North Carolina Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

North Carolina Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

I. Introduction to Civil Procedure
Civil Procedure is the body of law governing the methods and practices used in civil litigation. It involves the rules and standards set by the courts and legislatures that dictate how a civil case is initiated, conducted, and resolved. Understanding the rules of civil procedure is essential for the fair and efficient administration of justice.

II. Jurisdiction and Venue
Jurisdiction refers to a court’s authority to hear and decide a case. Venue relates to the most appropriate location for a trial within a jurisdiction.

A. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
1. Federal Question Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1331)
2. Diversity Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1332)
3. Supplemental Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1367)

B. Personal Jurisdiction
1. In-State Defendants (Pennoyer v. Neff)
2. Long-Arm Statutes
3. Minimum Contacts Standard (International Shoe Co. v. Washington)
4. Specific vs. General Jurisdiction (Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown)

C. Venue
1. Venue Transfer (28 U.S.C. § 1404)
2. Forum Non Conveniens

III. Pleading
Pleading is the process of making formal legal statements that set out the facts and legal arguments which support a party’s position.

A. Complaints and Answers
1. Rule 8: General Rules of Pleading
2. Rule 12(b): Defenses and Objections

B. Motions
1. Motion to Dismiss (Rule 12(b)(6))
2. Motion for Summary Judgment (Rule 56)

C. Amended and Supplemental Pleadings (Rule 15)

IV. Discovery
Discovery is the pre-trial stage in a lawsuit where each party can request information and evidence from the other side to build their case.

A. Scope of Discovery (Rule 26)
B. Tools of Discovery
1. Interrogatories
2. Depositions
3. Requests for Production
4. Requests for Admission
5. Electronic Discovery (Zubulake v. UBS Warburg)

V. Pre-Trial Procedures
A. Joinder of Claims and Parties (Rules 18 and 20)
B. Class Actions (Rule 23)
C. Pre-Trial Conference and Order (Rule 16)

VI. Trial
A. Jury Selection (Voir Dire)
B. Opening Statements
C. Presentation of Evidence
1. Direct and Cross Examination
2. Hearsay Rule & Exceptions
3. Expert Witnesses
D. Closing Arguments
E. Jury Instructions (Rule 51)
F. Verdict and Judgements

VII. Post-Trial Motions
A. Motion for a New Trial (Rule 59)
B. Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (Rule 50)

VIII. Appeals
A. Notice of Appeal (Rule 3)
B. Standards of Review
1. De Novo
2. Abuse of Discretion
3. Clear Error
C. The Appellate Process

IX. Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel
A. Claim Preclusion (Res Judicata)
B. Issue Preclusion (Collateral Estoppel)

X. Special North Carolina Civil Procedure Rules
A. North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure (NCRCP)
B. Service of Process in North Carolina (NCRCP 4)
C. North Carolina’s Unique Aspects of Venue and Jurisdiction
D. North Carolina’s Summary Judgment Standard (NCRCP 56)

Cases for Review using IRAC Format:

  1. International Shoe Co. v. Washington
    Issue: Whether the state of Washington had personal jurisdiction over the International Shoe Co.
    Rule: A state has personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant if the defendant has “minimum contacts” with the state such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.”
    Analysis: The International Shoe Co. maintained a continuous and systematic presence in Washington, with salesmen operating in the state.
    Conclusion: The Supreme Court held that Washington did have personal jurisdiction over International Shoe Co.

  2. Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown
    Issue: Whether North Carolina courts had general jurisdiction over a foreign corporation based on the connection between the state and a subsidiary’s in-state activities.
    Rule: General jurisdiction exists when a corporation’s affiliations with a state are so “continuous and systematic” as to render the corporation essentially at home in the state.
    Analysis: The connection between Goodyear USA, a North Carolina-based subsidiary, and the foreign corporations was not enough to establish that the foreign corporations were “at home” in North Carolina.
    Conclusion: The Supreme Court held that North Carolina courts did not have general jurisdiction over the foreign corporations.

  3. Zubulake v. UBS Warburg
    Issue: The obligations of parties to preserve and produce electronic evidence during discovery.
    Rule: Parties must preserve electronic evidence that is reasonably anticipated to be relevant to litigation and produce such evidence in a form that is accessible and usable.
    Analysis: UBS Warburg failed to preserve relevant emails and other electronic documents after litigation was reasonably anticipated.
    Conclusion: The court issued an adverse inference ruling against UBS Warburg for the lost evidence and provided detailed guidelines for managing electronic discovery.

This study guide provides a foundation for understanding key concepts in North Carolina Civil Procedure. For final exam preparation, students should review these concepts in-depth, study relevant state and federal rules, and analyze additional case law.

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