Law School Discussion

Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!

Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« on: December 29, 2011, 06:41:39 AM »
So, I took my Civ Pro exam a few weeks ago, and I just. can't. let. it. go.  I know, I know - don't think about exams after they're done...I'm well aware of that mantra; however, one question is just sticking with me, and I feel like my exam probably hinges on it because the other questions were pretty straightforward, so this is going to be the one that separates the class. If you feel like flexing your Civ Pro muscle, take a look at the below.

OK, basically the problem is this: A (from NY), B (from NY), and C (from IL) sue D in NY federal court. The cause of action is state law, but in order to make the state claim, they're going to rely on federal law regarding what can and can't be sold between states. D then countersues both A, B, and C together (purely a state law matter) and A individually (for an amount that exceeds $75k). Does the federal court have subject-matter jurisdiction over D's claims?

I thought and thought about this one, and basically what I came up with was this:
-D's claim against A alone is fine in federal court due to diversity. Fairly straightforward (correct me if I'm wrong here).
-D's claim against ABC together hinges on a couple things (since no subject matter jurisdiction can be had either by 1331 (federal question) or 1332 (diversity)):
     -D's claim must be a compulsory counterclaim under Rule 13.
     -If it is compulsory, and there is SMJ over the original claim by ABC against D, then there is automatically supplemental jurisdiction over the counterclaim
     -Thus, the analysis I did was two parts: first, is there federal SMJ over the original claim by ABC (b/c of federal ingredients), and second, is the counterclaim compulsory?
     -If yes to both, then SMJ over the counterclaim; if no to either, no SMJ

Any thoughts on other ways SMJ could work? I've considered this for a while and can't come up with any other potential reasons that SMJ is proper on the counterclaim by D against ABC.


Julie Fern

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Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2011, 06:49:54 AM »
ayn, not you all about self-help, survival of fittest, and all that?

figure it out or flunk.

Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 08:46:16 AM »
Thanks for your help. Anyone else?

Julie Fern

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Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 05:48:34 PM »
no, probably not.

Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 10:42:19 PM »
The facts you provided are incomplete, Ayn. Where is D from and what is the original amount in controversy? I'm only halfway through civ pro myself, so my opinion is worth what you're paying for it. In any case, I think you could analyze whether the court had original jurisdiction in the first place unless the facts clearly stipulated that the district court had original jurisdiction based on a substantial federal question. You indicate that the main claim was a state cause of action that relied on a federal law, so it seems the lines are blurred (typical law exam). It may have been worthwhile to discuss whether the state question in the original complaint substantially outweighed the federal question. If it did, the district court could dismiss and the counterclaim would be dismissed along with it. There's also judicial economy to think about.

Incidentally, if the district court had original jurisdiction, I don't believe diversity would be a consideration as to whether the court would hear the counterclaim.

Julie Fern

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Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 12:06:39 PM »
surprised yet again!

Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2011, 02:41:10 PM »
You're right - the facts I gave were incomplete. D is from IL - thus, (as I see it), diversity doesn't provide grounds for jurisdiction since there is a diversity spoiler. So (I think) it falls to federal question jurisdiction to provide a case for ABC to get their original claim into federal court.

From there, I analyzed whether the federal question was substantial enough to merit 1331 jurisdiction. Then (again, I think), assuming jurisdiction was cool over the first, I analyzed whether the counterclaim was compulsory; the way I see it, if it's compulsory, then there's jurisdiction (supplemental), and if not, then no jurisdiction.

Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2011, 03:43:17 PM »
I need to look into how the district court treats discretionary counterclaims. You're right that it would have supplemental jx if the counterclaim were compulsory, and they would hear it in the interest of judicial economy. But I could swear I saw somewhere that district courts don't like to hear discretionary counterclaims. I'll have to look into that and get back to you.

Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2011, 03:53:52 PM »
Yea I kind of feel like we didn't get the whole story yet. So, if the A, b, and c, people are sueing D over a state law matter, but are going to rely on a federal COA, are they doing this strategically, like a potemkin? Couldn't this be an issue if the state claims substantially predominate the federal ones?

But from what you did say, I am leaning toward No, as my answer. But what is the countersuing about? like what specifically? And, is this a trick question, because isn't the law more concerned with interstate taxation of goods and services, than what can be sold between states. and I kind of think it is a trick because it has a kink in the gears, when it says "they are suing FOR (because of) a state law matter". So that is what they are standing up for, but their strategy of relying on  a fed claim, may still be allowable if the fed claim is valid and meritorious. But the way that the question leads off into saying countersuing without saying for what, makes me think that there was a catch, earlier on. But please tell us a little more, this is interesting. But if I had to choose, I would say no, under your current facts.

Re: Civ Pro Hypo - Please help!
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 04:05:14 PM »
Erie doctrine (eer-ee). (1943) The principle that a federal
court exercising diversity jurisdiction over a case that
does not involve a federal question must apply the substantive
law ofthe state where the court sits. Erie R.R. v.
Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S.Ct. 817 (1938). Cf. REVERSE
ERIE DOCTRINE. [Cases: Federal Courts (;:::>373.]

aggregation doctrine. (1942) 1. The rule that precludes a
party from totaling all claims for purposes ofmeeting
the minimum amount necessary to give rise to federal
diversity jurisdiction under the amount-in-controversy
reqUirement. See diversity jurisdiction under JURISDICTION;
Courts C=>344.] 2. Constitutional law. A rule that
allows Congress, under its Commerce Clause powers,
to regulate purely private acts, such as growing wheat
for one's own consumption, if the consequences of
many such acts, taken together, would have an effect on
interstate commerce. See Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S.
lll, 63 S.Ct. 82 (1942). [Cases: Commerce C=>7(2).]
aggregation of claims. Patents. In a patent application,
an excessive number of claims that do not differ significantly
in scope and are essentially duplicative .
Although a patent applicant may claim an invention
and its various features in a reasonable number ofways,
each claim must differ materially from the others.
Also termed multiplicity ofclaims;

also look at diversity and jurisdictional amount - suing for 75grand may be not allowed if u can prove that the amount would not actually end in 75 or more.

Just keep researching. ill be back in a 6 hours and help more.

pendant and ancillary jurisdiction also