Missouri Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Missouri Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Civil Procedure is a fundamental course for first-year law students that outlines the rules and processes that courts follow in civil lawsuits. The following study guide focuses on key topics of Civil Procedure with an emphasis on Missouri state-specific rules and federal law, where applicable.

I. Jurisdiction and Venue
A. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
– Federal Question Jurisdiction: Cases involving federal statutes, the U.S. Constitution, or treaties.
– Diversity Jurisdiction: Cases between citizens of different states with an amount in controversy exceeding $75,000.
– Missouri State Jurisdiction: Missouri Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction, while Associate Circuit Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain matters.

B. Personal Jurisdiction
– In Personam: Jurisdiction over the persons involved in the litigation.
– In Rem: Jurisdiction over property within the court’s territory.
– Quasi in Rem: Jurisdiction over an individual’s property within the state for the purpose of satisfying a claim against that individual.
– Missouri’s Long-Arm Statute (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 506.500): Allows Missouri courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over non-residents in specific circumstances.

C. Venue
– Venue refers to the specific location within the jurisdiction where a case can be heard.
– Missouri Venue: Governed by Mo. Rev. Stat. § 508.010, which outlines where a civil action can be brought.

II. Pleading
A. Complaint
– The initial pleading by the plaintiff stating the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis for relief, and the demand for judgment.
B. Answer
– The defendant’s response to the complaint, addressing the allegations and raising defenses.
C. Missouri-Specific Pleadings
– Missouri follows the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, which may have specific requirements for pleadings.

III. Motions
A. Pre-Trial Motions
– Motion to Dismiss: A request for the case to be dismissed for various reasons, such as lack of jurisdiction or failure to state a claim.
– Motion for Summary Judgment: Argues there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
B. Post-Trial Motions
– Motion for a New Trial: Requesting a new trial due to significant errors or issues that occurred during the trial.
– Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (JNOV): A request to overturn the jury’s verdict because it was unreasonable or unsupported by the evidence.

IV. Discovery
A. Types of Discovery
– Interrogatories: Written questions requiring written answers.
– Depositions: Sworn testimony taken out of court.
– Requests for Admission: Requests for the opposing party to admit to certain facts.
– Production of Documents: Requests for documents relevant to the case.
B. Scope and Limits
– Discovery should be proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues, the amount in controversy, and the parties’ resources.

V. Trial
A. Jury Selection
– Voir Dire: Process of selecting impartial jurors.
– Peremptory Challenges: Parties can challenge a certain number of jurors without stating a reason.
– For Cause Challenges: Parties can challenge an unlimited number of jurors for a specific reason, such as bias.
B. Missouri-Specific Trial Procedures
– Missouri has its own rules governing the conduct of civil trials, found in the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure.

VI. Post-Trial
A. Appeals
– Parties can appeal to higher courts if they believe there has been an error of law.
– Missouri Court of Appeals: Reviews decisions from the Circuit Courts.
B. Enforcement of Judgments
– Methods for enforcing judgments include writs of execution, garnishments, and liens.

VII. Case Law
A. International Shoe Co. v. Washington (1945) – Personal Jurisdiction
– Issue: Whether due process allows a state to exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant.
– Rule: A state may exercise jurisdiction if the defendant has “minimum contacts” with the state so that jurisdiction does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.”
– Analysis: International Shoe had sufficient contacts with Washington through sales and the presence of salesmen.
– Conclusion: The Supreme Court held that Washington state had personal jurisdiction over International Shoe.

B. Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court (1987) – Stream of Commerce Theory
– Issue: Whether placing a product into the stream of commerce, knowing that it may end up in a particular state, is enough for personal jurisdiction.
– Rule: Merely placing a product into the stream of commerce, without more, is not enough to establish personal jurisdiction.
– Analysis: The plurality opinion required additional conduct indicating an intent or purpose to serve the market in the forum state.
– Conclusion: The Supreme Court concluded that California did not have jurisdiction over Asahi Metal Industry.

VIII. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) & Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure
– While the FRCP applies to federal courts, Missouri courts adhere to the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure.
– It is crucial to understand the differences between these rules, particularly regarding pleading standards, discovery procedures, and timelines.

By mastering the concepts outlined in this study guide and understanding how they are applied in Missouri and federal courts, students can adequately prepare for their final examination in Civil Procedure. It is important to review case law, read the Missouri statutes, and be familiar with both the FRCP and Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure for a comprehensive understanding of Civil Procedure.

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