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Flashcards in Federal Jurisdiction Deck (34):


What must the complaint contain & what must be pled w/ particularity?

Statement of subject matter jurisdiction;
Short and plain statement of the claim, showing entitled to relief; and
Demand for judgment (does not limit what can be recovered except in default cases)

3 Reqs. must be met!


“Notice pleading” – pleading is sufficient if puts other side on notice.


BUT must plead facts with specificity or particularity when:

Circumstances establishing fraud
Allegations of mistake
Special damages (i.e. those which do not normally flow from an event)




Motion for judgment as a matter of law (directed verdict).

Exceptional order, the effect of which is to take the case away from the jury.


Brought when the other side has been heard:

D can move at the close of P’s evidence and again at the close of all evidence. 
P can move at the close of all evidence.


Standard for granting the motion - reasonable people could not disagree on the result – ct. will view evidence in light most favorable to nonmoving party.



Post-Trial Motions

Motion for a New Trial

Judgment entered, but judge concludes that errors at trial require a new trial. 
Must move w/in 10 days after entry of the judgment.


Examples of grounds:

Prejudicial (not harmless) error at trial makes judgment unfair (wrong jury instruction, wrong evidentiary ruling)
New evidence that could not have been discovered in time for trial
Prejudicial misconduct of party or juror (e.g., juror made indpt investigation of accident scene)
Judgment is against the weight of the evidence, showing serious error of judgment by the jury.


é Note - granting new trial is less radical, since it results in starting over.




Who is entitled to a jury trial & how is the right secured?


Right to jury trial in Fed. Ct. - 7th Am. preserves it in actions at law, but not in suits at equity.

If both à   jury determines fact issues underlying law claim but not equity claim.
7th Am. does not apply in state courts.


Selecting the jury - each side has unlimited strikes of potential jurors for cause (e.g., bias, related to a litigant) & has 3 preemptory strikes – must use in race/gender neutral way.


Must demand jury trial in writing no later than 10 days after service of the last pleading raising a jury-triable issue. 




Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict)

After jury returns verdict & ct. enters it, losing party makes renewed motion & if granted results in judgment for him.


Must move w/in 10 days after entry of the judgment.


Standard - reasonable people would not disagree on the result (i.e. jury reached a conclusion reasonable people couldn’t have reached) – ct. views evidence favorably to nonmoving party


Must have made a motion for judgment as a matter of law at the close of all evidence – if you did not you cannot enter a renewed judgment (even if D entered it at the end of P’s evidence).


Joinder of Claims

Who requires notice in a class action & what does it contain?  Who is bound by a judgment?

Notice à in the Type 3 class, the court must notify (often by mail) all reasonably identifiable members, telling them various things, including:

can opt out;
binding effect of a class judgment on class members; &
can enter a separate appearance through counsel.


No notice is required in Type 1 or Type 2 classes .


All members are bound by the judgment, except those who opt out of the type 3.



Joinder of Claims

How is settlement achieved in a class action & who is bound?

Settlement in a Class Action


Requires court approval.


Court gives notice to class members to get their feedback on whether the case should be settled or dismissed.


If it's a Type 3 class à must give members a second chance to opt out.



     Joinder of Claims

What are the reqs. for a class action?

Too numerous for practicable joinder
Some questions of law or fact in common to the class
Rep’s claims/defenses typical of those of the class
Representative will fairly & adequately represent class


And 1 of these 3 types:

Prejudice - class treatment nec. to avoid harm to class members or to opposing party (numerous claimants to a fund)
Injunction or declaratory judgment (not damages) sought b/c class members were treated alike by the other party. (employment discrim.)
**Damages - Common questions predominate over individual questions, and  class action is the superior method for resolving the dispute. (mass tort)



      Joinder of Claims

SMJ in class actions & Class Action Fairness Act.

Reps diverse from all Ds (class members irrelevant) & Rep’s claim is $75k+


Class Action Fairness Act – federal SMJ if:

Any class member is diverse from any D (minimal diversity)
100 class members or more
Aggregate amount in controversy exceeds $5M


Shareholder derivative suits under diversity - Corp treated as a P for determining jurisdictional amount but treated as D for purposes of determining diversity



Joinder of Claims


D joins a third-party defendant (TPD) b/c TPD might be liable to the defending party for the claim against the defending party

D has right to implead w/in 10 days after serving answer but after that need Ct. permission
Need PJ over TPB – bulge rule applies


P & TPD can assert a claims against each other if same T/O.


NEED SMJ for each claim – look to diversity, alienage, FQ, then look to SJ…

Impleader claim (D v. TPD) & claim by TPB v. P?   Yes – meets the test & no limitation.
Claim by Plaintiff v. TPD?  Must have diversity or FQ b/c no SJ b/c limitation applies b/c it is a claim by a Plaintiff.



Joinder of Claims


Interpleader - one holding money or property (“stakeholder”) wants to force all potential claimants into a single lawsuit to avoid multiple litigation & the threat of inconsistent results.

Court may issue injunction stopping parties from litigating ownership question in another court.

Rule Interpleader – (1) Complete diversity - stakeholder must be diverse from every claimant, (2) $75k+, (3) regular service of process, (4) regular venue rules.
Statutory Interpleader – (1) Minimal diversity – 1 claimant must be diverse from 1 other claimant - don’t even look at the stakeholder’s citizenship, (2) AIC = $500 or more, (3) Nationwide service of process, (4) venue lies in a district where any claimant resides.
Ex – Insco (inc. in Del.; ppb NY) holds a fund of $100k under a life insurance policy.  Claimants to the fund are Bonzo (NJ), Gonzo (MN), & Nonzo (NY).  Insco wants to avoid being sued on the policy in 3 different actions so it should interplead.  There is no rule interpleader b/c no diversity b/c Insco & Nonzo both in NY.  But the requirements for statutory interpleader are all met – all the claimants are citizens of different states.



      Joinder of Claims


Offensive claim against a co-party - may be filed if it arises from the same T/O as the underlying action - NOT compulsory. 


Ex – P (CA) sues Draper (NY) & Sterling (NY) for personal injuries for $500k arising out of a car crash.  Sterling’s car was totaled in the accident & he doesn’t know who was driving between P & Draper but he wants his $200k for the car.    He must file a compulsory counterclaim against P b/c same T/O & there is SMJ b/c diversity & $75k+. 


He may file a cross-claim against Draper.  There is no diversity over the cross-claim but there is supplemental jurisdiction b/c a cross-claim always arises from the same T/O and this is not a claim by a P so the limitation does not apply.



     Joinder of Claims


Intervention - absentee wants to join a pending suit – can choose whether to intervene as a P or D & the court can realign her if she came in on the wrong side. 

Application to intervene must be timely.


Intervention of right – must show that absentee’s interests may be harmed if she is not joined & not adequately represented now


Permissive intervention - A’s claim or defense & the pending case have at least one common question – court has discretion to allow intervention


No SJ available over intervenors – must have diversity or FQ.



Joinder of Parties

What will the court do if a necessary party cannot be joined?

If joinder not feasible b/c no PJ, or joinder destroys diversity, or D has valid objection to venue Ct. must:

(1) proceed with the case w/o joining or
(2) dismiss the pending case b/c party is indispensable.


Factors to weigh in deciding to proceed or dismiss – alternative forum where everyone can be joined?, likelihood of harm in proceeding w/o party?, can ct. do smtg to shape the order in pending case to avoid such harm?


é Remember - Bulge rule applies to nec. parties


Joinder of Claims

Counterclaims by D

Offensive claim against opposing party filed with the responsive pleading (answer). 
Compulsory CC - arises from same T/O as P’s claim

MUST be filed with D’s answer or else waived – cannot sue on it in separate case
Not waived if D moved to dismiss w/o answering & if granted, D can still bring action against P in separate case

Permissive Counterclaim – not from same T/O so may assert here or a separate case.


Must be SMJ over claim!! – look to diversity, alienage, FQ first - then try SJ

SJ okay for Comp. CC even if less than $75k (maybe o.k. for permissive if has loose connection w/ original claim)



    Joinder of Parties

Who may join parties to an action?  How?

Multiple Ps may join their claims together (against 1 D or multiple Ds) if: (1) claims arise from same transaction or occurrence, and (2) claims raise at least one common question.


Court may order joinder of necessary party.


Must have SMJ.



       Joinder of Claims

What types of claims may be joined in a pending case?

            Type of Joinders


Class Action




Transfer of Venue

Can only transfer to a district court that has proper venue and PJ over the D (w/o waiver by D).


If venue in original forum is proper - may transfer to another federal district court based on (1) convenience of parties, (2) convenience of witnesses, (3) interests in justice. 

Ct. applies the choice of law rules of the original court, even if P initiated the transfer.


If venue in original forum is improper - court may transfer in the interests of justice or dismiss.



Service of Process

What are the 2 FRCP exceptions to normal service rules?

Process may be served by 18 yr. old nonparty by any method permitted by:           

Law of the state in which court sits, or
Law of the state in which service is effected, or
FRCP - Personal service, Leave & Mail, Authorized Agent, Mail & acknowledgement, under state long-arm statute


2 Exceptions:

Bulge Rule - with impleader & nec. parties, you can serve process out of state within 100 miles of federal courthouse
Statutory interpleader




How is residence determined for people & for corporations?

Determining Residence

Individuals - usually same as domicile


Corps & other associations - all districts where Corp is subject to PJ when case commenced.

Do not confuse with corporation’s citizenship for diversity jurisdiction.
Ex – Ford is a citizen of DE (inc.) & of MI (PPB) but it is a resident of every district where it is subject to PJ.



  Joinder of Parties

Who is a necessary party that must be joined?

Without absentee, cannot accord complete relief among those already joined (worried about multiple suits) or
Absentee's interest will be harmed if he isn't joined (practical harm) or
Absentee claims an interest which subjects a party (usually D) to possibility of multiple obligations. 

If any of these are met, the court may order joinder of the absentee.


éNote - Joint tortfeasors are NOT necessary



Subject Matter Jurisdiction

How can a Defendant waive removal rights?

Waiver of Removal Rights


Files a permissive counterclaim in state court -probably waives the right to remove


Files a compulsory counterclaim in state court - probably doesn’t waive right.


The Erie Doctrine

What is the Erie Doctrine & how does it work?

In diversity cases (or SJ claims), federal court must apply state substantive law.  


Federal law on point & directly conflicts w/ state law – apply fed. law as long as it is valid


No federal law on point:

Outcome determinative - apply state law. 
Balance of interests - strong interest in having its rule applied?
Avoid forum shopping - if the federal judge does not follow state law on this point, will it cause litigants to flock to federal court? apply state law


    Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Procedure for Removal

Defendant must:

File notice of removal in federal court, setting forth grounds of removal, signed under Rule 11,
Attach all documents served on D in the state action,
Send a copy to all adverse parties, and 
Then file a copy of the notice of removal in state court.


If removal was procedurally improper - P must move to remand to state court within 30 days of removal BUT, if there is no SMJ, P can move to remand anytime or the fed. ct. can remand anytime.



Which federal court must the case be filed in?

*P may lay venue in any district where either ALL defendants reside or a substantial part of the claim arose.

Ds reside in different districts of same state - venue proper where any 1 D resides


If no district meets either of these then:

Diversity cases - any district where any D is subject to PJ.
FQ cases - any district where any D is found.


Actions re: ownership, possession or injury to land (including trespass) must be filed in the district where the land lies


é Note - a case removed from state ct. goes only to the federal district embracing that state court.


Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Federal question cases & the “Well-Pleaded Complaint” Rule.

P’s claim must “arise under” federal law  (e.g. Fed. Cons, legislation)


Exclusive federal jurisdiction - patent, federal securities law cases


Well-pleaded complaint rule – complaint on its face, w/o extraneous material, must enforce a federal right


Ex – RR gives Gomer a lifetime free pass but then says he can’t use it b/c federal statute prohibits it.  Gomer sues, saying federal statute does not apply.  NO federal jurisdiction b/c he is not suing to enforce a federal right – he is suing to not enforce the statute.



Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Supplemental Jurisdiction

Once case is in fed. ct. - allows ct. to hear claims over which it has no independent basis of SMJ.

Test - claim must share a common nucleus of operative fact with the underlying case (irrelevant if claim involves different D)
Cannot use to overcome complete diversity rule.
Can use to overcome lack of AIC - P1 (NY) - $100k against D (PA) à P2 (NY) asserts state law claim of $50k arising from same t/o against same D = SJ, or à P1 joins D2 (PA) for $50k = SJ.
Limitation never applies in Fed. Q. cases & never applies to any parties other than Ps.


BASIC RULE à a non-federal, non-diversity claim can be heard in federal court if it meets “the test” UNLESS it is (1) asserted by plaintiff, (2) in a diversity case, & (3) violates complete diversity.


éCt. has discretion NOT to hear pendent claim if – Fed. Q. dismissed early, state law claim is complex or would predominate



    Subject Matter Jurisdiction

What is collusion & what is its effect on SMJ?

Collusion - no subject matter jurisdiction when a party has been improperly or collusively made or joined to invoke jurisdiction


TIP - watch for an assignment to create diversity


Ex - Joe (NY) wants to sue George (NY) so he assigns his claim to Bobby (GA), who then sues George.  No diversity of citizenship jurisdiction if plaintiff Bobby is a mere collection agent for Joe with no real interest in the case otherwise.



    Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Requirements of removal of case from state court to federal court.

D can remove to federal court if case could have been filed in Fed. Ct. (diversity, alienage, FQ)


Must remove within 30 days of service of the first removable pleading.


All Defendants must agree to removal UNLESS there is a “separate & independent” FQ against 1 D – can remove whole case & ct. can remand state issues


P can NEVER remove based on D’s counterclaim (as if he is now the D).


No removal if any D is a citizen of the forum & the SMJ would be based on diversity BUT if resident dismissed, remaining Ds have 30 days from service of dismissal to remove BUT no removal more than 1 year after the case was filed.




Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Citizenship of Corporations & Unincorporated Associations

Corporations - don’t talk about domicile – citizenship is all states where incorporated (usually 1) and one state of principal place of business (PPB).


Tests for PPB - headquarters (nerve center - where decisions are made) or major production or service activity (muscle center) - usually the nerve center is PPB unless all business activity is in one state.

Can be citizen of 1+ state but can only have one PPB.


Unincorporated associations (e.g. partnerships, labor unions) – look to citizenship of all members, including general & limited partners – everyone must be diverse.


Subject Matter Jurisdiction

What are the tests for valuing an injunction?

Value of injunction (discuss both on exam):


Majority view (P’s viewpoint) - does conduct hurt P by more than $75,000?


Minority view (D’s viewpoint) - would it cost D more than $75,000 to comply with the injunction?



    Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Amount in controversy.  Aggregation.

Must be a good faith allegation that the claim in the complaint exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest & costs

Valid unless it is “clear to a legal certainty” that P cannot recover $75k+

Ultimate recovery amount irrelevant to jurisdiction.


Aggregation – P adds 2 or more claims to meet AIC - can be unrelated & no limit to # of claims aggregated

only aggregate claims if it is one P against one
Do NOT aggregate claims if P is claiming against 2 separate Ds BUT for claims against joint tortfeasors, aggregate claims b/c for joint claims we use the total value of the claim.



    Subject Matter Jurisdiction

What types of cases are excluded even if diversity reqs. are met?

Federal courts will not hear cases involving:


issuance of a divorce, alimony or child custody decree


probate of a decedent's estate.



Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Complete Diversity Rule


Must be complete diversity between the Ps & Ds.


Domicile = presence in the state at some point and intent (subjective) to make that state your permanent or fixed home.
US citizen & permanent resident - citizen of state where domiciled
US citizen domiciled abroad - NOT a citizen of a state (no diversity w/ US citizen & no alienage)
Decedents, minors, and incompetents - look to citizenship of the person being represented – not the citizenship of rep.


é  Parties must be diverse when the claim is filed.