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This Capsule Summary is intended for review at the end of the semester. Reading it is not a substitute for mastering the material in the main outline. Numbers in brackets refer to the pages in the main outline where the topic is discussed.



A. A road map: Here is a “road map” for analyzing a Civil Procedure problem:

1. Personal jurisdiction: First, make sure that the court has “personal jurisdiction” or “jurisdiction over the parties.” You must check to make sure that: (1) D had minimum contacts with the forum state (whether the court is a state or federal court); and (2) D received such notice and opportunity to be heard as to satisfy the constitutional requirement of due process. [7-98]

2. Venue: Then, check whether venue was correct. In federal court suits, the venue requirement describes what judicial district the case may be heard in. Essentially, the case must be heard either: (1) in any district where the defendant resides (with special rules for multi-defendant cases; or (2) in any district in which a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred. See 28 U.S.C. §1391. [103]

3. Subject matter jurisdiction: If the case is a federal case, you must then ask whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Essentially, this means that one of the following two things must be true: [119-163]

a. Diversity: Either the case is between citizens of different states (with “complete diversity” required, so that no plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any defendant) and at least $75,000 is at stake; or

b. Federal question: The case raises a “federal question.” Essentially, this means that plaintiff's right to recover stems from the U.S. Constitution, a federal treaty, or an act of Congress. (There is no minimum amount required to be at stake in federal question cases.)

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