Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure


Subject Matter Jurisdiction (SMJ)

  • The authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter.
  • Federally, SMJ is limited by Article III of the U.S. Constitution and statutes such as 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 (federal question jurisdiction) and 1332 (diversity jurisdiction).

Personal Jurisdiction (PJ)

  • The authority of a court to make decisions binding on the parties to the lawsuit.
  • Two main types in Nevada: general (where the defendant is “at home”) and specific jurisdiction (arising out of or related to the defendant’s contacts with Nevada).
  • International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945): Established the “minimum contacts” standard for personal jurisdiction.


  • The geographic specification of the proper court or courts for litigation of a civil action that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the court.
  • Governed by both state and federal statutes; Nevada’s venue rules are found in NRS Chapter 13.



  • The initial pleading by the plaintiff stating their case.
  • Must include a short and plain statement of the claim under Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), which is mirrored in Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP).


  • The defendant’s response to the complaint, admitting or denying the allegations.
  • Defenses must be asserted in the answer, and failure to assert certain defenses can result in their waiver.

Rule 12(b) Motions

  • A series of defenses and objections that must be made at the earliest possible time in litigation.
  • In Nevada, as in federal court, they include lack of SMJ, lack of PJ, improper venue, etc.

Amended and Supplemental Pleadings

  • The ability to alter pleadings either through amendment or supplement pursuant to NRCP 15. This mirrors FRCP 15.
  • Relation Back Doctrine applies to claims arising out of the same conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out in the original pleading.


Scope of Discovery

  • Information within the scope of discovery must be nonprivileged, relevant to any party’s claim or defense, and proportional to the needs of the case (NRCP 26(b)). This mirrors FRCP 26(b).

Tools of Discovery

  • Depositions, interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, and physical/mental examinations.
  • In Nevada, EDCR 2.34 mirrors FRCP Rule 34 regarding electronic discovery.

Protective Orders and Limiting Discovery

  • Courts can issue orders to protect parties from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense (NRCP 26(c)).

Pretrial Procedures

Summary Judgment

  • A procedural device used to dispose of a case without a trial because there are no genuine disputes as to any material facts and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law (NRCP 56).
  • Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986): Clarified the burden of proof in summary judgment motions.

Pretrial Conference and Order

  • A meeting of the parties and a judge to discuss the case and prepare for trial. The pretrial order sets the matters for trial and controls the subsequent course of action (NRCP 16).


Right to a Jury Trial

  • The Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases at the federal level. Nevada similarly provides this right under Article 1, Section 3 of the Nevada Constitution.

Jury Selection

  • The process of questioning prospective jurors and selecting the jurors who will decide the case (voir dire).
  • Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986): Held that a party cannot use peremptory challenges to exclude jurors based solely on race.

Motions During Trial

  • Motions in limine, for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL), and for a new trial are crucial tools during the trial process (NRCP 50, 59).



  • Following a final judgment, a party may appeal to a higher court to review the decision of the lower court.
  • Standards of review on appeal depend on the nature of the issue (de novo for questions of law, clear error for factual findings, and abuse of discretion for discretionary matters).

Res Judicata (Claim Preclusion)

  • A final judgment on the merits bars subsequent actions by the same parties or their privies on the same claim.

Collateral Estoppel (Issue Preclusion)

  • Once an issue of fact has been determined by a valid and final judgment, that issue cannot be relitigated between the same parties in any future lawsuit.

Federal vs. Nevada Procedure

  • While Nevada civil procedure is heavily based on the FRCP, students should be aware of the local rules and statutes that may modify or diverge from the federal rules.
  • For example, Nevada has unique rules regarding alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and shorter timelines for certain motions and responses compared to the FRCP.

This study guide provides a starting point for understanding the major topics in Civil Procedure. However, students should review class notes, casebooks, and Nevada-specific statutes and rules for a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

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