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16 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
In addition to establishing TJ & SMJ, courts must have proper venue
Venue is designed to fine-tune the decision about the proper place to bring an action
Venue issue is never reached if jurisdiction is not proper
Purpose: Protect D against P choosing an unfair or inconvenient place for trial
State court venue
1. Typical Venue statute on where a suit can be brought in state court- a. District where D resides b. Where the cause of action took place c. Where the contract was entered into d. Where the contract was performed
2. Local actions- Actions which must be tried in the county where the relevant matter is located
3. Transitory Actions- a. Actions which are triable in more than one county b. Venue depends on: (1) place where cause of action arose; (2) subject matter of the suit; (3) where D resides or is doing business c. General Rule: Suit must be filed in a county where one of Ds resides or where injury occurred
State venue requirements are generally waivable except for actions involving real estate (must be tried in county where property is located); marriage (where spouse resides); child support (where child resides); adoptions (where adopting parent resides)
General Venue Statute- 1391
Federal Venue
A. For Diversity and Federal Question cases, a civil action may be brought only in: 1. Judicial district where any D resides, so long as all Ds reside in the same state—if they don’t jurisdiction not available in this provision (if one D from NY and other from NJ; venue is not available under this section) 2. Judicial district in which a substantial part of the events/omissions/property giving rise to the claim occurred or is located
B. Fall Back Provisions available only when venue is unavailable under (1) & (2):
Federal Question: Judicial district where any D may be found if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought
Diversity: Judicial district where any D is subject to personal jurisdiction at the time the action is commenced—if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought
C. Corporations are deemed to reside in any judicial district where it is subject to personal jurisdiction at the time the action is commenced or any district in which it has the most significant contacts
D. Aliens any district
E. US & its officers (1) any district where D resides; (2) substantial part of the events/omissions/property occurred or located; (3) P resides if no property involved
Special Venue statute
Federal Venue
Specifically states where a suit shall be brought
Specific venue statutes override the general venue statute
Change of Venue- 1404
Federal Venue
For the convenience of the parties and the witnesses a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district where it might have been brought
Venue is proper but the venue is extremely inconvenient
Two Requirements for change of venue: a. Must be a district where it might have originally be brought (where venue is proper; transferee court must have proper venue under 1391 and have valid personal jurisdiction)—regardless of any waiver of venue by D
Convenience is the only factor—convenience of the parties or witnesses
General Rules for change of venue
Federal Venue
1. Change of courtrooms—Not a change of law; when there is a 1404 transfer, the law to be applied is the law of the transferor court (apply the law of the court where the actions was transferred from)
In Van Dusen, the plane crashed occurred in MA, but Ps brought suit in PA to invoke federal diversity jurisdiction b/c of favorable PA damages statute (PA fed ct applies PA substantive law). D transferred back to MA and wanted MA laws. Sup Ct held that transferred Ps should not be deprived of favorable laws b/c of the transfer—so PA laws would apply
2. State law of the transferor court applies wherever the suit goes and convenience is the only consideration in 1404 transfers
3. P or D can initiate a transfer—Regardless of who initiates the transfer, the law of transferor court always applies
In John Deere, P, a PA resident, brought the suit in MS to take advantage of a longer SOL (SOL would have prohibited a suit in PA). P then transferred back to PA under 1404. Sup Ct held that MS laws (transferor court) would apply in PA court (transferee court)
4. P’s motion to transfer may be made only to a district where D could initially have been served with process (pursuant to the long-arm statute of the state encompassing that district)—[Also, the district where the case is transferred to must be one in which venue would originally have been proper pursuant to 1391]
5. D’s motion to transfer may be made only to districts where P would have had the right—independent of the wishes of the defendant—to bring the action (Even consent by D will not permit transfer to a forum where the action could not originally have been brought)
In Blaski, P brings case in one district and D moves to transfer to a court where the case couldn’t have originally been brought b/c court wouldn’t have had personal jurisdiction over D. D says, “but we waive PJ.” Sup Ct holds it doesn’t matter because it must be a court where the case could have originally been brought assuming there was no waiver of PJ
Factors Courts consider in whether to transfer
1. Place: Location where the operative facts occurred
2. Parties: Convenience of the parties
3. Witnesses: Convenience of the witnesses
4. Access: Relative access to source of proof, and the availability of process to compel attendance of unwilling witnesses
5. P’s Choice: P’s choice of forum
6. Forum: Forum court’s familiarity with the choice of law
7. Justice & Efficiency
In general, P’s initial choice of forum should be respected, and that transfer is proper only when the balance of conveniences strongly favors transfer
Transfer where original venue improper- 1406
Provides that when a suit is brought in a district where venue is improper, the district court shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer the case to a district where it could have been brought
Purpose is to permit transfer rather than dismissal so that P isn’t defeated by SOL if it had to refile in the correct court
Discretionary— the court, in the interest of justice, can transfer instead of dismissing
Court has applied 1406 expansively—even in cases where both jurisdiction and venue are improper
In Goldlawr, P filed in wrong district ct, where there was neither personal jurisdiction nor correct venue. D transferred. How could they transfer if they didn’t have jurisdiction in the 1st place—Sup Ct says trial court can do nothing except transfer to proper court when there is no personal jurisdiction
In 1406 transfers apply the law of the transferee forum (logical since the suit was brought in the wrong district to begin with)
Transfer to cure want of jurisdiction- 1631
Whenever a court finds that there is a want of jurisdiction, the court shall transfer the case to any other federal court in which the action could have been brought at the time it was filed—where there is jurisdiction; most of these transfers involve defects in SMJ
Multidistrict Litigation- 1407
When civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact is pending in different districts, such actions may be transferred to any district for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings
Typically occurs in mass tort cases—where there are numerous cases arising out of the same set of facts (provides efficiency in litigation/pretrial proceedings/discovery)
Where there is a conflict btw the circuits on a question of federal law, the transferee court should follow the interpretation of its own circuit
What about external transfers between states
No Mechanism for external transfers between States—only applies in Federal System; For States you have to dismiss and refile under forum non conveniens
Doctrine of foreign Non conveniens
Courts can dismiss a case because the forum is inconvenient to the parties and the court—even if personal jurisdiction can be established
The possibility of an unfavorable law resulting from a forum non conveniens dismissal is immaterial; Courts should only look at convenience, and an unfavorable change of law for P should not bar dismissal
Similarly, a favorable change for D should not be considered—only convenience; unless the change of law is so bad (e.g. Afghanistan) that it would not provide a remedy
Rationale: Courts are not required to make their jurisdiction available to parties who engage in unfair forum shopping and thereby impose substantial inconvenience on other parties and expense and burden on the courts of the forum selected by P
Conditions: In order to prevent P from being denied a remedy (due to expiration of SOL or no PJ) courts usually will require D’s consent to jurisdiction in the new forum; if D refuses, court will not dismiss and will hear the case
Federal Courts and forum non conveniens
When the inconvenience problem can be solved by transfer to another federal court under 1404, the court may not dismiss; But if proper forum is in another country, the federal courts can dismiss (Piper; Bhopal Disaster)
State courts and forum non conveniens
Since no transfer is allowed from the state court of one state to the state court of another, forum non conveniens is the only mechanism available
If D’s motion to dismiss for inconvenience of the forum is granted, the case must be dismissed and then refiled in the state court of the more convenient forum (Law of the new state court will apply)
Factors courts consider for forum non conveniens dismissal
Public (Interest of the Court)
1. Administrative difficulties flowing from court congestion
2. Local interest in having local controversies decided at home
3. Interest in having trial in forum familiar with the law to be applied
4. Avoiding unnecessary conflict of laws or application of foreign law
5. Unfairness of burdening citizens in an unrelated forum with jury duty

Private (Interest of Parties)
1. Relative ease of access to sources of proof
2. Availability of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling witnesses
3. Cost of obtaining attendance of willing witnesses
4. Need to view the premise
5. All other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious, and inexpensive
Forum Non conveniens dismissals and 1404 transfers
1. Forum non conveniens= dismissal and refile
2. 1404= transfer