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CHAPTER 2. Learning Objectives State courts and their jurisdiction Federal courts and their jurisdiction Civil Procedure Alternative Dispute Resolution.

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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 2. Learning Objectives State courts and their jurisdiction Federal courts and their jurisdiction Civil Procedure Alternative Dispute Resolution."— Presentation transcript:


2 Learning Objectives State courts and their jurisdiction Federal courts and their jurisdiction Civil Procedure Alternative Dispute Resolution 2 - 2

3 The United States has a federal court system and each state has a court system A Court is established by a government to hear and decide matters before it and redress past or prevent future wrongs Jurisdiction (the power to hear and speak) may be original (trial) or appellate (reviews trial court) The U.S. Judicial System 2 - 3

4 Federal Court Hierarchy U.S. Supreme Court (appellate jurisdiction; final review and final decision)  Courts of Appeals (appellate jurisdiction)  District Courts (trial courts; original jurisdiction) or Statutory Courts (original limited jurisdiction), such as Tax Court, Court of Int’l Trade, Court of Federal Claims, etc. 2 - 4

5 State Supreme Court (final appellate)  State Civil Court of Appeals and State Criminal Court of Appeals  District Courts (trial courts for civil matters over certain $ amount) and Criminal Courts  County Courts (trial courts for civil matters under certain $ amount)  Justice of the Peace Courts (small claims and misdemeanor courts) Limited Jurisdiction Courts (i.e., family, probate, traffic, zoning) State Court Hierarchy 2 - 5

6 General jurisdiction courts (i.e., trial courts) hear most types of cases –Levels generally classified according to dollar amount of damages or location –Examples: county courts, district courts Limited jurisdiction courts hear specialized types of cases and appeals from these decisions often require a new trial in a court of general jurisdiction –Examples: traffic court, tax court, family court General vs. Limited Jurisdiction 2 - 6

7 Subject-matter jurisdiction refers to a court’s authority to hear a particular type of dispute. Courts of criminal jurisdiction hear trials of crimes and misdemeanors, which are offenses against the public at large Courts of civil jurisdiction hear and decide issues concerning private rights and duties (e.g., contracts, torts), as well as non-criminal public matters (e.g., zoning, probate) Subject-Matter Jurisdiction 2 - 7

8 In addition to subject-matter jurisdiction, a court must have either in personam or in rem jurisdiction In personam jurisdiction requires that the defendant be a resident of, located within, or have committed acts within the physical boundaries of the court’s authority In Personam or In Rem Jurisdiction 2 - 8

9 In rem jurisdiction applies when property that is the subject of the dispute is located within physical boundaries of the court’s authority –Example: a dispute over a house sale In Personam or In Rem Jurisdiction 2 - 9

10 Bombliss v. Cornelsen Facts & Procedural History: –Illinois residents sued Oklahoma residents in Illinois court and the Oklahoma defendants moved to dismiss for lack of in personam jurisdiction –Trial court dismissed complaint and Plaintiffs appealed Issue: Does the Illinois long-arm statute permit state courts to exercise jurisdiction over Oklahoma defendants? 2 - 10

11 Bombliss v. Cornelsen Analysis and Application to Facts: –Defendant must purposefully avail himself of the privilege of conducting activities within the state such that he would reasonably anticipate being haled into the state’s court –Where a contract exists, minimum contacts shown by negotiations between parties, the course of dealing between parties, and foreseeable future consequences –Existence of a contract, defendants’ interactive website, and contact with potential customers of plaintiffs equate to minimum contacts Holding: In personam jurisdiction exists. Trial court decision reversed and case remanded. 2 - 11

12 Federal courts must have jurisdiction based on diversity or federal question Diversity jurisdiction exists when the dispute is between citizens of different states and amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 Federal question jurisdiction exists when the dispute arises under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States Federal Court Jurisdiction 2 - 12

13 Civil Procedure A set of rules establishing how a lawsuit proceeds from beginning to end In an adversarial system, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof to prove his/her case by a preponderance of the evidence Once the plaintiff has made a “prima facie” case (i.e., proved the basic case), the burden of proof may shift to the defendant 2 - 13

14 Civil Pre-Trial Procedure Action or event occurs allegedly causes harm  Injured party, known as Plaintiff, files a Petition or Complaint  Sheriff serves “process” (writ, notice, summons) on Defendant  Defendant Answers Complaint  Case proceeds to trial or settlement 2 - 14

15 Plaintiff’s complaint or petition plus the defendant’s answer or response are known as the pleadings Defendant may enter a counterclaim against the plaintiff or a cross-complaint against a third party Other parties may enter the case Civil Pre-Trial Procedure 2 - 15

16 Motion Practice: some motions ask the judge to decide the result before trial –Motion to dismiss (or demurrer) –Motion for judgment on the pleadings –Motion for summary judgment Motions should NOT be taken lightly! Civil Pre-Trial Procedure 2 - 16

17 Discovery: Obtaining evidence from the other party through interrogatories, requests for admissions, requests for documents, and depositions –The discovery process can be a battleground See Allstate Indemnity Co. v. Ruiz Pretrial Conference: where the judge will hear and rule on many evidentiary issues, discovery disputes, and other concerns Civil Pre-Trial Procedure 2 - 17

18 Jury Selection (Voir Dire) Opening Statement from each party Civil Trial Procedure 2 - 18

19 Plaintiff’s case through direct examination of witnesses (defendant performs cross- examination) and defendant’s case through direct examination (and plaintiff’s cross-examination) Civil Trial Procedure 2 - 19

20 Closing Argument or Summation from each party Jury verdict Civil Trial Procedure 2 - 20

21 Trial motions include: motions in limine (motion to limit evidence), voluntary non-suit or dismissal (drop the case), motion for compulsory non-suit or summary judgment After summation or closing argument, a party may move for a mistrial (overwhelming prejudice or injustice) or directed verdict (weight of evidence leads to only one conclusion) Civil Trial Procedure 2 - 21

22 Trier of Fact sees material evidence (physical objects, documents), hears testimony of witnesses (who provide factual evidence), and decides outcome of the case based on facts; trier of fact may be judge or jury Matters of law are issues not of fact, but of law; matters of law decided only by a judge –E.g., whether a statute means X or Y, or one law or another applies to the facts Civil Trial Procedure 2 - 22

23 After the jury verdict, a party may make a motion for new trial, judgment non obstanto verdicto (notwithstanding the verdict) or J.N.O.V., or remittitur (defendant’s request for the judge to reduce the amount of damages the jury recommended; very common) Civil Trial Post-Trial Procedure 2 - 23

24 After a judgment has been entered, losing party may appeal decision to a higher court After a judgment, winning party must have the judgment executed (carried out) to obtain money, property, or action ordered by the court Bottom line: a judgment is issued and enforcement of the judgment begins Civil Trial Post-Trial Procedure 2 - 24

25 Point of Procedure Not all dispute resolution mechanisms in the legal system are heard by a judge Disputes with government often resolved by the relevant administrative agency –Administrative agencies generally have a unique dispute resolution process (hearings and appeals) Also, disputants may choose alternative dispute resolution 2 - 25

26 Alternate Dispute Resolution Arbitration: dispute settled by one or more arbitrators selected by the parties to a dispute; relatively formal; Uniform or Federal Arbitration acts typically used Mediation: parties choose neutral party to aid resolution of dispute Reference to Third Party: dispute resolution by rent-a-judge, minitrial, summary jury trial, or association tribunal 2 - 26

27 Less costly, in general May be more appropriate method of resolution for certain types of cases (e.g., family law disputes, real estate disputes between neighbors, high- tech or trade-secret disputes) May be required by clause in contract Why Choose ADR? 2 - 27

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