CIVIL PROCEDURE-H.LEWIS (EVENING)SECTION-SPRING 2002

 

A. Required Materials

(1) Casebook or "Text": Freer and Perdue, Civil Procedure: Cases, Materials And Questions, 3d edition (Anderson 2001).

(2) Statutory Handbook: Foundation Press' 2001 "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure" This book contains the U.S. Constitution (starting at p.583) and Title 28 of the Federal Judicial Code (starting at p. 589), which authorize and limit subject matter jurisdiction for the federal courts. With few exceptions state courts , unlike their federal counterparts, have general subject matter jurisdiction over all kinds of controversies.

Personal jurisdiction in the federal court system-rules selecting one or more states in which a particular defendant may be required to defend his, her, or its property in a civil lawsuit in a federal district court-- is governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Personal jurisdiction in a state court is governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as elaborated by a more than century-long series of judicial decisions construing that clause.

Title 28, especially Sec. 1391, also authorizes and limits venue for the federal district courts, rules that limit the federal judicial districts in which plaintiff may bring suit within those states that, under the decisions mentioned above, have personal jurisdiction.

Your Statutory Handbook also contains, beginning at page 27, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules will guide our examination of the variable paths taken by civil lawsuits in federal courts, once we learn how to choose a federal district court that has good subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and venue.

(3) Glannon, Civil Procedure: Examples and Explanations (Aspen, 4th edition 2001). You will find this book critically important not just because it includes assigned readings, but because its problems may be the best single source for examination review. You will learn to love this book-or at least think it more worthwhile than the two others combined--despite your understandable initial irritation at having to purchase 3 books for this course.

In the Syllabus that follows, and the amendments to it, assignments from the Casebook will be designated "Text" or "Casebook" with some combination of page numbers, alphabetical or numerical part designations (e.g., "d" or "iii"), and case names. Materials from the Statutory Handbook or Glannon will be identified as underlined in this sentence. Assignments from other sources will be followed by the designation "handout" or "handouts." These handout materials will be attached to the Syllabus or separately distributed later in the course.

B. Correlating Assignments With Classes

The assignment numbers on the attached Syllabus correspond fairly closely to the class meetings of this course. Thus, absent contrary directions posted or mentioned in class, you should be prepared to discuss the readings listed next to each assignment number at the like-numbered class meeting. This is true regardless of how little progress may have been made during a previous class or classes -- in other words, we may catch up! Please inquire PUBLICLY just before the end of any class about the assignment for the succeeding class if you are at all in doubt. That way everyone will have the opportunity to be, and ideally will be, on the same page when the next class begins.

Course Procedures & Requirements

Attendance: Please be advised that the material, ideas, and issues to be tested in this course will be drawn heavily (very heavily) from class discussion--whether or not the particular issue is covered, or adequately covered, by the assigned readings. [Example: The description of Egan v. American Airlines, Inc. in Glannon, page 87, is inadequate to distinguish the result there from the result in Kelly v. U.S. Steel, briefly mentioned in the Casebook, page 211. Class discussion will clarify the missing facts and accordingly the distinction that helps decide if a court is likely to apply a "production/activities" or "nerve center" test in identifying a corporation's principal place of business for federal diversity subject matter jurisdiction purposes.]

IT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT NOT TO MISS CLASSES DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEMESTER, WHEN YOU WILL MOST BE TEMPTED TO DO SO BECAUSE OF CONFLICTING COMMITMENTS AND BETTER WEATHER. THOSE LAST CLASSES TEND TO SYNTHESIZE OR DRAW TOGETHER A NUMBER OF ISSUES STUDIED EARLIER IN THE SEMESTER; THEY ARE THEREFORE ESSENTIAL PREPARATION FOR EXAM QUESTIONS, WHICH OFTEN CUT ACROSS SEVERAL TOPICS. OF COURSE PLANNING AND WORKING AHEAD IS THE ONLY WAY TO MEET CONCURRENT OBLIGATIONS.

Class attendance is your primary obligation on any almost any given day. The fact that I may not monitor your attendance from day to day does not make non-attendance either a right or a wise idea. It is neither. Most lawyers learn play as well as work hard. But this means working ahead or all night to meet your Law School preparedness obligations, which are not waived by your other choices. Please don't expect any relief from the overwhelmingly likely consequences, which presumably needn't be spelled out.

Preparedness: Non-attendance impacts mainly on the student absent. Attending class unprepared hurts others more directly through the conspicuous, painful and unproductive waste of class time that results when the unprepared student is asked to recite. My subjective assessments of your preparedness will become more stringent as you progress. Before long you should have a clearer picture of what "preparedness" means in relation to various sorts of assigned materials. On the other hand, if you are prepared--if you bring with you to class an understanding of the materials (statutory provisions, decisions, text, and Glannon problems)--what you say in class is most unlikely to be "wrong." In fact whatever you say from a foundation of preparedness is likely to make a contribution and enhance your own confidence and learning. Should you ever be in doubt about what's expected, please inquire either in or out of class.

There are two per se guides to minimum preparedness in reading a case. The first you already know from bloody, first-semester experience: know the real-life factual background that led to the parties' controversy. The second is to read and be able to recite in class the precise text under consideration in the case. That is, when reading a case you are expected as a "matter of course"-that's lawyer slang meaning "automatically"-- ALSO to pull out the Statutory Handbook to read and reflect on the full text of each constitutional provision, statutory provision and/or rule of procedure discussed in the case. Why? Because case law discussion has no meaning when it is uprooted from the precise language (of the Constitutional provision, Title 28 section, or Federal Rule of Civil Procedure) that the case law discussion construes and applies. Your Statutory Handbook is not just your friend, but your indispensable ally.

Office and Telephone Contacts: My office is Room 419. Home telephone is (540) 751-0397; Office telephone is (703) 993-8023;. By all means call either place--indeed home will usually be better on days we don't meet--if you have a relatively brief question about assignments or analysis. Home e-mail is halleslie@juno.com; work e-mail is hlewis@gmu.edu. For more extended inquiries, right after class is a good time to schedule appointments. You're more than welcome to stop by without an appointment as well. If I'm not available when you call or stop by, please leave a number where I can call you or a note indicating how I may contact you. That's what a professional does, and you have already embarked on a course of professionalism. Otherwise, I have no way to reach you quickly, which I would very much like to do.

Final Examination

The final examination is "open materials." "Open materials" means that you may use all three of the "Required Materials" listed above; the Syllabus with attachments; your notes, or the notes of any study group you join this semester; any additional course handouts; and nothing else. There is a very specific reason why you are being told this NOW. It is to alert and advise you to make notes and cross-references in the margins of your books and other materials. Each examination must be completed without collaboration, consultation, or even discussion with anyone else.

SYLLABUS

I. Overview of a Civil Lawsuit and Introduction To the Main Topics of Subject Matter Jurisdiction; Personal Jurisdiction; and Service of Process

ASSIGNMENT l. (Tuesday, January 8)

Skim Text, pp. 1-23; Text, p. 25, first two paragraphs only; Glannon, 101-05, up to "Personal Jurisdiction in the Federal Courts"

AND

II. Federal Court Subject Matter Jurisdiction

A. The Diversity of Citizenship Branch

28 U.S.C.  1332; Text, 191-205, up to "d."

ASSIGNMENT 2 (Thursday, January 10)

Text, Rest of 205-217, up to "g."; Glannon, 83-89, through Example 11

AND

Text, ("g."),rest of 217-221 and Glannon, rest of 89-90, through the last full paragraph on page 90, i.e., up to the "Now" paragraph only; and Glannon, Examples 12 and 13, pp. 91-92