Civil Procedure Class Notes 10/16/03


Monday, we will meet at 10 AM right here.


We started looking at amount of controversy yesterday.  Over time, the amount in controversy requirement had escalated.


Injunctions and aggregation


Injunctions don’t ask for a dollar value.  How do you assign a dollar value to determine whether the value is great enough to get you into federal court?


1.     What’s the value of the injunction to the plaintiff?

2.     What’s the cost to the defendant to comply with the injunction?

3.     What’s value or cost to the party that invoked federal jurisdiction (i.e. the plaintiff filing or the defendant removing)?

4.     Any of the above!  If you get any of #1-#3, you’re good to go.


How can you aggregate plaintiffs’ claims?  Can you add up claims to get over the $75,000 benchmark?  It’s confusing, but there are some basic rules that you can use.


·        Single plaintiffs can aggregate against single defendants.  It doesn’t matter if your various claims are unrelated.

·        Multiple plaintiffs can’t aggregate unless you come under the exception below.

·        The Rule of Zahn says that in a diversity class action, every class member must have a claim in excess of $75,000, unless courts find that § 1367 changes this rule.

·        If a counterclaim is compulsory, it can be heard regardless of the amount.  If the counterclaim is permissive, it needs to have an independent jurisdictional basis.


Hypotheticals on amount in controversy


You must plead in excess of $75,000, or else your case can get booted out of federal court.


If there’s a counterclaim that is permissive rather than compulsory, that is, one that could be brought separately (e.g. in state court), then you’d need an “independent basis for jurisdiction”.


A single plaintiff can aggregate unrelated claims against a single defendant to satisfy the amount in controversy requirement.  Does this make sense?  Don’t worry about whether it makes sense.  Just go with it.


Two plaintiffs can’t aggregate if their claims are separate and distinct.


The Supreme Court was going to look at a case that would resolve the issue of two plaintiffs with related claims, but they changed their mind.


Why diversity jurisdiction?


The courts and Congress have tried to limit diversity jurisdiction in three different ways.  Congress could conceivably do away with diversity jurisdiction altogether.


We keep diversity jurisdiction around for reasons of tradition as much as anything.  Also, litigating in federal court is desirable, and lawyers like having the option of getting their cases into federal court through diversity jurisdiction.


Supplemental jurisdiction – getting more jurisdiction than you thought


To this point, we’ve looked at several ways the courts and Congress have tried to limit the number of cases getting into federal courts.  Now, we’re going to take things that wouldn’t ordinarily be in federal court and see if we can find a basis for getting them in.  This now done by statute, but in order to understand the statute, we need to look at the case that the statute attempts to codify.


United Mine Workers v. Gibbs

Gibbs sues the United Mine Workers.  He had a federal claim and a state tort claim.  He has a “mixed body” of claims.


How come we don’t have diversity jurisdiction?  Where is the union from?  It’s from where all its members are from.


Can a federal court have jurisdiction over a claim with non-diverse parties?  Where should this suit be brought, if not in federal court?  It could be brought in state court.


What does the Supreme Court tell us?  The answer is that yes, the federal court can hear this case and the state law claim inside it.


What rationale does the Court use to justify federal jurisdiction in this case?  What is it about this “clump” of federal and state claims that makes it constitutional for the federal courts to hear it?


Gibbs is to supplemental jurisdiction as Pennoyer is to personal jurisdiction.  This is a very important case that you have to remember forever.  It gives us a phrase that we will see over and over.


Gibbs is a constitutional case.  Gibbs says that Article III’s delegation of federal judicial power relates to cases and controversies rather than claims.


In Mottley, the Supreme Court interpreted the language in regard to “arising under” jurisdiction and gave us the well-pleaded complaint rule.  In Mas, the Supreme Court interpreted the constitution to give us the complete diversity rule.


Brennan says: “The state and federal claims must derive from a common nucleus of operative fact.


This phrase is not very helpful in itself, but as we go over its applications, it begins to take on a life of its own.  We look at claims and think about whether we would normally expect to try them together in the same judicial proceeding.  Does it make sense to try these claims together?  Does it make a sensible trial package?


What details might you look at to make such a determination?


·        We want to consider efficiency.  This is an efficiency rule.

·        We want to make sure a jury won’t get confused by working with two different bodies of law at once.


Courts will have some discretion in deciding whether to hear these claims.


These concepts are old and have been subsumed by § 1367.  We need to know the old stuff because there are a lot of old lawyers and judges out there who only know the old way of doing things.


Pendant jurisdiction


If you have federal question jurisdiction to anchor the case, and you have an additional state law claim, then, provided that the claims come out of a “common nucleus of operative fact”, then you can hear them together.  This is essentially the situation in Gibbs.


Ancillary jurisdiction


If you have diversity jurisdiction, will it cover additional claims over other parties?  Let’s say you have a good federal diversity claim, but the defendant makes a third-party claim against a third-party defendant who is not diverse.


Pendant party jurisdiction


If you have federal question jurisdiction, can you make state law claims against additional parties if the claims come out of a “common nucleus of operative fact”.


But the good thing is that all three of these types of jurisdiction now fall under § 1367 and the contemporary concept of supplemental jurisdiction.


28 U.S.C. § 1367 takes the concepts from Gibbs and tries to apply them to provide for the same kind of supplemental jurisdiction.


§ 1367(a) is the grant of supplemental jurisdiction, which is essentially a codification of Gibbs.


We will start with sub-section (b), the exceptions, on Monday in our double class.


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