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20 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Power of the court to hear the type of case brought before it
Subject Matter Jurisdiction can never be waived (unlike territorial jurisdiction)
Parties can't by agreement create SMJ
At anytime the court determines it doesn’t have SMJ, the case is dismissed
Types of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
1. Limited Jurisdiction- Courts that have SMJ only with regard to a specific type of case
a. All federal courts
b. Some state courts (divorce, probate, etc.)
2. General Jurisdiction-Courts that have the power to hear any type of case before it
a. State trial courts
b. NO federal courts
Federal Courts
Congressional statutes are more restrictive in determining SMJ than the Constitution:
Constitution = Broad
Congressional Statutes = Narrow
Federal Question Jurisdiction
Federal courts can hear cases involving:
Laws passed by Congress (federal statutes)
Cases arising under a federal treaty
Determination of federal question jurisdiction is based sole upon the allegations contained in the P’s complaint
P’s complaint must “arise under” federal law/Constitution
Well Pleaded Complaint Rule:
P must assert a federal claim in the complaint
Anticipation of a defense D would bring under federal law is insufficient to establish federal question jurisdiction (D might never assert a federal defense)
Federal Diversity Jurisdiction
Allows federal courts to hear cases based on state law or state law issues (however, cases involving divorces, child custody, adoption, probate, etc. still take place only in state courts)
There is no requirement that a diversity case must go to federal court
Two Requirements:
1. Diverse Citizenship
All Ps must be from a different state than all Ds (complete diversity)
Date for determining complete diversity is when the complaint is filed (diversity isn’t lost by subsequent changes in citizenship of the parties)
Citizenship is based on a party’s domicile (Individuals have only one domicile; Corporations have two: place of incorporation and principal place of business; Unincorporated Assoc are a domiciliary of any state where its member are citizens)
­Domicile and Residence are not necessarily the same (In Mas v. Perry, Ps were grad students in LA, but domiciliaries of MS—thus when they sued their landlord in MS diversity wasn’t destroyed)
Burden on proving diversity is on party invoking federal jurisdiction
An exception complete diversity requirement may occur in class actions
2. Amount in Controversy- P needs to make good faith allegation in the complaint that the dispute is worth more than $75K (exclusive of interest and costs)
Legal Certainty Test: D must prove to a legal certainty that the claim is worth less than $75K (Ex: law capping punitive damages to $75K or less)
Diversity notes: P can aggregate all claims—even if they are unrelated to one another—to satisfy the >$75K threshold; However, multiple Ps can’t aggregate (including class actions—each member must be satisfy the threshold amount)
Amounts sought in counter-claims are not part of the amount in controversy
Assignment or joinder may not be done “collusively” to invoke jurisdiction
A P may not obtain a remand to state court by reducing her damage claim after removal (P must make it clear before removal that she seeks $75K or less) [move]
Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction
Congress has granted the federal courts exclusive jurisdiction (no concurrent state court jurisdiction here) in the following actions:
­SEC Act
­Actions where US is a party
State Courts
All state courts have a set of trail courts with general jurisdiction to hear all types of cases (torts, contracts, property, etc.)
Concurrent Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Because of a state court’s broad subject matter jurisdiction, the cases which can be brought in federal court (Diversity/Fed Q) can also be brought in state court
State courts have an obligation to hear these cases unlike federal courts which can abstain from hearing cases on concurrent jurisdiction when state law is unclear
Note: Can’t bring cases which are exclusively federal
Supplemental Jurisdiction
Combination of Pendant and Ancillary Jurisdiction
Provides federal courts with jurisdiction over claims and parties that would have no federal SMJ if considered independently
Purpose is for judicial efficiency: disputes often involve several claims that if considered independently, federal courts will have SMJ over some and not others, which will have to be sorted out and heard separately
Makes better sense than having a party bring the federal claim in federal court and the sate claim in state court when both issues arise from the same facts and can be decided at the same time
Pendant Jurisdiction (adding a new state claim)
Federal court can have jurisdiction over a state law claim if it arises out of the same nucleus of common operative fact as the federal claim; it hears the state case pendant to the federal law case (even if there is no diversity)
If the federal claim is dismissed before trial, then there is nothing for the state claim to be pendant to—can’t bring a state claim in federal court; However, if the case actually goes to trial and the federal claim is dismissed, the state claim can still be heard in federal court
Touchstones of Pendant Jurisdiction:
1. Arises in context of a Federal Question case
2. When a state law claim is added to federal law claim (not adding parties)
3. Look at situation from POV of P
Ancillary Jurisdiction (adding a new party)
Where there is complete diversity between P1 and D1: If P1 sues D1, and D1 brings in (impleads) a 3rd party (D2) who is from the same state as D1, the federal court will still have SMJ jurisdiction over the case—even though diversity jurisdiction would otherwise have been destroyed since D2 is from the same state as D1; Since there is complete diversity btw main parties (P1 and D1), this new 3rd party claim, which is connected to the main claim but has no diversity, is said to be ancillary to the main claim
Often occurs in the context of indemnity where D1 is served and says “I shouldn’t be the one liable, but if so, this 3rd party should be responsible for all or part of the damage”
Don’t need complete diversity if D1 brings in D2 who is from the same state as P1; But ancillary jurisdiction does not apply if P1 tries to bring a cross-claim against D2 when they are from the same state
For P to add another D, it must be a D which P could have originally sued in the 1st place) [this requirement is so that P don’t manipulate the system by suing someone they know has nothing to do with the claim but will implead the D they really want and still get into federal court]
D1 can implead D2 who is or may be liable to him for all or part of P’s claim (FRCP 14(a))
Also don’t need complete diversity if P1 brings in P2 who is from the same state as D1
Touchstones of Ancillary Jurisdiction:
1. Arises in context of Federal Diversity Jurisdiction
2. Adding a party that normally would not be diverse (not adding claims)
3. Look at situation from POV of D
USC 1367 (Supplemental Jurisdiction Codifications)
1. 1367(a): Pendant parties allowed when original claim arises under federal law (Federal Question Case); P can sue D1 in an action arising under federal law and then P can sue D2 under a state law claim arising out of the same case or controversy (common nucleus of operative facts) all in federal court
2. 1367(b): No pendant parties allowed when the only basis for federal SMJ over the original claim is diversity; P can’t sue an additional D under another state law claim in federal court (P would have to take whole case to state court in order to add this additional D) 3. When Federal Court may decline supplemental jurisdiction- a. Serious state law question/policy issue (states should handle it) b. State claim predominates over federal claim (i.e. state claim for $20 million v. federal claim for $20) c. If state claim is dismissed d. If only state law claim remains then state should handle it
4. 1367(d)-Supplemental jurisdiction claims dismissed by the district court will be given some protection against statute of limitation defenses in state court (SOL tolled during the period the claims are pending in federal court)
(2) State claim predominates over federal claim (i.e. state claim for $20 million v. federal claim for $20)
(3) If state claim is dismissed
(4) If only state law claim remains then state should handle it
d) 1367(d): Supplemental jurisdiction claims dismissed by the district court will be given some protection against statute of limitation defenses in state court (SOL tolled during the period the claims are pending in federal court)
1. Rule 1441- D can remove any suit brought in state court to the federal district court governing that district only if P could have filed the suit in federal court in the first place (If P could have brought in state or federal court, but chose state court)
2. Exception- Removal is unavailable where D is being sued in state court in his home state (D can’t remove to federal court on diversity grounds because he’s not being home-towned)
3. Only P has the right of removal- P can't remove based on D's counter-claim asserting a defense under the law
4. Entire cases not individual claims are removed (a whole case can be removed from state court to federal court if the case has one federal SMJ issue); However, the federal court may remand or dismiss supplemental state law claims
5. Removal is only in a one-way direction; State to Federal
Federal Question Removal
Never an issue—federal questions issues can always be removed to federal court
P is the Master of the Compliant
When P has both state and federal law claims, P may prevent removal to federal court by confining the complaint to the state law claim provided there is no diversity (<$75K and parties are not from different states)
Preemption Exception: Permits D to remove to case to federal court where P has tried to plead only a state law claim, but it is one which is completely preempted by federal law
In Aero Lodge, Sup Ct allowed removal of state/collective bargaining law b/c it was preempted by federal labor law
Artful Pleading: P won’t be allowed to disguise an issue’s inherently federal nature to prevent case from being removed to federal court
Amended Complaints: If at any point during a trial in state court, P amends his complaint to include a federal law issue, D has 30 days to remove to federal court
Defeating Diversity Removal
1. P may defeat removal in a diversity suit by choosing to forego damages in excess of $75K; BUT, P must make this clear from the beginning in state court (P can’t amend complaint to reduce damages after the case has been removed)
2. P assigning interest to a non-diverse party—But, not to an attorney or administrator of P’s will who is deemed to be from the same state as P
3. Joining Ds who would destroy complete diversity—However, if done w/o merit, they will be thrown out and case can be removed (D must be central to the suit)
Cross-claims and Counterclaims
If P brings an action only available in state court, but then P counterclaims based on federal question/diversity grounds, the case is removable as a whole to federal district court
Removal of Class Actions
Designed to extend SMJ diversity to benefit corporate defendants:
1. Any case over $5M
2. Any case with minimal diversity
3. Ok even if D is being sued in home state
4. One D may remove even if other Ds don’t want to
5. No time limit on removal
6. A federal dist ct remand is reviewable on appeal
Non-removal claims
Can't remove claims under FELA to federal ct
Non-appealabitlity of Remand orders
Federal dist ct cases that are remanded back to state courts are not appealable/reviewable when the remand was based on lack of SMJ
However, a federal judge can’t remand a case back to state court based on a crowded docket or because the case interfered with more important cases
To seek removal, D/Ds must file notice of removal within 30 days of being served (All Ds must join in the notice)
Removal may be challenged by motion for remand in federal dist ct within 30 days