Legal Environment of Business (Management 518) Professor Charles H. Smith The Court System (Chapter 2) Spring 2005.
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Legal Environment of Business (Management 518) Professor Charles H. Smith The Court System (Chapter 2) Spring 2005
The American Court System “Dual” court system in the United States – federal court system plus each state has its own court system. Cases generally filed/commenced in trial courts – District Court in the federal court system; Superior Court in California. Appeal by right from trial courts to intermediate appellate courts – Court of Appeals (federal – 13 circuits, see map on page 32); Court of Appeal (California – 6 districts). Appeal from intermediate appellate courts to supreme courts per discretion – United States Supreme Court and California Supreme Court. Appeal from California Supreme Court to United States Supreme Court per only discretion and if case involves federal question.
Chart re American Court System Federal Court System California State Court System United States District Court for the [region, if any] District of [state] Superior Court for the County of [all 58 counties have Superior Court] Court of Appeals for the [1 st -11 th, D.C. or Fed.] Circuit Court of Appeal of the [1 st - 6 th ] Appellate District United States Supreme Court California Supreme Court
How to Become a Judge? Federal courts All federal court judges appointed for life; removal from bench by resignation, death or impeachment. Appointment of federal judge – nomination by President and then confirmation by Senate. California state courts Superior Court – appointment by Governor (90%) or election to all or remaining part of 6-year term (10%); all judges subject to re-election at end of 6-year term. Court of Appeal and Supreme Court – appointment by Governor only to all or remaining part of 12- year term; people vote in confirmation election at end of 12-year term.
Jurisdiction Issues “Jurisdiction” – the power of a court to hear a certain type of case (subject matter jurisdiction) or case against a certain party (personal jurisdiction). Subject matter jurisdiction: California state courts are courts of “general” jurisdiction since they can hear almost all types of cases. Federal courts are courts of “limited” jurisdiction since they hear limited types of cases only (federal question and diversity). Many types of cases can be heard in state or federal court (“concurrent” jurisdiction), but certain cases can be heard in a specific court system only (“exclusive” jurisdiction). Personal jurisdiction – general and specific/limited standards based on due process (see next slide).
Personal Jurisdiction – “Substantial Justice and Fair Play” General standard Plaintiff who files lawsuit in court hearing the case, or Defendant who is domiciled in the same state where the court hearing the case is located (“forum state”), or Defendant’s domicile is out of state but defendant has “substantial” relationship or “continuous or systematic” contact with forum state. Specific/limited standard – applies to out of state defendants only Defendant “purposefully directed” activities at residents of forum state or “purposefully availed” itself of benefits and protections of laws of forum state, and Lawsuit must arise out of or be a result of defendant’s contact(s) with forum state, and Exercise of personal jurisdiction must be “reasonable.”
Choice of Law, Venue and Forum Non Conveniens Choice of law issue arises if more than one state has an interest in the case; traditionally, state’s law applicable to case determined by where contract made or where accident occurred, though court may look to which state has more “significant interest” Venue usually set by statute (e.g., place where accident happened or contract to be performed) or contract. Forum non conveniens (inconvenient forum) – may be “back-up” argument in motion challenging personal jurisdiction; generally assumes that court has personal jurisdiction over defendant, who argues that court is not convenient for parties, witnesses, evidence, etc.
Case Studies State of Oregon v. Lillard (pp. 42-43) – personal jurisdiction. Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins (pp. 47-48) – what law to use in federal court if no federal law applies? Hughes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (pp. 49-50) – choice of law. Burger King v. Rudzewicz (page 56 – Case Question #4) – personal jurisdiction based on contract. Chambers v. Dakotah Charter (page 57 – Case Question #7) – choice of law.