New Mexico Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Civil Procedure Study Guide: New Mexico Law School 1L

I. Jurisdiction and Venue
A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
– Federal Question Jurisdiction: Cases arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.
– Diversity Jurisdiction: Cases between citizens of different states, or between a citizen and a foreign state, and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
– Supplemental Jurisdiction: Allows federal courts to hear additional claims that are related to the original jurisdiction claims.

B. Personal Jurisdiction
– In Personam Jurisdiction: The court’s power to bring a person into its adjudicative process; jurisdiction over the person’s rights, rather than over property.
– In Rem Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction over property within the court’s territory.
– Quasi In Rem Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction over a person’s interest in property within the court’s control.
– Minimum Contacts Test (International Shoe Co. v. Washington): A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant if the defendant has minimum contacts with the forum state, and jurisdiction does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

C. Venue
– Proper venue is determined by statute, taking into account where the defendant resides, where the events giving rise to the action occurred, or where the property in dispute is located.

II. Pleadings and Motions
A. Complaint: The initial pleading that starts a lawsuit. It must provide a short and plain statement of the claim and the relief sought.
B. Answer: The defendant’s response to the complaint. It must admit or deny allegations and may raise affirmative defenses.
C. Motion to Dismiss: A pre-trial motion requesting the court to dismiss a case for a specified reason (e.g., lack of jurisdiction, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted).
D. Amended and Supplemental Pleadings: Pleadings may be amended to correct errors, add new claims, or include new parties.

III. Discovery
A. Purpose: Obtain relevant information from the opposing party or parties before trial.
B. Tools: Depositions, interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admissions, and physical or mental examinations.
C. Scope: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter relevant to the claim or defense.

IV. Pretrial Procedures
A. Conferences: Meetings between the judge and the parties to discuss the case, plan discovery, and consider settlement.
B. Summary Judgment: A judgment entered by the court for one party against another party without a full trial. It is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

V. Trial and Judgment
A. Right to Jury Trial: Under the Seventh Amendment, parties have a right to a jury trial in federal civil cases where the value in controversy exceeds $20.
B. Directed Verdict: A ruling by the judge, taking the decision out of the jury’s hands and directing a verdict for one party. It is appropriate when the evidence is so one-sided that reasonable jurors could not disagree.
C. Judgment as a Matter of Law (JMOL): A motion made after the opposing party has been heard at trial, asserting that there are no legally sufficient evidentiary bases for a reasonable jury to find for that party.
D. Post-Trial Motions: Motions for a new trial or to alter or amend the judgment.

VI. Appeal
A. Notice of Appeal: A party seeking to appeal a judgment or order must file a notice of appeal with the court.
B. Standards of Review: Appellate courts will review findings of fact for clear error, conclusions of law de novo, and matters of discretion for abuse of discretion.

VII. Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel
A. 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.
B. Collateral Estoppel (Issue Preclusion): Once a court decides 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.

VIII. New Mexico-Specific Considerations
A. New Mexico Long-Arm Statute: Allows personal jurisdiction over non-residents who commit a tortious act within the state, enter into a contract with a New Mexico resident, or transact business within the state.
B. New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedure: Students should familiarize themselves with local rules that may vary from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, such as those pertaining to pretrial procedures, discovery, and statutes of limitations.

IX. Key Cases
A. International Shoe Co. v. Washington (IRAC Analysis):
Issue: Whether the State of Washington could exercise personal jurisdiction over a Delaware corporation with salespeople in Washington.
Rule: The court established the “minimum contacts” standard, requiring that a defendant have certain minimum contacts with the forum state such that maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
Application: International Shoe had sufficient contacts through its sales representatives in Washington to warrant personal jurisdiction.
Conclusion: The Supreme Court held that Washington state had personal jurisdiction over International Shoe.

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