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CA Civil Procedure > PJ & SMJ > Flashcards

Flashcards in PJ & SMJ Deck (30):

Basic idea

This involves one question: can P sue D in this state? That’s all. It is not concerned with what COURT we go to in that state – that is subject matter jurisdiction.


Whether there’s personal jurisdiction is a two-step analysis:

1. Satisfy a state statute AND
2. Satisfy the Constitution (Due Process).

Same whether filed in state or fed ct

So whether a federal court in CA has PJ is assessed exactly the same way as whether a state court in CA would have PJ.


In personam jurisdiction

P sues to impose a personal obligation on D.


Statutory analysis. Most states have a series of statutes that allow personal jurisdiction in different situations, such as personal jurisdiction over defendants who:

(1) are served with process in the state, or

(2) are domiciled in the state, or

(3) do certain things (e.g., commit a tortious act, conduct business) in the state.


In California, though, the statutory analysis is easy. Why?

Because the statute reaches the Constitutional limt


Constitutional analysis.

D must have purposefully availed of the forum – much reach out to the forum to gain some benefit or protection.


Basic idea  of SMJ

Here, we’ve decided we have personal jurisdiction over D in California and that we’ll sue in state (not federal) court. There is one trial court in California – the Superior Court. Each of the 58 counties has one Superior Court.


The Superior Court has general subject matter jurisdiction. What does that mean?

It can hear any civil case (any as in from anywhere in the world)


Are there any kinds of cases the Superior Court cannot hear?

Yes, but few::

Cases arising under some federal law must be brought in federal court: – e.g., patent infringement, bankruptcy, some federal securities and antitrust claims. But most cases arising under federal law can be heard by state courts.


Within the Superior Court, there are different classifications of cases:

  1. Limited Civil Cases.
  2. Unlimited Civil Cases.
  3. Small Claims Cases.


Limited Civil Cases.

These are civil cases in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $25,000 (25k or less)

  • In a limited civil case, you get limited discovery and cannot file a “special demurrer.”
  • And in a limited case, generally you cannot get a permanent injunction or declaratory judgment or determine title to land.


Biggest limitation: in a limited case

No claimant can recover more than $25,000


Unlimited Civil Cases.

  • These include civil cases in which the plaintiff sues to determine title to land or seeks general equitable relief.
  • If the case is seeking damages, the amount is unlimited over $25,000


Small Claims Cases.

These are heard in a small claims division of the Superior
Court. Amounts in controversy:

-- If plaintiff is an individual: $10,000 or less.
-- If plaintiff is an entity: $5,000 or less.


Who determines classification?



Plaintiff initially determines the classification.
-- In doing so, what do we consider?

The “amount of the demand, or the recovery sought, or the value of the property, or the amount of the lien” in controversy.

This does not include interest on the claim or costs


Classification is limited v unlimited civil case:

If plaintiff files a limited civil case, she must note the classification in the caption of the complaint. You need not note if it is unlimited.


-- If a case is misclassified or if subsequent events make it clear that the original classification should be changed, does the court lose subject matter jurisdiction?

No - the case is reclassified


Reclassification can happen in 2 ways:

  1. Automatic
  2. On Motion


Automatic Reclassification:

If P amends her complaint in a way that changes the classification (raises or decreases the amount in controversy from limited to unlimited or unlimited to limited), what happens?

Clerk of court reclassifies the case


On motion reclassification. A party can move to reclassify. Or the court can reclassify on its own motion. What is required here?

The court must give notice to all parties and hold a hearing


In determining whether to reclassify, can the court consider the merits of the underlying claim?

No - we do not try the case to classify it


Can the court consider materials beyond the pleadings, such as a judicial arbitration award and settlement conference statement to reclassify?

Yes - it can look beyond the pleadings and it must consider a judicial arbitration award


If there is a motion to reclassify from unlimited to limited, reclassification is OK if the judge finds that the case:

1) will necessarily result in a verdict of $25,000 or less; OR
2) more than $25,000 is virtually unobtainable


If there is a motion to reclassify from limited to unlimited, reclassification is OK if the judge finds:

there is a possibility the verdict will exceed $25,000


Effect of multiple claims. Rule:

the entire case is either limited or unlimited. So no case is mixed, with some limited and some unlimited aspects.


Can we aggregate claims?

Yes -  same rule as federal rules


P-1 asserts a claim of $26,000 against D and P-2 asserts a claim of $14,000 against D in the same case. Can this be filed as an unlimited civil case?

Yes - P1s claim is unlimited, so the case is unlimited: that means that any claimant can recover any amount


P sues D for $20,000 in a limited civil case. D files a cross-complaint against P for $26,000. What happens?

The entire case is reclassified as unlimited because Ds cross-complaint exceeds $25,000


P sues D for $26,000 in an unlimited case. D files a cross-complaint against P for $12,000. What happens?

The entire case is unlimited