South Dakota Law School 1L Study Guide for Civil Procedure

Study Guide for Civil Procedure in South Dakota Law School

  1. Personal Jurisdiction
    Personal jurisdiction refers to the power of a court to make a decision that binds the parties involved.

Case: International Shoe Co. v. Washington (1945)
Facts: International Shoe Co., a Delaware corporation, had salesmen in Washington State but no offices. Washington sued for the unpaid unemployment taxes.
Issue: Whether a state can exercise jurisdiction over a foreign entity?
Rule: The court can exercise jurisdiction over an entity if it has “minimum contacts” with the state.
Analysis: International Shoe had sufficient contacts as they systematically conducted activities in Washington.
Conclusion: The court held that Washington had jurisdiction over the company.

  1. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
    Subject matter jurisdiction refers to a court’s authority to hear a specific type of case.

Case: Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah (2005)
Facts: A class action lawsuit was filed against Exxon on allegations of overcharging. The federal court lacked complete diversity as one plaintiff was from the same state as Exxon.
Issue: Can a federal court exercise jurisdiction when complete diversity is not met?
Rule: 28 U.S.C. § 1367 permits “supplemental jurisdiction” over additional claims that are part of the same case or controversy.
Analysis: The court maintained that the plaintiffs’ claims were part of the same case.
Conclusion: The court upheld the federal court’s jurisdiction, allowing the case to proceed.

  1. Pleadings
    Pleadings are the formal written statements by the parties to a lawsuit indicating their respective claims and defenses.

Case: Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly (2007)
Facts: Plaintiffs alleged that Bell Atlantic and others violated the Sherman Act by engaging in parallel conduct to prevent competition.
Issue: What should a pleading contain to survive a motion to dismiss?
Rule: A pleading must contain more than labels and conclusions; it must provide grounds for entitlement to relief.
Analysis: The court found that the facts as pleaded did not plausibly suggest a conspiracy.
Conclusion: The court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim.

  1. Joinder of Parties
    Joinder of parties refers to the legal procedure in which additional parties may be added to an existing court case.

Case: Temple v. Synthes Corp. (1990)
Facts: A lawsuit was filed against Synthes by a patient who was injured by a defective bone screw.
Issue: Can all injured patients join in a single lawsuit?
Rule: FRCP Rule 20 allows for permissive joinder if the claims arise out of the same series of transactions.
Analysis: The court found that the patients’ claims arose from the same series of transactions.
Conclusion: The court allowed the injured patients to join the existing lawsuit.

  1. Discovery
    Discovery is the pre-trial phase in which each party can request documents and other evidence from the other party.

Case: Hickman v. Taylor (1947)
Facts: A tugboat sank, and suits were brought against the owners. During discovery, plaintiffs sought to compel production of a report prepared by defendant’s counsel.
Issue: Are private materials prepared by an attorney protected from discovery?
Rule: The work-product doctrine protects materials prepared by an attorney in anticipation of litigation.
Analysis: The court found the report to be covered under the work-product doctrine.
Conclusion: The court held that plaintiffs were not entitled to the report.

  1. Summary Judgment
    Summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party against another without trial.

Case: Celotex Corp. v. Catrett (1986)
Facts: Catrett filed a lawsuit against Celotex alleging that her husband died due to exposure to Celotex’s asbestos products.
Issue: Can a party secure a summary judgment without providing affirmative evidence?
Rule: Under Rule 56, a party can secure summary judgment by showing that the opposing party lacks evidence.
Analysis: The court found that Catrett lacked evidence to prove that Celotex’s products caused her husband’s death.
Conclusion: The court granted summary judgment in favor of Celotex.

  1. Res Judicata
    Res judicata is a doctrine that bars relitigation of claims that have been previously adjudicated.

Case: Montana v. United States (1979)
Facts: The federal government denied Montana’s request to tax federal contractors working in the state.
Issue: Can Montana litigate a previously adjudicated claim?
Rule: Res judicata prohibits relitigation of the same claim between the same parties.
Analysis: The court found that the issues were already decided in a previous case.
Conclusion: The court held res judicata barred Montana’s case.

This study guide provides an overview of the main concepts in Civil Procedure and should be used as a starting point for more in-depth study. Always consult the specific rules of South Dakota’s court and your professor’s class notes for more detailed information.

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