I. Definitions and Fundamentals
(a) Personal jurisdiction — refers to the court’s power to render a judgment that either commands defendant’s personal obedience or imposes obligations on the defendant that will be enforced by other courts. [See Burnham v. Sup.Ct. (1990) 495 US 604, 609-610, 110 S.Ct. 2105, 2109-2110]
When Personal Jurisdiction Required: In personam jurisdiction is required whenever a judgment is sought that would impose an obligation on defendant personally: e.g., a judgment for money damages, or an injunction commanding defendant to act or refrain from acting in some manner. [Pennoyer v. Neff (1877) 95 US 714, 720-722; Insurance Corp. of Ireland, Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (1982) 456 US 694, 711, 102 S.Ct. 2099, 2109, fn. 1] Personal rights or responsibilities of the defendant.
Compare–jurisdiction in rem: Historically, courts treated quiet title and other actions to determine interests in property differently–so- called ‘in rem’ (literally “over the person”) jurisdiction. However, the rules as to jurisdiction over property are now governed by doctrines similar to those governing personal jurisdiction (see ¶ 3:211 ff.). Litigation against the property; clarifies title or status of property to all the world.
Quasi-in rem: 1) not an adjudication relative to the world; instead it is an adjudication among known parties; or 2) Attachment of property to address unrelated liabilities, capped at value of property. Court’s jurisdiction is limited to the value of the property
(b) Limited Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They can adjudicate only those cases which the Constitution and Congress authorize them to adjudicate: basically those involving diversity of citizenship, or a federal question, or to which the U.S. is a party (see below). [Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America (1994) 511 US 375, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 1677; Finley v. United States (1989) 490 US 545, 109 S.Ct. 2003, 2008]
Federal courts are presumptively without jurisdiction over civil actions and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction. [Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, supra, 511 US at 377, 114 S.Ct. at 1677]
(Compare–state courts: California Superior Courts are courts of general, unlimited jurisdiction. They can render enforceable judgments in practically any kind of case involving more than $25,000. The only real exception is cases involving matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of federal courts)
Federal question jurisdiction‘ defined: This term refers to the subject matter jurisdiction of federal courts for claims ‘arising under‘ the U.S. Constitution, treaties, federal statutes, administrative regulations, or common law (see ¶ 2:67 ff.).
No amount in controversy limitation: Unlike diversity cases, there is no minimum monetary amount in controversy required in most federal question cases. [See Brown v. Masonry (11th Cir. 1989) 874 F2d 1476, 1478]
Exceptions: In actions against an interstate carrier for damage to goods shipped interstate (under 49 USC § 11707), the amount in controversy must exceed $10,000. [28 USC § 1337(a); see Hunter v. United Van Lines (9th Cir. 1984) 746 F2d 635, 648]
In actions under the Consumer Products Safety Act (15 USC § 2501 et seq.) for knowing violations of consumer product safety rules, the claim must exceed $10,000.
Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, individual breach of warranty claims must exceed $25; and if separate claims are aggregated, the claims must exceed $50,000. [15 USC § 2310(d)(3)]
NEED THE 75,000 AND DIFFERENT STATES FOR SMJ UNDER 28 USC 1332
ALSO ADD ARTICLE III OF USCONST.
(c) Venue: Venue rules give defendants some control over the place of trial. Otherwise, plaintiff could file suit in some remote district where it might be unreasonably burdensome to defend. The venue rules thus balance the conveniences of the parties with other policy factors in selecting an appropriate forum for trial. [Denver & Rio Grande Railroad v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (1967) 387 US 556, 560, 87 S.Ct. 1746, 1748; see Beattie v. United States (DC Cir. 1984) 756 F2d 91, 103]
Entirely Statutory: Federal venue is governed entirely by statute. [See Brunette Machine Works, Ltd. v. Kockum Industries, Inc. (1972) 406 US 706, 709, 92 S.Ct. 1936, 1939, fn. 8]
The venue rules appear in:
- The general venue statute–28 USC § 1391 (¶ 4:37 ff.);
- Special venue statutes (¶ 4:140 ff.); and
- The change of venue provisions–28 USC §§ 1404, 1406 (¶ 4:261 ff.).
Venue Determinations Governed Exclusively by Federal Law: Issues raised in determining proper venue in federal actions are governed exclusively by federal law … even if the action is based on diversity jurisdiction. [Stewart Organization, Inc. v. Ricoh Corp. (1988) 487 US 22, 28, 108 S.Ct. 2239, 2243]