Minnesota Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Minnesota Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure


Subject Matter Jurisdiction: The authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter.
Federal Question Jurisdiction: Established under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal courts have jurisdiction when a case arises under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.
Diversity Jurisdiction: Under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, federal courts have jurisdiction when the case is between citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
Supplemental Jurisdiction: 28 U.S.C. § 1367 allows federal courts to hear additional claims that are part of the same case or controversy as the claims that invoked original jurisdiction.

Personal Jurisdiction: The authority of a court to make decisions binding on the parties involved in a lawsuit.
International Shoe Co. v. Washington: Established that a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a party if the party has certain minimum contacts with the forum state, and the maintenance of the lawsuit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
Specific Jurisdiction: Arises when a case arises out of or relates to a defendant’s contacts with the forum.
General Jurisdiction: Exists when a defendant has continuous and systematic contacts with the forum state, even if the case does not arise out of those contacts.


Venue: Refers to the geographic location where a lawsuit should be heard. In Minnesota, venue is governed by Minnesota Statutes Chapter 542.
Forum non conveniens: A doctrine that allows a court to dismiss a case when another court or forum is substantially more convenient for the parties or the ends of justice.


Complaint: The initial document filed by the plaintiff to begin a lawsuit, outlining the facts and legal basis for the claim.

Answer: The defendant’s response to the plaintiff’s complaint, which may include defenses and counterclaims.

Rule 12 Motions: Allow for dismissal of cases for various reasons, including lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.


Discovery Rules: Governed by the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, discovery is the process by which parties exchange information relevant to the case.
Depositions, Interrogatories, Requests for Production, and Requests for Admissions are tools used in the discovery process.

Summary Judgment

Summary Judgment: A procedural device used to dispose of a case without a trial when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law (Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 56).


Jury Selection: The process of choosing a jury from a pool of potential jurors, which may involve challenges for cause and peremptory challenges.

Conduct of Trial: The order of trial typically starts with opening statements, followed by the plaintiff’s case-in-chief, the defendant’s case, and then closing arguments.

Evidentiary Rules: Governed by the Minnesota Rules of Evidence, these rules determine what evidence is admissible at trial.

Post-Trial Motions

Motion for a New Trial: A request for a new trial based on errors made during the trial that could have affected the outcome.

Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (JMOL): A motion made after the opponent has been heard and before the case is submitted to the jury, asserting that the opposing party has insufficient evidence to reasonably support its case.


Appellate Procedure: The process for reviewing decisions of lower courts. In Minnesota, parties may appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and potentially the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Standards of Review: Different standards apply depending on the nature of the decision being appealed (de novo, abuse of discretion, clear error, etc.).

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation and Arbitration: Methods for resolving disputes outside of court. Mediation is typically non-binding, while arbitration can be binding or non-binding depending on the agreement between the parties.

Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel

Res Judicata (Claim Preclusion): Prevents parties from relitigating a cause of action that has already been finally decided between the same parties or their privies.

Collateral Estoppel (Issue Preclusion): Bars the relitigation of factual issues that were actually litigated and essential to the judgment in a prior proceeding between the same parties.

Erie Doctrine

Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins: A U.S. Supreme Court decision that federal courts sitting in diversity must apply state substantive law and federal procedural law.

Class Actions

Rule 23: Governs class actions in federal court. Minnesota has a similar rule in its rules of civil procedure.

Minnesota Specific Rules and Statutes

  • Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure: Local rules that govern civil procedure in Minnesota state courts.
  • Minnesota General Rules of Practice: Additional rules for specific types of cases, courtroom decorum, and practice before the district courts.
  • Minnesota Statutes: Contain specific laws that may be relevant to civil procedure, such as statutes of limitations and specific venue provisions.

This study guide provides a general overview of the concepts, rules, and case law relevant to a 1L Civil Procedure class with respect to Minnesota law. It is important to consult the latest versions of Minnesota Statutes, Rules of Civil Procedure, and case law for the most current information. Students should also practice applying these concepts through hypothetical scenarios and past exam questions to prepare for their final exams.

Discover more from Legal Three

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading