SUMMARY OF CIVIL PROCEDURE CASES
Territorial Allocation of Judicial Jurisdiction
o Pennoyer v. Neff
o Hess v. Pawloski
Held, a statute designating the registrar of motor vehicles as agent for purpose of service of
process for out-of-state motorists complies with the due process clause of the Fourteenth
o Milliken v. Meyer
One is subject to personal jurisdiction in the state in which he is domiciled regardless of
whether he is served there provided the state has employed a reasonable method of
appraising such an abent party of the proceedings against him.
o Gray v. American Radiator & Std. Sanitary Corp.
Long-arm permits jurisdiction over one who “commits a tortuous act or omission within
Illinois.” American manufactured valves in Ohio and sold them to water heater manufacturer
in Pennsylvania. Held, an act or omission cannot become tortuous until someone is injured.
The tortuous act actually occurred in Illinois.
o Feathers v. McLucas
The statute only applies to acts or omissions actually committed in New York. There is no
jurisdiction where the act or omission was committed outside of the state and resulted in
injury within the state.
o International Shoe Co. v. Wahington
D has no activities in Washington except for the activities of its salesmen, who live in the
state and work from their homes. All orders are sent by the salesmen to the home office and
approved at the home office. The salesmen earn a total of $31,000 per year in commissions.
International Shoe Co. has minimum contacts with Washington.
First: Minimum Contacts.
Second: Reasonableness, inconvenience, enjoying benefits and privileges of the state,
fair and orderly administration of the laws.
o McGee v. international Life Insurance Co.
D is a Texas Insurance Co. It does not solicit business in CA. However, it takes over, from a
previous insurance Co., a policy written on the life of X, a CA resident. D sends X a new
policy; X sends premiums from his CA home to D's out-of-state office. X dies; P (the
beneficiary under the policy) is a CA resident. P sues D in CA for payment under the policy.
Held, D had minimum contacts with CA.
o Hanson v. Danckla
D is a Delaware bank which acts as a trustee of a certain trust. S, the settlor of the trust, is a
Pennsylvania resident at the time she sets up the trust. Years later she moves to FL. Her two
children, also FL residents, want to sue D in FL for the remaining trust assets. D has no other
contacts with FL. Held, D does not have minimum contacts with FL. The defendant must
have purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the
forum state, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.
o Kulko v. Superior Court
A father resides in New York an permits his minor daughter to go to CA to live with her
mother. Held, the father does not have sufficient minimum contacts with CA to permit an in
personam suit for increased child support.
o World-Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson
The Ps are injured in Oklahoma in an accident involving an allegedly defective car. The had
purchased the car in New York while they were New York residents. The Ps sue in
Oklahoma. D1 is the distributor who distributed only on the East Coast. D2 is the dealer,
whose showroom was in NY. Neither D1 nor D2 sold cars in OK or did any business there.
Held, Neither D made efforts to serve directly or indirectly the OK market. Any connection
was completely due the Ps' unilateral activity.
o Burden on defendant (primary) (Burger King suggests this is very high standard)
o Plaintiff’s interest in effective and convenient relief
o Forum’s interest in adjudicating dispute
o Interstate judicial system’s interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution
o Shared interest of state’s in furthering substantive social policies
o Keeton v. Hustler Magazine
A New York resident brought a defamation suit against Hustler Magazine. The plaintiff
chose to bring the case in New Hampshire, even though the plaintiff was not a resident there,
because New Hampshire allowed six-years to bring suit under that state's statute of
limitations. Held, a state can assert personal jurisdiction over the publisher of a national
magazine which published an allegedly defamous article about a resident of another state,
and where the magazine had wide circulation in that state. The plaintiff in a case is not
required to have "minimum contacts" in a state to bring suit in that state and the magazine
did conduct business within the state of New Hampshire.
o Calder v. Jones
The defendant was held subject to personal jurisdiction in CA for an allegedly defamatory
article written in FL, since the article was to be circulated in CA, the P lived there, and the
P’s career was centered there. No more extensive contacts between D and the forum state
must be shown in defamation suits than any other type of case.
o Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz
D runs a fast food restaurant in Michigan under franchise from P, which has its headquarters
in FL. The contract requires D to make royalty payments to P in FL. Held, P may sue D in
FL. The fact that the payment stream comes into FL is an important factor, and the court
concludes that there were minimum contacts with FL. The Court reasoned that the
defendants had a "substantial and continuing" relationship with Burger King in Florida and
that due process would not be violated because the defendants should have reasonably
anticipated being summoned into court in Florida for breach of contract. This case suggests
that where a D has directed activities to the forum state, jurisdiction is presumptively
reasonable and she will have make a compelling case that other consideration make it
unreasonable. Contrast with Asahi.
They availability of change of venue weighs against finding a lack of personal
o Ahahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court of California
P is injured while riding a motorcycle in CA. He brings a suit against the Taiwanese Co. that
made the tire tube. D impleads X, the Japanese manufacturer of the tube's valve assembly. X
has no contacts with CA, except that X knew that: (1) tires made by D from X's components
were sold in the U.S., and (2) 20% of the U.S. sale were in CA. Held, X had minimum
contacts with CA, because it put its goods into a stream of commerce that it knew lead many
of them to CA. However, it would be unreasonable -and thus violate due process - for CA to
hear the case, because of the burden to X of defending in CA, the slenderness of CA's
interest in having the case heard there, and the foreign relations problem of hearing a suit
between two foreign corps.
O’Connor: The mere awareness that a product may reach a remote jurisdiction when
put in the stream of commerce is not sufficient to satisfy the requirement for minimum
contacts under the Due Process Clause. Additional conduct of the D may indicate an
intent or purpose to serve the market in the forum state: (1) designing the product for
the market in the forum; (2) advertising in the forum state; (3) establishing channels for
providing regular advice to customers in the forum; (4) marketing the product through a
dist. who has agreed to serve as the sales agent in the forum. Foreseeability alone is
insufficient as a basis for jurisdiction (see World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson).
Brennan: As long as the defendant is aware that the final product is being the
possibility of a lawsuit there cannot come as a surprise. The benefits of the forum
accrue whether the defendant engages in additional conduct or not.
Stevens: This case fits within the rule that minimum requirements inherent in the
concept of fair play and substantial justice may defeat the reasonableness of jurisdiction
even if the defendant has purposefully engaged in forum activities. A regular course of
dealing resulting in deliveries of over 100,000 units annually over a period of several
years constitutes purposeful availment.
o Helicopteros Nacionales De Columbia, S.A. v. Hall
D is a South American corp. that supplies helicopter transportation in South America for oil
companies. D has no contacts with Texas except: (1) one negotiation with a client there, (2)
the purchase of 80% of its helicopter fleet from a Texas supplier. (3) the sending of pilots
and maintenance people to Texas for training, and (4) the receipt out-of-state of two checks
written in Texas by the client. D is sued in Texas by Texas residents when they are killed in
South America while being transported by D. Held, Ps cannot cue in Texas. D's contacts
were not continuous and systematic.
o Perkins v. Benguet Consolidated Mining Co.
Benguet Consolidated Mining Co. was a Philippine mining corporation that temporarily
stopped its mining operations and relocated its president to Ohio during the World War II
Japanese occupation of the Philippines. The limited activities that the corporation conducted
were all run from an Ohio office. The Supreme Court upheld jurisdiction in Ohio on a cause
of action that had nothing to do with its Ohio activities. Note that the case was fairly easy
because its corporate headquarters were in Ohio.
o Shaffer v. Heitner
P brings a shareholder's derivative suit in Delaware on behalf of XYZ corp. against 28 of
XYZ's non-resident directors and officers. None of the complained of activities took place in
Delaware, nor did any D have any other contact with Delaware. P takes advantage of a
Delaware statute providing that ay stock in a Delaware corporation is deemed to be present
in Delaware, allowing the stock to be attached to provide quasi in rem jurisdiction against its
owner. Held, this use of quasi in rem jurisdiction violates due process. No D may be
subjected to quasi in rem jurisdiction unless he has minimum contacts with the forum state.
Here, there were not minimum contacts.
o Burnham v. Superior Court of California
D and his wife, P, separate while residing in New Jersey. P moves to CA with their children.
D visits CA on business and stops briefly to visit the children. While D is visiting P serves
him with process in a CA suit for divorce. D never visits the state again. Held, CA can
constitutionally assert personal jurisdiction over D based on his presence in the state at the
time of service, even though that presence was brief and D had virtually no other contacts
with the state.
Scalia: Service in the forum has been sufficient since before Pennoyer, and ever since.
Brennan: Concurs in judgment, but court should analyze minimum contacts and fair
o Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute
Held, federal courts will enforce forum selection clauses so long as the clause is not
unreasonably burdensome to the party seeking to escape it.
o Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc.
1. Commercial websites which do a substantial volume of business over the Internet, and
through which customers in any location can immediately engage in business with the
website owner, definitely provide a basis for jurisdiction.
2. Passive websites, which merely provide information, will almost never provide sufficient
minimum contacts for jurisdiction. Such a website will only provide a basis for jurisdiction
if there is an intentional tort such as defamation on the website, and if it is directed at the
jurisdiction in question.
3. Interactive websites, which permit the exchange of information between the website
owner and visitors, may be subject to jurisdiction, depending on the website's level of
interactivity and commerciality, and the amount of contacts which the website owner has
developed with the forum due to the availability of the website within the jurisdiction.
o Toys R Us, Inc. v. Step two, S.A.
The defendant has "purposefully availed" itself of conducting activity in the forum state if it
directly targets its web site to the state, knowingly interacts with residents of the forum state
via its web site, or has engaged in sufficient other related contacts.
Non-internet factors that may tip Zippo scale:
o Serial business trips;
o Telephone and fax communications directed to the forum;
o Purchase contracts with forum state residents;
o Ks that apply law of forum state;
o Ads in local newspapers.
o Revell v. Lidov
Lidov (who was in Massachusetts) wrote a critical article about Revell and posted it on an
internet site hosted by Columbia University (in New York). Revell sued for defamation in
his State, Texas. The 5th circuit held there was no jurisdiction under the Zippo scale.
o Does P reside in forum and suffer harm in forum?
o Is the forum the focal point of the article? (Are sources drawn from the forum, did
the activities described take place there?)
o Did the author know that harm would be felt in the forum?
Notice and Opportunity to be heard
Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & trust Co.
Central Hanover Bank (P) was the trustee of a common trust fund formed by pooling
the assets of a number of smaller trusts. Central Hanover Bank petitioned to the New
York Surrogate’s Court for a judicial settlement of the trust. The only notice provided to
beneficiaries was via publication in a newspaper. Mullane (D) was appointed attorney
and special guardian for a number of beneficiaries who either were unknown or did not
appear. Held, Notice given to out of state parties by publication in a newspaper, when
the parties’ addresses were known, is unconstitutional in light of the Due Process
Clause. Constructive notice by publication was acceptable with regard to missing or
unknown parties or for those whose whereabouts could not be ascertained by due
diligence or for whom future interests were too conjectural to be known with certainty.
Notice must be reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise
interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to
present their objections. Would a prudent businessperson adopt these particular
Dusenbery v. United States
Dusenbery was in prison. The FBI sought to notify him by by sending certified mail
addressed to him care of the federal correctional institution where he was incarcerated;
to the address of the residence where he was arrested; and to an address in the town
where his mother lived. Held, notice was adequate. The means employed to provide
notice to the prisoner were reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise
the prisoner of the forfeiture. The prisoner did not actually have to receive the notice.
Jones v. Flowers
Gary Jones moved out of his house and into an apartment. After several years of unpaid
property taxes the tax authority sent a letter by certified mail to the house notifying him
that, if the taxes went unpaid, the house would be sold. The letter was returned as
"unclaimed." Held, "additional reasonable steps" are required after a mailed notice is
returned undelivered. The government must make a sincere effort.
National Dev. Co. v. Triad Holding Corp.
National was attempting to sue Khashoggi (owner of Triad). They attempted to serve
him with papers at his mansion in New York, and his housekeeper accepted the papers.
Khashoggi argued that his real address was in Saudi Arabia and that he routinely moved
between a number of houses worldwide. He only stayed in NYC for about a month per
year. Therefore, the NYC address was not his dwelling house or usual place of abode,
and therefore under Federal Rule 60(b)(4), sending a summons there did not meet the
minimum standard of service of process. Held, a person can have more than one
dwelling or usual place of abode. Based on the Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank &
Trust Co. (339 U.S. 306 (1950)) standard, the summons could be reasonably calculated
to provide notice.
o Opportunity to be heard
Goldberg v. Kelly
Appellees are New York City residents receiving financial aid under the federally
assisted Aid to Families with Dependent Children program or under New York State's
general Home Relief program who allege that officials administering these programs
terminated, or were about to terminate, such aid without prior notice and hearing,
thereby denying them due process of law. Held:
o 1. Welfare benefits are a matter of statutory entitlement for persons qualified to
receive them and procedural due process is applicable to their termination.
o 2. The interest of the eligible recipient in the uninterrupted receipt of public
assistance, which provides him with essential food, clothing, housing, and medical
care, coupled with the State's interest that his payments not be erroneously
terminated, clearly outweighs the State's competing concern to prevent any
increase in its fiscal and administrative burdens.
o 3. A pre-termination evidentiary hearing is necessary to provide the welfare
recipient with procedural due process.
(a) Such hearing need not take the form of a judicial or quasi-judicial trial, but
the recipient must be provided with timely and adequate notice detailing the
reasons for termination, and an effective opportunity to defend by confronting
adverse witnesses and by presenting his own arguments and evidence orally
before the decision maker.
(b) Counsel need not be furnished at the pre-termination hearing, but the
recipient must be allowed to retain an attorney if he so desires.
(c) The decision maker need not file a full opinion or make formal findings of
fact or conclusions of law but should state the reasons for his determination
and indicate the evidence he relied on.
(d) The decision maker must be impartial, and although prior involvement in
some aspects of a case will not necessarily bar a welfare official from acting as
decision maker, he should not have participated in making the determination
Goss v. Lopez
Nine students at two high schools and one junior high school in Columbus, Ohio, were
given 10-day suspensions from school. The school principals did not hold hearings for
the affected students before ordering the suspensions, and Ohio law did not require
them to do so. Held, held that because Ohio had chosen to extend the right to an
education to its citizens, it could not withdraw that right "on grounds of misconduct
absent fundamentally fair procedures to determine whether the misconduct ha[d]
occurred." The Court held that Ohio was constrained to recognize students' entitlements
to education as property interests protected by the Due Process Clause that could not be
taken away without minimum procedures required by the Clause. The Court found that
students facing suspension should at a minimum be given notice and afforded some
kind of hearing.
Mathews v. Eldridge
George Eldridge, who had originally been deemed disabled due to chronic anxiety and
back strain, was informed by letter that his disability status was ending and that his
benefits would be terminated. Social Security Administration procedures provided for
ample notification and an evidentiary hearing before a final determination was made,
but Eldridge's benefits were cut off until that hearing could take place. Eldridge
challenged the termination of his benefits without such a hearing. Held, the initial
termination of Eldridge's benefits without a hearing did not violate due process. The
Court noted that due process was "flexible" and called for "such procedural protections
as the particular situation demands."
o Three part test when government is taking property:
1. The private interest that will be effected by the official action;
2. the risk of erroneous deprivation of such interests through the procedures
used, and the probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural
3. the government’s interest, including the function involved and the fiscal and
administrative burdens that the additional or substitute procedural requirement
Conneticut v. Doehr
A state statute allows P to get a prejudgment attachment of D's real estate without D's
having a hearing first, so long as P "verifies by oath" that there is probable cause to
sustain his claim. Factor 1 weighs against allowing attachment because it clouds his title
and effects his credit rating. Factor 2 does also since the judge can't accurately
determine the likely outcome of litigation based solely on P's statement under oath. As
does factor 3 since P was not required to show that D was dissipating his assets.
o Three part test when private individual is trying take property:
1. The degree of harm to D's interest;
2. The risk that the deprivations of D's property right will be erroneous,
especially if the state could have used additional procedural safeguards against
this but did not;
3. The strength of the interest of the party seeking the pre-judgment remedy.
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
In an opinion backed by a four-justice plurality and partly joined by two additional
justices, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote that although Congress authorized Hamdi's
detention, Fifth Amendment due process guarantees give a citizen held in the United
States as an enemy combatant the right to contest that detention before a neutral
decision maker. The plurality rejected the government's argument that the separation-of-
powers prevents the judiciary from hearing Hamdi's challenge. Justice David H. Souter,
joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, concurred with the plurality that Hamdi had the
right to challenge in court his status as an enemy combatant. Souter and Ginsburg,
however, disagreed with the plurality's view that Congress authorized Hamdi's
detention. Justice Antonin Scalia issued a dissent joined by Justice John Paul Stevens.
Justice Clarence Thomas dissented separately.
o Applying Mathews test:
1. Private interest = Hamdi’s liberty
2. Gov’t wants status determined as a matter of law b/c they found him on
battlefield. Courts disagrees b/c there is an unchecked system of detention.
3. Gov’t doesn’t want him to return to fight, or military officers to be
o Hamdi is entitled to:
1. Notice of why his status is enemy combatant and right to rebut;
2. Access to counsel;
3. Hearing can be conducted by military tribunal;
4. Hearing must be before neutral decision maker;
5. Hearsay may be admitted, he does not get to confront adverse witnesses;
6. Presumption in favor of gov’t evidence.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Strawbridge v. Curtiss
You need complete diversity in order to have subject matter jurisdiction. Even one D
who is from the same state as the P, destroys diversity.
Mas v. Perry
The plaintiffs are a French man and a Mississippi woman. They were married in
Mississippi and then they moved to Louisiana to be grad students. While they were
living in Louisiana, the plaintiffs discovered that Perry had been observing them
through two-way mirrors in the apartment they were renting from him. The plaintiffs
sued and won on the merits. During the trial, the defendant objected to the court’s
subject matter jurisdiction, claiming there was no diversity between the parties. The
plaintiffs won and the defendant appealed to the 5th Circuit solely on jurisdictional
grounds. Held, Mr. Mas was still a citizen of France at the time of the filing of the
lawsuit because he had not become a naturalized American citizen. The court finds that
Mrs. Mas was domiciled in Mississippi at the time of the suit. Mrs. Mas lived in
Mississippi when she married Mr. Mas, and her domicile did not change when they
moved to Lousiana because they were not going to be there indefinitely, but only as
students.The court refuses to apply the general rule that a wife is domiciled where her
husband is domiciled to the case where an American woman marries a foreign man.
The court cites a statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1489, which says that an American woman does not
lose her citizenship if she marries a foreign man.
o Citizenship: Requires a person to be a U.S. citizen and a citizen of a state.
Permanent residents are residents of their state.
o Domicile: True fixed and permanent establishment, and intent to remain.
o There are two requirements for changing domicile:
The physical requirement of moving to the new state; and
The mental requirement of intending to remain. Some factors include:
Purchase of a house;
Payment of taxes;
In-state college tuition.
Randazzo v. Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc.
P sued some corporations for his injuries caused by asbestos. In his complaint, P failed
to list place of incorporation or principal place of business for some of the corporations.
P's amended compalint also failed to provide this information. Held, A corporation has
dual citizenship. For diversity purposes, a corporation is a resident of the place of its
incorporation and the place where it has it's principal business. Both of these places
must be diverse from the plaintiff's residency in order to establish diversity jurisdiction.
In this case, the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient information to establish subject
J.A. Olson Co. v. City of Winona
P, a corporation, brought a diversity action in a federal court against a Mississippi D. P
was incorporated in Illinois and had bank accounts and made all important decisions in
Illinois. But its only manufacturing plant and almost all of its employees were based in
o Three approaches:
1. When a corporation's activities are far flung, the nerve center (corporate
headquarters) is more significant.
2. When a corporation has its sole operation in one state and its executive
offices in another, the place of activity (muscle center) is more significant, but
3. When the activity of a corporation is passive and the "brain" of the
corporation is in another state, the brain is more important.
Belleville Catering Co. v. Champaign Market Place L.L.C.
Belleville sued in Federal Court based on diversity of jurisdiction. The case made it all
the way to the appellate level before anyone noticed that in their filing Belleville listed
their State of Incorporation wrong. They were from the same State as Champaign!
Therefore there was no diversity and the case was thrown out. Courts can never waive
subject matter jurisdiction.
JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Traffic Stream (BVI) Industries LTD.
The United States Supreme Court stated that "citizen or subject" status did not have to
be held directly from a formally recognized state, as distinct from a legal dependency.
Such a distinction was beside the point of 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(a)(2).
SCOTUS decided that BVI is a subject of the U.K. So traffic stream is a subject of a
foreign state; alienage jurisdiction is allowed.
o Amount in Controversy
St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co.
A plaintiff’s good faith claim for more than the amount required controls, unless it
appears to a legal certainty is really for less. A D is also free to claim less then he viably
could have in order to prevent removal.
o Federal question
Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. v. Mottley (Well pleaded complaint rule)
P claims that D railroad has breached its agreement to give P free railroad passes. A
recently passed federal statute prohibits the giving of such passes. In P's complaint, he
anticipates the railroad's federal statutory defense, claiming that the statute violates the
Fifth Amend. Held, since P's claim was merely a breach of contract claim, there was no
federal question. The fact that federal law was an integral part of D's anticipated defense
is irrelevant. The “well pleaded complaint rule” asks whether the P would have to raise
the federal issue in a complaint which includes the elements she needs to prove in order
to establish her claim, and only those elements.
o 1. Court looks only to P’s complaint.
o 2. Court assesses only the well-pleaded part of P’s complaint. That is, the part of
the complaint supporting only the P’s claims. No extraneous material.
Supplemental jurisdiction and removal
Noble v. Bradford Marine, Inc. (Minority)
o Two Ps filed separate claims against D1. Later, they amended their complaints
and added D2. D2 tried to remove case to the federal court based on federal
question jurisdiction, but after the 30 days of the initiation of the original
lawsuits. D2 claims that since he was added later to the lawsuit, the 30 day limit
that applied to D1 should not apply to him. D1 could have removed the case to the
federal court but he didn’t. When D2 was added, no new federal jurisdiction was
created. Therefore, the original 30 day limit not only applied to D1, but also to
D2. Note that if federal jurisdiction was created only after the addition of D2,
then a new 30 day limit would start.
Bailey v. Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc. (Majority)
o Plaintiff personal representative filed a wrongful death action in a Florida court,
seeking damages from defendants, two pharmaceutical companies, the companies'
parent company, and a pharmacy. Although other U.S. court of appeals had held
that removal had to occur within 30 days of the date the first defendant was
served, more recent decisions and equity favored permitting each defendant thirty
days in which to seek removal, and the parent company was not barred from
removing the action because its subsidiaries did not do so.
o Bates v. C & S Adjusters, Inc.
P defaulted on his debt and D, a NY collection agency, sent letter to P. P incurred the debt
in Pennsylvania, but later moved to NY. D’s letter addressed to P’s Pennsylvania’s
residence but from there, redirected to P’s NY residence. P brought claim against D under
federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Held, Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391 (b)(2), venue is
proper in a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise
to the claim occurred. In this case, P resided in NY when he received the letter and the letter
was redirected to NY. D intended P to receive the letter and therefore, a substantial part of
the events giving rise to the claim occurred in NY. Therefore, the district court erred for
dismissing the P’s lawsuit. The statute concerns the location where the events occurred, not
whether the defendant’s contact was deliberate. C & S could have avoided this by marking
“Do not forward.”
o Hoffman v. Blaski
A district where the action “might have been brought” means that personal jurisdiction and
venue would be proper.
Manley v. Engram (11th Cir.): Hoffman involved a 1404 transfer, but the rule applies to
1406 as well.
Goldlawr, Inc. v. Heiman, the Supreme Court held that a court that lacks personal
jurisdiction may transfer the action.
Van Dusen v. Barrack: In a 1404(a) transfer the law of the transferor applies.
Ferens v. John Deere Co.: Extended Van Duen to a 1404(a) transfer initiated by the P.
Eggleton: In a 1406 transfer the law of the transferee applies.
Forum non conveniens
o Piper Aircraft Co. V Reyno
A small commercial aircraft crashed in the Scottish highlands. Petitioner Piper Aircraft Co.
manufactured the aircraft in Pennsylvania and petitioner Hartzell Propeller, Inc.
manufactured the propellers in Ohio. Held, 1) The Court of Appeals (3d Circuit) erred in
holding that plaintiffs may defeat a motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non
conveniens merely by showing that the substantive law that would be applied in the
alternative forum is less favorable to the plaintiffs than that of the present forum. 2) The
Court of Appeals also erred in rejecting the District Court's Gilbert analysis.
o 1. relative ease of access to sources of proof
o 2. availability of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling witnesses
o 3. the cost of obtaining attendance of willing witnesses
o 4. possibility of view of of premises, if view would be appropriate to the action
o 5. all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious, and
o 1. Administrative difficulties of keeping the case
o 2. Local interest in having localized controversies decided at home
o 3. Desire to have case tried in a forum well versed in the applicable law
o 4. Avoiding undue problems with conflict of laws or in the application of foreign
o 5. The unfairness of burdening citizens with jury service in a case unrelated to the
o Dioguardi v. Durning
Dioguardi (P) imported “bottles and tonics” from Italy and claimed that Durning (D),
Collector of Customs at the Port of New York, improperly sold them at auction. P,
representing himself pro se, brought an action for conversion against D. P drafted his own
defective complaint and D filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action.
Held, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have adopted the notice pleading standard. In
order to withstand summary judgment, the complaint need only put the court and defendant
on notice of the cause of action. The complaint need only present a short and plain statement
of the claim demonstrating that the pleader is entitled to relief.
o Leatherman v. Tarrant County
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had adopted a heightened pleading standard regarding
lawsuits involving municipality liability. The district court dismissed Ps’ complaints and the
Court of Appeals affirmed. Can a court adopt special heightened standards of pleading for
certain categories of cases? Held, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure follow the notice
pleading standard. Under FRCP 8(a)(2) the complaint need only put the court and the
defendant on notice of the causes of action. The complaint must state factual details and the
basis for the claim. For proper notice, a complaint need only present a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
You cannot add heightened pleading standards for certain types of complaints.
o Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly
Twombly and Marcus brought a class-action lawsuit alleging that Bell Atlantic and a
number of other large telephone companies had engaged in anti-competitive behavior in
violation of the Sherman Act. Previously, under the standard the Court set forth in Conley v.
Gibson, a complaint need only state a "conceivable" set of facts to support its legal claims --
that is, that a court could only dismiss a claim if it appeared, beyond a doubt, that the
plaintiff would be able to prove no set of facts in support of her claim that would entitle her
to relief. In Twombly, the court adopted a more strict, "plausibility" standard,
requiring in this case "enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery
will reveal evidence of illegal agreement."
o Ashcroft v. Iqbal (note)
A complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
is entitled to relief.” “[D]etailed factual allegations” are not required, Twombly, but the Rule
does call for sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” A court should determine if should determine if a claim is
plausible based on judicial experience and common sense.
o McCmorick v. Kopmann
A complaint may contain inconsistent allegations, even though the proof of one negates any
fault on the foundation of the other.
o Rector v. Approved Federal Savings Bank
After the complaint was dismissed the bank moved for sanctions pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
11. On the first appeal the attorney did not assert the 21-day safe harbor provision of Fed. R.
Civ. P. 11. On his second appeal, for the first time, the attorney asserted the 21-day safe
harbor defense. The court of appeals affirmed and held the 21-day safe harbor provision was
not jurisdictional and the attorney waived the defense when he failed to raise the argument to
the district court in the first instance and he failed to raise it on the first appeal.
Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp.: A district court can impose Rule 11 sanctions on
the plaintiff and its attorney for inadequate pre-filing inquiry, even after the plaintiff has
voluntarily dismissed the suit.
Willy v. Coastal Corp.: A district court may impose Rule 11 sanctions in a case in
which the court is later determined to be without subject matter jurisdiction.