Friday, December 22, 2017

Civil Procedure Overview

Welcome to Civil Procedure.

This short video was done by a graduate of Indiana-Indianapolis and is posted here with his permission. This provides a succinct overview of everything you are going to learn over the next 14 weeks. You may not understand any of this now. But I promise that when you rewatch it at the end of the semester, you will know and understand everything in it.

Also, you should begin to get a general sense of the structure of the two judicial systems with which we will deal this semester: the United States and state courts, with Florida as an example. This map shows the basic set-up of the federal judiciary: one Supreme Court of the United States, 12 regional Circuit Courts of Appeals, each consisting of multiple districts within states (plus the Federal Circuit, which hears appeals in patent matters and claims against the federal government); 94 District (trial) Courts, each state having at least one district, many states with multiple districts, and no district crossing state lines. This site provides a good overview of the Florida judicial system of one Supreme Court of Florida, 5 District Courts of Appeal, 20 Circuit Courts (for larger trial matters), and 67 County (Courts (one for each county, for smaller trial matters). Please learn to call courts by their proper names. The appellate courts in the federal system are Courts of Appeals, while in Florida they are Courts of Appeal.

Finally, I have assigned two recent Year-End Reports of the Federal Judiciary, written by Chief Justice Roberts, which offer a nice overview to what we will be dealing with. For the 2015 Year-End Report, focus on pp. 1-6 and 10-12; this introduces the federal judicial system and an explanation for the statutes and rules we'll be looking at. For the 2016 Year-End Report, read the whole thing; it offers a good overview on the work of federal district (trial-court) judges, which is where we will focus. Also look at the workload reports in the Appendix.

Enjoy. See you on January 8.

Civil Procedure Blog

Welcome to Civil Procedure and the Civil Procedure Blog. This will be the primary means of communicating assignments, questions, comments, stories, and other information between class meetings.It also is a forum for you all to bring forward questions, comments, and other Civ-Pro-related stuff. The purposes and uses of the blog are discussed in the Syllabus.

To read the blog, go to; posts can be read from most to least recent. To post to the blog, go to; log-in with username and password.

Everyone must register as an author. To register, please send an email to me ( In the subject line, type "Civ Pro Registration;" in the body, be sure to include your name and your email address. You will receive an "Invitation" email, inviting you to register. Follow the steps listed. Please register under your full name (first and last); no handles or user names. When you register, you also will learn how to draft posts, provide links to sites, post files, etc.

Course Materials and First-Week Assignments

Welcome to Spring Semester and Civil Procedure.

The first meeting of Section A is 10:30 a.m., Monday, January 8. The first meeting of Section B is 2 p.m., Monday, January 8.

Prior to the first class, please download and review the Syllabus, EssayInformation, and OptionalCreative Project (also available from the right side of the blog (under Course Materials)). This provides important information about class structure, reading assignments, preparing for class, and assessment, as well as your main in-semester writing assignments. You should bring the Syllabus (particularly the list of assignments) with you to every class.

Changes to Class Schedule: Please note the following:

• No class on Monday, January 15 (MLK Day)
• No class on Friday, March 9 (to be made up)

Name Cards:

At our first class meeting, there will be a stack of name cards on the table in the front of the classroom. Please find the card with your name on it and place it in front of you at your seat. You must keep that card and have it with you for every class. 

Technology and Class Conduct: 
Use of laptops, tablets, book readers, smart phones, and similar devices during class is prohibited.

You must be in class on time, unless I have previously given you permission to come late. You may not enter the room once class has begun, unless I have given you permission to come late. Once class has begun, you must remain in your seat, unless I have given you permission to leave during class. In all cases, permission will be freely given when appropriate.

Required Course Materials:

1) Linda S. Mullenix, Leading Cases In Civil Procedure (West 3d ed. 2016)
2) Joseph Glannon, The Glannon Guide to Civil Procedure (Wolters-Kluwer 3d ed. 2013)
3) Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure (2017 ed.) (Compiled By Kevin M. Clermont)
   Note: Yes, you must purchase and use the most recent version of the rules
4) Civil Procedure Blog: (indicated in syllabus)

First Class Assignments: For the first class (from the Syllabus)

Introduction to Civil Procedure:                                                                       
   U.S. Const. art. III
   U.S. Const. amend. V, VII, XIV
   Fed. R. Civ. P. 1, 58, 60, 83
   28 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1332
   28 U.S.C. §§ 1291, 1254
   28 U.S.C. §§ 2071-2074

   Sample Pleadings:
   Naruto v. Slater (Complaint) (Blog)
   Godin v. School Union # 134 (Blog)
   Morgan v. Wal-Mart (Blog)
   Visions of America v. Boston Symphony Orchestra (Blog)

   Other Reading First Class: See other Blog posts.

Questions to Consider:
   • What is "procedure" or "procedural law"? What is the complementary or opposing concept to procedure?
   • What is the "law" at issue in the four Complaints?
   • What values or goals should a system of procedure achieve? What do we want from a set of procedural rules? 
   • What does the concept of "jurisdiction" mean? Consider the meanings and differences in the following pairs: Original v. Appellate Jurisdiction; Exclusive v. Concurrent Jurisdiction; General v. Limited Jurisdiction