Condensed Outline – Subject Matter Jurisdiction

I. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

1. A party cannot waive objections to lack of SMJ because it relates to the court’s ability to hear the case.

2. Federal Question Jurisdiction

a. When a claim arises out of federal law, the court will have federal subject matter jurisdiction under federal question.

1) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the constitution, laws, or treaties of the U.S.

b. If the defendant’s answer alleges federal law, that is not enough for federal subject matter jurisdiction. The federal law must be pleaded in the plaintiff’s case.

c. Well-Pleaded Complaint Rule

1) Federal Q jurisdiction exists only when the federal law issue is presented in the p’s complaint. Under the well-pleaded complaint rule, the determination of jurisdiction must be made by considering only the necessary elements of the P’s cause of action and not potential defenses.

3. Diversity

a. In order to have diversity jurisdiction, you have to have complete diversity which means no P can be domiciled in the same state as any D and the amount in controversy exceeds $75l. The courts may not exercise supplemental subject matter jurisdiction over a non-diverse D in order to keep the case in federal court. SSMJ only applies once there’s a case in court, so the D must have already been brought in properly, then you get supplemental SMJ if the claims arise out of the same T/O or common nucleus of operative fact.

              1) Class Action