Arizona Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Arizona Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

I. Introduction to Civil Procedure

Civil procedure involves the rules and processes through which civil courts conduct litigation. It concerns how a lawsuit is initiated, the discovery process, pretrial procedures, the trial itself, and the potential appeals afterward.

II. Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction refers to a court’s authority to hear and decide a case. There are two main types of jurisdiction: Personal Jurisdiction and Subject Matter Jurisdiction.

A. Personal Jurisdiction
General Jurisdiction: For a court to have general jurisdiction over a person or entity, that person or entity must have substantial and continuous contacts with the forum state.
Specific Jurisdiction: A court has specific jurisdiction when the suit arises out of or relates to the defendant’s contacts with the forum.
Consent: A defendant may consent to a court’s jurisdiction by appearing in court without objecting to jurisdiction or through a contractual agreement.
Long-Arm Statutes: State laws that allow courts to reach beyond their borders in cases where a defendant has committed actions affecting the state or its residents.
Case Law:
International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945): Established the “minimum contacts” test.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017): Clarified limits on specific jurisdiction.

B. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Federal Question Jurisdiction: Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal courts have jurisdiction over cases arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.
Diversity Jurisdiction: Under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, federal courts have jurisdiction over cases between citizens of different states if the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
Supplemental Jurisdiction: Allows federal courts to hear additional claims closely related to those in which the court has original jurisdiction.
Removal: A defendant may remove a case from state court to federal court if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction.
Case Law:
Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue Engineering & Manufacturing, 545 U.S. 308 (2005): Addressed federal question jurisdiction.

III. Venue

Venue determines the most appropriate location for the trial within the jurisdiction. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391, venue is generally proper where any defendant resides, where a substantial part of the events occurred, or where any property involved is situated.

IV. Pleadings

Pleadings are the formal documents filed with the court which outline the parties’ positions.
Complaint: The initial pleading by the plaintiff which sets forth the claims.
Answer: The defendant’s response to the complaint, including defenses and counterclaims.
Reply: A plaintiff’s response to the defendant’s answer if counterclaims are raised.
Rule 12(b) Motions: These are pre-trial motions which can be used to challenge the adequacy of the complaint or the court’s ability to hear the case.

V. Pre-Trial Procedures

  • Discovery: The process by which parties obtain information from one another to prepare for trial.
  • Motion to Dismiss: This motion is filed by the defendant arguing the lawsuit should be thrown out due to issues like lack of jurisdiction, failure to state a claim, etc.
  • Summary Judgment: Under Rule 56, a party can move for summary judgment, arguing there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

VI. Trial Process

  • Jury Selection: The process of choosing jurors from the venire to hear the case.
  • Opening Statements: Each party’s initial narrative to the jury outlining their case.
  • Presentation of Evidence: The phase where witnesses are called, and exhibits are presented.
  • Closing Arguments: The final summary of each party’s case presented to the jury.

VII. Post-Trial Motions and Appeal

  • Motion for a New Trial: A request to set aside the judgment and conduct a new trial.
  • Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (JMOL): A request for the court to enter a judgment in favor of one party, even though the jury has returned a verdict for the other party.
  • Appeal: A request made to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court.

VIII. Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel

  • Res Judicata (Claim Preclusion): A final judgment on the merits by a court with jurisdiction bars further claims by the parties or their privies based on the same cause of action.
  • Collateral Estoppel (Issue Preclusion): Once a court has decided an issue of fact or law necessary to its judgment, that decision may preclude re-litigation of the issue in a suit on a different cause of action involving a party to the first case.

IX. Arizona-Specific Procedures

  • Arizona has its own rules for civil procedure, known as the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure (ARCP), which must be followed in addition to federal rules when in state court.
  • Arizona’s Long-Arm Statute can be found in ARS § 12-1502, which governs personal jurisdiction for out-of-state defendants.

Remember to review the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and the local rules of the Arizona courts for nuances in the practice of civil litigation. The information provided in this study guide is a foundational overview, and a thorough examination of the ARCP, relevant statutes, and case law is necessary to be fully prepared for your final examination in Civil Procedure.

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