Rhode Island Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Title: Rhode Island Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

I. Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the authority given to a court to hear and decide cases. There are two primary types of jurisdiction: Personal jurisdiction and Subject matter jurisdiction.

A. Personal Jurisdiction
This is the power that a court has over the parties in the case. It is generally derived from the defendant’s contacts with the state in which the court is located.

Case: International Shoe Co. v. Washington
Issue: Whether the defendant company’s activities within the state were sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction.
Rule: Minimum contacts with the forum state such that the suit does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.”
Application: The Court found sufficient contacts and upheld jurisdiction.
Conclusion: The defendant’s activities within the state constituted “minimum contacts.”

B. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
This is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to specific subject matter.

Case: Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Services
Issue: Whether the federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over claims that do not meet the amount in controversy requirement when they are joined with claims that do.
Rule: Federal courts have supplemental jurisdiction over all claims that are so related to the original claim that they form part of the same case or controversy.
Application: The Court held that the federal courts did have jurisdiction over the additional claims.
Conclusion: Additional claims related to the original claim can confer subject matter jurisdiction.

II. Pleadings and Complaints
These are formal written statements of a party’s claims or defenses to another party’s claims in a civil action.

Case: Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly
Issue: Whether a complaint needs to include plausible allegations to survive a motion to dismiss.
Rule: A complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.
Application: The Court held that the complaint did not meet this standard.
Conclusion: A complaint must state a plausible claim for relief.

III. Pretrial Procedures
This includes discovery, motions, and conferences held before trial.

Case: Hickman v. Taylor
Issue: Whether the attorney work-product doctrine protects materials prepared in anticipation of litigation from discovery.
Rule: Materials prepared in anticipation of litigation are protected from discovery, but the protection is not absolute.
Application: The Court held that the materials in question were protected.
Conclusion: The attorney work-product doctrine can protect materials from discovery.

IV. Trial and Post-Trial Motions
A trial is the formal process where the facts of a case are presented to a jury, and a decision is made about the dispute. Post-trial motions are made after the trial.

Case: Scott v. Harris
Issue: Whether a police officer’s actions, resulting in serious harm to a fleeing suspect, were reasonable.
Rule: The reasonableness of an officer’s actions is judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene.
Application: The Court found that the officer’s actions were reasonable.
Conclusion: The reasonableness of an officer’s actions is determined by the circumstances of the case.

V. Res Judicata
This is a legal principle that a matter that has been adjudicated by a competent court may not be pursued further by the same parties.

Case: Parklane Hosiery Co. v. Shore
Issue: Whether collateral estoppel can be applied in a case where the party against whom the earlier decision is asserted had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the earlier case.
Rule: Collateral estoppel can be applied in such cases.
Application: The Court held that collateral estoppel was applicable in the case.
Conclusion: A party cannot relitigate an issue if it had a full opportunity to do so in an earlier case.

VI. Rhode Island Civil Procedure Specifics
Rhode Island has its own rules of civil procedure that are largely similar to the federal rules but have some key differences. For example, in Rhode Island, service of process can be done by any disinterested person who is above 18 years, while in federal rule, it’s usually done by a U.S. marshal or someone specially appointed.

Case: Rhode Island v. Innis
Issue: Whether the defendant’s rights were violated under the Rhode Island procedure.
Rule: The procedure must be followed accurately to protect the rights of the defendant.
Application: The Court found that the procedure was not followed properly.
Conclusion: Correct procedure is essential for the proper administration of justice.

Note: Always refer to the Rhode Island Rules of Civil Procedure for specific procedural rules applicable in Rhode Iisland.

This study guide provides an overview of the key concepts in Civil Procedure. It is recommended to further delve into each topic and review the full case law for a comprehensive understanding.

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