any party over 18


Methods of Serving Process (Generally)

(1) FRCP methods; (2) law of the state in which the fed ct sits; (3) law of the state in which service is effected


FRCP Methods of Serving Process

1. Personal service (given on D anywhere)
2. Substituted service (on someone of suitable age and discretion who ACTUALLY RESIDES there
3. On authorized agent
4. Waiver by mail: regular mail ok; send to D copy of complaint and two copies of waiver form with pre-paid means of returning form. D can return executed waiver form within 30 days (same time frame in CPLR), and P files waiver (service effective from date of filing) D has waived formal service but has NOT waived defenses like lack of PJ. (Failure to comply with waiver form w/o good cause --> D must pay for costs of substitute service)

A federal court in NY can serve process outside of NY only to the extent a NY state court can.


Permissive Joinder

Plaintiffs whose claims (1) arise from the same transaction or occurrence and (2) raise at least one common question are permitted to sue as co-plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs may sue defendants as co-defendants where the claims against the two (1) arise from the same transaction or occurrence and (2) raise at least one common question.

Must be SMJ and PJ for all parties/claims


Necessary Joinder

An absent party is “necessary” if:
1. Without absentee, cannot accord complete relief among those already joined (worried about multiple suits); or
2. Absentee’s interest will be harmed if he isn’t joined (practical harm); or
3. Absentee claims an interest which subjects a party (usually D) to possibility of multiple obligations.


If a necessary party cannot be joined because there is no PJ or joining the party messes up diversity jur, the case will either proceed without the D or the entire case will be dismissed because necessary party is an indispensable party (balancing availability of alternative forum; likelihood of harm of proceeding without her; what options the court has to avoid harming the necessary party)


Defendant's Counterclaims

Filed against P. Must satisfy SMJ and PJ.
Compulsory counterclaims arise from same transaction or occurrence and are forfeited if D doesn't bring during this case.

Permissive do not arise from same T/O as P's claim and do not have to be asserted in pending case. If there is no Fed Q or diversity jur over the claim, the Second Circuit has said supplemental jur can be asserted if there is a "loose factual connection" with P's claim.



A claim against a co-party. This type of claim must arise from the same transaction or occurrence (T/O) as the underlying action. If you have a cross-claim, you need not file; failure to do so does not forfeit the cause of action later.



Defendant joints a third-party defendant (TPD), usually on claim for indemnity or contribution.
-- Right to implead within 14 days of serving answer; after that, need court permission (no time limit for impleader in CPLR).
-- Plaintiff can assert claim against TPD if it arises out of same T/O as underlying case.
-- TPD can assert claim against plaintiff if it arises from same T/O.


Intervention AS OF RIGHT

A party can intervene and join pending suit on her own behalf as of right where:

A’s interest may be harmed if she is not joined and she is not adequately represented in the litigation, considering:
- whether complete relief cannot be accorded without her;
- Absentee's interest harmed if not joined;
- Interest which subjects a party to possibility of multiple obligations.



Intervention - Permissive

A’s claim or defense and the pending case have at least one common question. Allowing intervention here is discretionary with the court.



Interpleader (generally)

Generally. One holding money or property that wants to force all potential claimants into a single case to avoid multiple litigation and the threat of inconsistent results. The stakeholder wants to force all of the claimants into a single case.
Person holding property = stakeholder
Person who wants property = claimants

Special interpleader diversity statute: amount in controversy >$500 is sufficient to confer jur


Rule Interpleader

- Stakeholder must be diverse from all claimants
- Amount in controversy must exceed $75,000
- Regular service of process rules
- Regular venue rules


Statutory Interpleader

- One claimant must be diverse from one other claimant; doesn’t even look at citizenship of stakeholder
- Amount in controversy must exceed $500
- Nationwide service of process
- Venue OK in any district where any claimant resides


Class Action: Initial Requirements

(1) Too numerous for practical joinder;
(2) Some question of law or fact in common to the class, so resolution generates answers for all;
(3) Rep’s claims/defenses typical of those in the class;
(4) Rep will adequately and fairly represent the class.


Types of Class Actions

(1) Class treatment necessary to avoid harm –– either to class members or to the party opposing the class. E.g., numerous claimants to a fund; individual suits would deplete fund.

(2) Injunction or declaratory judgment (not damages) sought because class members treated alike by other party.

(3) Common questions predominate over individual questions AND class action is the superior method for resolving dispute.


Class Action Procedure

(1) Certification and definition of the class based on the requirements and types of class;
(2) Appointment of class counsel
(3) IF Type 3: individual notice sent allowing members to opt out, notifying them they will be bound by the judgment if they do not opt out and that they can enter a separate appearance through counsel.

Judgment bind all, except those in the third class who opt out.

Court approval req for class action settlement


Temporary Restraining Order

Maximum 14 day period, if irreparable injury will be heard before prelim inj can be issued. Can be imposed w/o notice IF: (1) affidavit, verified complaint of irreparable injury; (2) efforts to notify or reasons why notice should not be required; (3) moving party provides security to pay for damages incurred by adverse party if court finds he was wrongfully restrained.



(1) grounds of fed jur
(2) short statement of claim with facts supporting a PLAUSIBLE, not possible, claim. (Fraud, mistake stated w/ particularity).
(3) judgment for relief


Motion to Dismiss

1. Waived if not raised in the FIRST of the answer or MTD): Lack of PJ; improper venue; insufficient process; insufficient service.
2. Can be raised at any time prior to trial: failure to state a claim; failure to join necessary party.
3. Can be raised through exhaustion of appeal: lack of SMJ



21 days after service, or 60 days after request for waiver was mailed for a D who waives personal service.

(note: CPLR it's 20 days if service was personal or mail + acknowledgment and 30 days for other forms of service)

if pre-answer MTD or motion for more definite statement was made, and no other time stated, answer must come 14 days after denial/postponement of motion or after service of more definite statement.


Amendments to Pleadings

Pleadings may be amended once within 21 days of service (CPLR: 20 days)


Rule 11 Sanctions

Can be imposed on a party who presents a paper for improper purpose (harassment, delay, etc.) or the legal arguments are unwarranted and frivolous; or the factual allegations have no evidentiary support. Sanctions can include anything the court chooses including fines and payment of opposing side's fees (except that the PARTY may not be fined for violation of the requirement that claims not warranted by existing LAW be pled).


Shareholder Derivative Suit in Fed Court

+ SH at time of transaction complained of or received by operation of law;
+ No collusion to confer jur on the court;
+ Demand on directors or reasons why she didn't make a demand.

Corp treated as a plaintiff for purposes of determining jurisdictional amount (damages as corporate plaintiff) but treated as defendant for purposes of determining diversity citizenship.



Must make a demand for jury trial within 14 days of filing of last pleading. LEGAL CLAIMS ONLY not equity; but if there L + E claims, legal claim should be tried first to the jury and then the equitable claim to the court.


Inconsistent, irreconcilable verdicts

When a verdict shows on its face that the jury failed to follow the court's instructions, either redeliberation or new trial ordered.


Judgment as a Matter of Law and Motion for New Trial

Reasonable jury would not have legally sufficient basis to find for non-moving party, viewing evidence in light most favorable to non-moving party. Making a motion for JMOL is a prerequisite for making a renewed motion for JMOL (after verdict --> move for w/in 28 days). Also 28 days to file motion for new trial.


Collateral Estoppel

Final judgment; actually litigated; same parties


Res Judicata

Claim preclusion -- barred from trying same cause of action in later suit (claims arising out of same transaction/occurrence).