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Civil Procedure

Personal Jurisdiction

Minimum Contacts Rule: A forum state may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant if there are
sufficient minimum contacts between the defendant and state, and the suit would comport with notions of
fair play and substantial justice. International Shoe Co. v. Washington.

Three prong test:

1. Did the D purposefully direct his activities towards the forum

2. Did claims arise out of D’s forum-related conduct (relatedness)
3. Would jurisdiction be reasonable—fair play/substantial justice

-Defendant’s contacts must be such that it could reasonably expect to be haled into court in the forum
state based on its activities in forum and using protection of state laws. Woodson.

Contract Claim: defendant’s contract must establish a substantial connection and continuous obligation
with the forum state in order for court to find purposeful direction towards state. Burger King v.

Unilateral rule: A party’s unilateral acts in a forum that the defendant cannot control will not make the D
responsible for the party’s claim.
Foreseeability is not enough; defendant must be able to insure itself against liability. Hanson, Woodson

-A single, meaningful contact between the defendant and forum may constitute purposeful direction if
jurisdiction would be reasonable. McGee.

Stream of commerce plus: Defendant must purposefully direct a product towards a forum state when
placing it in the stream of commerce to  purposeful direction. (Brennan view) Asahi case

Ordinary stream of commerce: If defendant places product in stream of commerce, it can reasonably
expect to be haled into court anywhere the product goes downstream. (O’Connor view)

Fair play factors:

-Forum state’s interest in claim
-Plaintiff’s interest in forum and location of evidence
-Inconvenience to defendant
-Multiple states’ interest in resolution
-Improvement of social policy among states

Intentional Torts: Calder Effects Test:

-purposeful direction towards the forum state
-brunt of harm suffered in forum
-focal point of story was in the forum
-Fairness of jurisdiction

Internet contact: For commerce, a passive website (without interactivity) that simply posts information
does not purposefully connect with a specific forum. Interactive websites exchanging information with
forum residents may be enough for MC. Zippo case.
-Calder effects test is used for intentional torts or defamation suits.

General Jurisdiction: GJ is the court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction even if there is no connection
between the claims and the forum state. It is based on the continuous and systematic contact between the
defendant and the forum state.
-Fair play factors are not so important for GJ.

-Defendant corporation must be acting like a “local player”.

Specific Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction where the party’s claims are based on minimum contacts between the
defendant and the forum state.

Jurisdiction over Property

In rem jurisdiction: Court seeks to affect the interest of persons over their property rather than impose
personal liability on the defendants.

Rule: Where the claim to the property itself is the source of the suit between parties, the state where the
property is located may have in rem jurisdiction over the property. Shaffer v. Heitner

-The cause of action must be arise from the D’s forum-related conduct.

Jurisdiction Based on Physical Presence

Burnham v. Superior Court: Defendant was served with a CA court summons while visiting the state for
business and seeing his children. His contact was brief and he had no other contact with the forum state.

Rule: If the defendant voluntarily traveled to the forum state and was served while visiting there, the
forum state can exercise jurisdiction over the D.
-Physical presence is one the continuing traditions of the American legal system that define the due
process standard of fairness.

Requirement of Notice & Opportunity to be Heard (Due Process)

Rule: Notice must be sent out in a way that reasonably informs interested persons of the lawsuit taking
place and it must allow them a chance to voice their opinions.
-Newspaper notification didn’t meet this requirement. Mailing would meet it. Mullane v. Central
Hanover Bank.

-The government simply needs to make an honest and reasonable effort to inform the defendant; it doesn’t
matter if the D actually receives the notice. Dusenberry

Rule: Affected parties have a right to be heard and must be notified of the action against them.
Opportunity to be heard must be given at a reasonable time so the party can respond. Fuentes v. Shevin

-Immediate seizure is allowed when necessary for general public interest; special need for prompt action;
state must have strict control of force; govt. official must decide seizure.

Due Process test:

State action against D may not satisfy due process based on--

1. Degree of harm to defendant’s interest from government action

2. Risk of erroneous deprivation of property (especially if state could’ve taken more safeguards)
3. Strength of gov’s interest, including burdens of litigation.
Mathews v. Eldrige

Goldberg v. Kelly: Welfare recipients sued NYC for terminating aid to them without a prior evidentiary
hearing (opportunity for them to be heard).

Rule: Due process requires that the state provide an adequate hearing before it terminates welfare benefits
to the affected party. Welfare is considered a right which indigent persons need to subsist (life).
A post-termination hearing does not meet due process. Goldberg

-14th Amendment focuses on protecting citizens’ right to life, liberty, and property. These cannot be
deprived without due process of law.

-Due Process doesn’t require every indigent parent to be appointed counsel when parental rights are at
stake. It only requires giving counsel to a poor person when he might be deprived of life or physical
liberty, i.e. in criminal cases. Lassiter v. Dept. of Social Services

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Diversity of Citizenship

Definition: Federal courts may exercise DJ where parties on either side are from different states and the
matter of the dispute is above $75,000.

“Complete Diversity” rule: If any plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any defendant, there is no
diversity jurisdiction no matter how many parties are involved in the litigation.
Important thing is the party’s last state of citizenship (where they resided and intended to remain

28 U.S.C. 1332: a citizen of a certain State must be both a citizen of the U.S. and a domiciliary of that

28 U.S.C. 1332 Rule: District courts have jurisdiction when the matter of the dispute exceeds $75,000
and is between (1) citizens of different states or (2) between citizens of a state and citizens of a foreign
country. 28 U.S.C. Section 1332. Redner v. Sanders

Mas v. Perry: Plaintiff husband was French citizen and P. wife was Mississippi citizen; defendant was
Louisiana citizen. Plaintiffs sued him in federal court.
-Complete diversity rule was applied to the case in plaintiffs’ favor.

-Domicile: one’s permanent home and main living establishment, where one ultimately intends to return
to. In DJ, citizenship means domicile.
-A woman’s domicile doesn’t change solely by marrying an alien citizen.
-Citizenship that matters for the lawsuit is the one held at the time of the controversy.

Amount in Controversy

Rule: A court must acknowledge the sum claimed by the plaintiff if he makes the claim in good faith.
Dismissal is only justified if there seems to be legal certainty that the claim is actually for less than the
jurisdictional amount. A.F.A. Tours v. Whitchurch.

Corporate citizenship: depends on the state where corporation was incorporated, and its principal place
of business. Corporation can be citizen of more than one state.
-Three tests for determining corporations’ principal place of business:

• nerve center test (decision making)

• corporate activities test (production center)
• total activity test (combination of first two)

Federal Questions

28 U.S.C. 1331 (Federal Question): “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil
actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
-This gives federal courts the power to interpret and apply federal laws.

Private Right of Action: Federal suit commenced by private litigants against other private persons who
violated a statute.

Mottley Rule: For federal jurisdiction, plaintiff’s complaint must show that his own cause of action arises
from the Constitution or U.S. laws (well-pleaded complaint). Plaintiff can’t anticipate a federal law
defense from the defendant in his complaint.

Rule: A federal court has jurisdiction when the controversy requires it to interpret the Constitution or any
federal law.
The suit must arise under Constitutional or federal laws, or under a state law that requires federal
interpretation, in order to be resolved by federal courts. T. B. Harms Co. v. Eliscu

Rule: A federal court can exercise jurisdiction if a cause of action arising under state law requires the
court to interpret or apply the Constitution or laws of the U.S. Smith v. Kansas City Title & Trust

Rule: A claim based on state law may also arise under a United States law if the complaint shows that it’s
necessary for a federal court to apply U.S. law to the case. Sweeney v. Abramovitz

Merrell Dow Rule: No jurisdiction where plaintiff argued a state-based claim that requires interpretation
of federal law.

Grable Rule: Federal jurisdiction is proper when a state law claim contains a contested, substantial
federal issue under dispute, and if jurisdiction would not upset the balance between federal and state
courts. The issue also should not open floodgates of litigation.

Grable test elements:

Is the claim contested (disputed between P and D)?
Does it contain substantial federal issue?
Does it preserve neutrality/balance between court systems?

Supplemental Claims and Parties

28 USC 1367: (A): District courts have supplemental jurisdiction over all closely related federal and state
claims that are part of the same controversy under the Constitution. The district court must have original
jurisdiction over the federal claims.
-Supplemental jurisdiction also applies to joinder claims and addition of other parties.

(B): Restricts courts’ supplemental jurisdiction in diversity cases if the jurisdiction contradicts the
requirements of Section 1332 (diversity requirements, amount in controversy). No plaintiff can be from
the same state as any defendant.
C: Provides the only reasons that federal courts can decline supplemental jurisdiction.

1367 C(1): court can decline if there’s a new or complex issue of state law;
1367 C(2): state law claims strongly predominate the case;
1367 C(3): district court let go of any claims over which it had original jurisdiction;
1367 C(4): other compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction, in exceptional situations.

Gibbs Rule: For supplemental jurisdiction, the state and federal claims must also derive from a “common
nucleus of operative fact” (same set of facts).
-Gibbs values of judicial efficiency, convenience, and fairness are also important.
-If federal claims are dropped by federal court, state law claims in pendent case must also be dropped.

Ancillary jurisdiction lets a defendant implead a third-party defendant even if that third party isn’t
But if plaintiff lives in same state as third-party defendant brought in, complete diversity prevents federal
jurisdiction. Complete diversity  is P in same state as any of the D’s?

Owen v. Kroger: P joined a defendant corporation to her diversity suit, but the D turned out to be based in
her own state instead of a different state.

Rule: Federal courts must determine whether a statute granting federal jurisdiction also allows exercise of
jurisdiction over a nonfederal claim brought in the suit.
In Owen the federal statute requiring complete diversity of citizenship precluded the P from suing a D
from her own state in federal court. Owen Equipment v. Kroger

Exxon Mobil Corp; Maria Del Rosario Ortega: Plaintiffs filed class-action lawsuit against Exxon in
which some of them did not meet the minimum amount in controversy.

Rule: There is supplemental jurisdiction under S. 1367 over a suit as long as one plaintiff in a
supplemental suit meets the money amount in controversy requirement, even if others do not. The case
should not have any jurisdictional defects, such as diversity issues.


Definition: Removal jurisdiction allows the defendant to transfer the suit against him from state court to
federal court, if the federal court would’ve had jurisdiction had the plaintiff chosen that forum.

-This was based on concerns about local prejudice against non-resident defendants.
-In modern times removal is for strategic purposes (jury verdicts, trial rules, judge personality, etc).
-Defendant can’t remove when he is from the same state as the plaintiff.
-Defendant can’t remove when he is being sued in his own home state.

28 USC 1441: Civil suit brought in state court can be removed to federal court if the action could
originally have been brought to federal court.

-A plaintiff cannot remove an action from state court to federal court when the defendant files a
counterclaim. This is forbidden by section 1441. Shamrock Oil & Gas v. Sheets


Definition: The place where trial takes place. Venue depends on statute and is based on values of
convenience to parties and judicial economy.

U.S.C. Section 1391 states that an action can be brought in “a judicial district in which a substantial part
of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim arose.” Section 1391 (b)(2).

Rule: A defendant may not transfer a suit to a district in which the plaintiff did not have a right to bring it.
Hoffman v. Blaski