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18 Cards in this Set

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Chap. 3 - Problem 1

On June 15, a newspaper columnist predicted that the coast of State X would be flooded on the following September 1. Relying on this pronouncement, Gullible quit his job and sold his property at a loss so as not to be financially ruined. When the flooding did not occur, Gullible sued the columnist in a State X court for damages. The court dismissed the case for failure to state a cause of action under applicable State law. On appeal, the State X Supreme Court upheld the lower court. Three months after this ruling, the State Y Supreme Court heard an appeal in which a lower court had ruled that a reader could sue a columnist for falsely predicting flooding.

(a) Must the State Y Supreme Court follow the ruling of the State X Supreme Court as a matter of stare decisis?
(b) Should the State Y lower court have followed the ruling of the State X Supreme Court until the State Y Supreme Court issued a ruling on the issue?
(c) Once the State X Supreme Court issued its ruling, could the United States Supreme Court overrule the State X Supreme Court?
(d) If the State Y Supreme Court and the State X Supreme Courts rule in exactly opposite ways, must the United States Supreme Court resolve the conflict between the two courts?
a. A decision of one state's supreme court is not binding on another state's supreme court. It may be persuasive, but it is not binding.
b. Not necessarily. The decision of one state's supreme court is not binding on the lower courts of another state. Again, it may be persuasive, but it is not binding.
c. If the issue is one strictly of state, as opposed to federal law, which this seems to be, then the United States Supreme Court could not overrule the State X Supreme Court. However, a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on federal questions is binding on all other courts, federal and state.
d. No. If the conflict in rulings relates exclusively to state law, the U.S. Supreme Court cannot exercise jurisdiction. Even if the conflict between states related to federal law, there is no mandatory requirement that the Supreme Court intervene. The Supreme Court may intervene when two Circuit Courts of Appeals adopt inconsistent positions, but there is no mandatory requirement that it do so.
Federal Courts
___ Courts trial courts of general jurisdiction that can hear and decide most legal controversies in the Federal system
____hear appeals from the district courts and review orders of certain administrative agencies
____nation’s highest court, whose principal function is to review decisions of the Federal Courts of Appeals and the highest State courts
___ have jurisdiction over cases in a particular area of Federal law and include the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
1- District Court
2- Courts of Appeal
3- The Supreme Court
4- Special Courts
State Courts
___hear minor criminal cases, such as traffic offenses, and civil cases involving small amounts of money; conduct preliminary hearings in more serious criminal cases
____ have general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases
___trial courts, such as probate courts and family courts, having jurisdiction over a particular area of State law
___include one or two levels; the highest court’s decisions are final except in those cases reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court
1- Inferior Trial Courts
2- Trial Courts
3- Special Courts
4- Appellate Courts
Subject Matter Jurisdiction Definition authority of a court to decide a particular kind of case
What is Federal Juresdiction?
Whaat is State Juserdiction?
__ Jurisdiction
• Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction Federal courts have sole jurisdiction over Federal crimes, bankruptcy, antitrust, patent, trademark, copyright, and other specified cases
• Concurrent Federal Jurisdiction authority of more than one court to hear the same case; State and Federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over (1) Federal question cases (cases arising under the Constitution, statutes, or treaties of the United States) that do not involve exclusive Federal jurisdiction and (2) diversity of citizenship cases involving more than $75,000
___ Jurisdiction State courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all matters to which the Federal judicial power does not reach
Jurisdiction over the Parties
Definition the power of a court to bind the parties to a suit
What are In Personam / In Rem / Attachment / Venue Juresdictiones ?
___Jurisdiction jurisdiction based upon claims against a person, in contrast to jurisdiction over the person’s property
___ Jurisdiction jurisdiction based on claims against property
___ Jurisdiction jurisdiction over a defendant’s property to obtain payment of a claim not related to the property
_____ geographical area in which a lawsuit should be brought
1 In Personam
2 In Rem
3 Attachment
4 Venue
Civil Procedure
_____ a series of statements that give notice and establish the issues of fact and law presented and disputed
• Complaint initial pleading by the plaintiff stating his case
• Summons notice given to inform a person of a lawsuit against her
• Answer defendant’s pleading in response to the plaintiff’s complaint
• Reply plaintiff’s pleading in response to the defendant’s answer
___ process requiring the parties to disclose what evidence is available to prove the disputed facts; designed to encourage settlement of cases or to make the trial more efficient
• Judgment on Pleadings a final ruling in favor of one party by the judge based on the pleadings
• Discovery right of each party to obtain evidence from the other party
• Pretrial Conference a conference between the judge and the attorneys to simplify the issues in dispute and to attempt to settle the dispute without trial
• Summary Judgment final ruling by the judge in favor of one party based on the evidence disclosed by discovery
____determines the facts and the outcome of the case
• Jury Selection each party has an unlimited number of challenges for cause and a limited number of peremptory challenges
• Conduct of Trial consists of opening statements by attorneys, direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and closing arguments
• Directed Verdict final ruling by the judge in favor of one party based on the evidence introduced at trial
• Jury Instructions judge gives the jury the particular rules of law that apply to the case proves
• Verdict the jury’s decision based on those facts the jury determines the evidence proves
• Motions Challenging the Verdict include motions for a new trial and a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict
___ determines whether the trial court committed prejudicial error
____plaintiff with an unpaid judgment may resort to a writ of execution to have the sheriff seize property of the defendants and to garnishment to collect money owed to the defendant by a third party
1 The Pleadings
2 Pretrial Procedure
3 Trial
4 Appeal
5 Enforcement

Alternative Dispute Resolution
____ a nonjudicial proceeding in which a neutral party selected by the disputants renders a binding decision (award)
___ a nonbinding process in which a third party acts as an intermediary between the disputing parties
____ a nonbinding process in which a third party acts as an intermediary between the disputing parties and proposes solutions for them to consider
____ a nonbinding process in which attorneys for the disputing parties (typically corporations) present evidence to managers of the disputing parties and a neutral third party, after which the managers attempt to negotiate a settlement in consultation with the third party
___mock trial followed by negotiations
___consensual bargaining process in which the parties attempt to reach an agreement resolving their dispute without the involvement of third parties
1 Arbitration
2 Conciliation
3 Mediation
4 Mini-Trial
5 Summary Jury Trial
6 Negotiation
The Court System
Courts are established by governmental bodies; a court may render a binding decision only when it has jurisdiction over the dispute and the parties to that dispute.
The United States has a dual court system: (1) a federal court system and (2) a system within each of the fifty states and District of Columbia.
Substantive Law VS
Procedural Law
Substantive Law establishes the rights and duties of individuals and other legal entities while Procedural Law determines the means by which these rights are asserted. Procedural Law attempts to acomplesh two objectives (1) to be fair and impartial (2) to operate efficiently
Why do The Federal Courts exist and how did they come about?
Article III of the US constitution states that the judicial power of the US shall be vested in one Supreme court and such lower Courts as congress may establish.
Congress has estableshed a lower federal court system consisting of a number of special courts, district courts, and courts of appeals. The Federal court system is staffed by judjes who receive lifetime appointment from the president, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
District Courts
(Federal Court)
The general trial level in the federal court system, where issues of fact are decided, serve districts each located entirely in a particular state. Each district court is presided over by one judge, except in certain cases, when three judges preside.
Appeals from district courts usually go to the Circuit Court of Appeals where the district court is located. In a few cases, the appeals are taken directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Courts of Appeals
Federal Court
Twelve Circuit Courts of Appeals are the next level in the federal system. They primarily hear appeals from the district courts and review decisions of administrative agencies, the Tax Court, and the Bankruptcy Courts. They generally hear cases in panels of three judges, although in some instances all judges of the circuit will sit en banc (all together in a session) to decide a case.
Appellate courts do not hear evidence or conduct a trial — they examine the record of a case to determine if the trial court committed prejudicial error (error substantially affecting the appellant’s rights and duties). If so, the appellate court will reverse or modify the judgment and, if necessary, remand or send the case back to the lower court for further proceeding. If there is no prejudicial error, the appellate court will affirm the decision of the lower court.
The Supreme Court
(Federal Courts)
The nation’s highest tribunal — consisting of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices — principally reviews cases of the Federal Courts of Appeals but sometimes has original jurisdiction.
Appellate cases reach the Supreme Court by: 1. appeal by right where review by the court is mandatory (very few cases), or 2. the discretionary writ of certiorari (sir’•sho•rare’•ee) (most cases). If four Justices vote to hear the case, a writ is granted when there is a federal question of substantial importance or a conflict in the decisions.
Special Courts
(Federal Courts)
• The U.S. Court of Federal Claims hears claims against the United States.
• The U.S. Bankruptcy Courts hear and decide certain matters under the Federal Bankruptcy Code, subject to review by the U.S. District Court.
• The U.S. Tax Court hears certain cases involving federal taxes.
• The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviews decisions of the Court of Federal Claims, the Patent and Trademark Office, patent cases decided by the U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Court of International Trade, the Merit Systems Protection Board and the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals.
Inferior Trial Courts
(State Courts)
Lowest level of the state court system: decide the least serious criminal and civil matters and conduct preliminary hearings in more serious criminal cases. Usually do not keep complete written records.
Small claims court — a type of inferior court — hears civil cases involving a limited amount of money with no juries, informal procedure, no attorneys. Appeals go to the trial court of general jurisdiction with no weight given to the small claims court decision.
Trial Courts
(State Courts)
Each state has trial courts of general jurisdiction, which may be called county, district, superior, circuit, or common pleas courts. They have no dollar limitation on civil cases, hear all criminal cases except minor offenses, and do maintain formal records of their proceedings.
Special Courts
(State Courts)
Some states have specialized courts, such as family courts, with jurisdiction over divorce and child custody cases or probate courts with jurisdiction over the administration of wills and estates.
Appellate Courts
(State Courts)
A state’s highest court — generally called the supreme court of the state — serves as a reviewing court and its decision is final except for cases reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Most states have also created intermediate appellate courts to handle the large volume of cases.