Oregon Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Oregon Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

I. Introduction to Civil Procedure

Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures in criminal law matters). It concerns legal rules and practices affecting how cases are heard, the steps parties must take, and the order in which those steps must be taken.

II. Personal Jurisdiction

Key Concept: Personal jurisdiction refers to the court’s power over the parties involved in the civil lawsuit.

In the context of Oregon law, the Oregon courts have taken a broad view of personal jurisdiction, stretching to the limits of due process as interpreted by the U.S Supreme Court.

Case Law: International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 US 310 (1945)

Review (IRAC):

Issue: Whether the State of Washington has personal jurisdiction over International Shoe Company?

Rule: The minimum contacts test from International Shoe holds that a defendant must have “minimum contacts” with the forum state such that the lawsuit does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.”

Application: International Shoe had sufficient contacts with the state as it had salespeople in Washington.

Conclusion: The court held that International Shoe was subject to personal jurisdiction in Washington.

III. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Key Concept: Subject matter jurisdiction refers to the court’s authority to hear and decide the type of case before it.

In Oregon, state courts possess general jurisdiction, meaning they can hear any case unless an exception applies. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.

Case Law: Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Services, Inc., 545 U.S. 546 (2005)

Review (IRAC):

Issue: Can a federal court exercise jurisdiction over a diversity case when only one of the plaintiffs meets the amount in controversy requirement?

Rule: Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, a federal court can exercise supplemental jurisdiction over additional claims in a diversity case, even if those claims do not meet the amount-in-controversy requirement, as long as at least one claim meets the requirement.

Application: The court found that one of the plaintiffs’ claims did meet the amount-in-controversy requirement.

Conclusion: The court held that federal courts have the authority under Section 1367 to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over claims that do not meet the amount-in-controversy requirement.

IV. Pleadings

Key Concept: Pleadings are the written statements of fact and law filed by the parties outlining the issues in dispute.

Oregon is a notice pleading state.

Case Law: Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)

Review (IRAC):

Issue: What is the standard for evaluating whether a complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim?

Rule: A complaint should not be dismissed unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.

Application: Court found that the complaint sufficiently stated a claim for relief.

Conclusion: Court held that the complaint should not be dismissed.

V. Discovery

Key Concept: Discovery, a pre-trial procedure, allows for the exchange of information between the plaintiff and defendant.

Oregon follows the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) for discovery procedures with minor modifications.

Case Law: Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495 (1947)

Review (IRAC):

Issue: Can work product of a lawyer be accessed during discovery?

Rule: The court established the work-product doctrine, which protects materials prepared in anticipation of litigation from discovery.

Application: The court found that the interviews were part of the attorney’s preparation for litigation.

Conclusion: Court held that the interviews were protected from discovery.

VI. Trial and Appeal

Key Concept: The trial is where the facts are presented and determined, and a judgment is made. An appeal can follow a trial if a party believes an error was made at trial.

Applicable Law: The trial and appeal process in Oregon follows the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure (ORCP).

VII. Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel

Key Concept: These doctrines prevent relitigation of the same claim (res judicata) or issue (collateral estoppel) once a court has decided them.

Case Law: Parklane Hosiery Co. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322 (1979)

Review (IRAC):

Issue: Can a party be collaterally estopped from relitigating an issue already decided against it in a prior lawsuit?

Rule: A party can be estopped from relitigating an issue already decided against it in a prior lawsuit if the issue was actually litigated and determined.

Application: The court found that the issue had been litigated and determined in a prior lawsuit.

Conclusion: The court ruled that the doctrine of collateral estoppel prevented the relitigation of the issue.

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