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Civil Litigation and Federal Courts

In this assignment, we will define jurisdiction, answer the questions on what bases could a private dispute be decided in Federal Court and what is the result of a Motion to Dismiss if the moving party is successful? We will then define enforcing a judgment and discuss how alternative dispute resolution (ADR) compares to Civil Litigation.

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Define Jurisdiction

The meaning of jurisdiction is the power of courts to try cases and rule on legal matters within their geographic area. Jurisdiction can also be applied to different types of legal cases that are enforceable by the law or the constitution (Hill, G., & Hill, K. (n.d.).  Based off of this definition, determining the jurisdiction of a case is vital because this determines which court will try the case in their area based off of the right set of applicable laws. The Cornell Law school website states that the authority for a particular court to exercise jurisdiction is granted by the constitution or by the laws of that particular state (Staff, L. (2007, August 06).

When determining whether a court has the power to try a certain case, the situation can be broken down in three elements; (1) determining if the court can hear a certain individual’s case by having personal jurisdiction. (2) determining whether the court can preside over the subject matter of the case. (3) whether the court has the power to make an enforceable decision on the case. State courts have jurisdiction over matters that happen in state; they can try cases within the limits granted by state legislation. For example, some states can only preside over cases that involve individuals from that state. When states try cases by citizens of their states they have to fulfill the territorial jurisdiction requirements. Federal courts most of the time have jurisdiction that is restricted by laws. In the case of Superior Courts, District Courts, and County Courts they have control of matters such as lawsuits, matters involving large sums of money and matters of domestic relations, divorce, deceased persons’ estate, guardianships, and felony trials. Superior courts also have appellate jurisdiction which gives them the mandate to correct any mistakes made by a junior court. (Jurisdiction over the Subject Matter of the Action (Subject Matter Jurisdiction). (n.d.).

On what bases could a private dispute be decided in Federal Court?

A private dispute may be decided in Federal Court on the bases that there’s a contravention of Federal Law along with diversity jurisdiction. “For diversity jurisdiction to be exerted two requirements must be fulfilled: (1) the plaintiff and defendant must be citizens of different states; and (2) the amount in controversy must be greater than $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs” (Jurisdiction over the Subject Matter of the Action (Subject Matter Jurisdiction). (n.d.). To have complete jurisdiction over a case, a federal trial court must have jurisdictions over both the parties or things (personal jurisdiction) and jurisdiction over the subject matter. This rule applies to every cause of action and every party in a case. An example of this would be if the court has the jurisdiction for charges one through seven of a case, as well as a counterclaim, a cross claim or impleader, but the court is missing subject matter jurisdiction over count eight, then the court can not hear count eight (Jurisdiction over the Subject Matter of the Action (Subject Matter Jurisdiction (n.d.).

What is the result of a Motion to dismiss if the moving party is successful?

A motion for dismissal is an application in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution filed by a defendant asking the judge to rule that the plaintiff or the prosecution has not and cannot prove its case (Pre-trial Motions Practice. (n.d.). This is a common pre-trial move by the defendant that allows for the dismissal of a case before it is properly heard in court. This motion is most often made after the plaintiff or prosecutor has presented all the evidence they have. They can make it to the end of the evidence presentation but it has to be before the judgment, or upon evidence being presented. They have to prove to the judge, why the case should not be thrown out. This motion, is usually given orally and the arguments are made in the judge’s chambers so the jury does not get to hear these types of motions. If the moving party is successful, the case or claim is thrown out and cannot be used at the trial of the legal matter. According to Pre-trial Motions Practice “By filing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted means, the moving party is asking the court to dismiss the complaint because the allegations contained within the complaint do not form any legally cognizable claim” (Pre-trial Motions Practice. (n.d.). In other words, even if all the plaintiff’s claims are true, there is no relief that the court is empowered to give to the plaintiff (Pre-trial Motions Practice. (n.d.). Some scenarios where motions to dismiss can arise would be when the court is violating jurisdiction by hearing the case. Its at the wrong venue, or when the plaintiff fails to state a claim accurately and there is a dispute concerning the involvement of all the parties in the case to be able to reach a fair judgment.

Define Enforcing a Judgment

A Judgment can be executed in number of ways depending on the nature of the case. In criminal law, a judgment is upheld by the government. One of the most common judgments in a criminal matter is the sentence of time in jail, which government authorities enforce. There are many different types of judgments like defendants ordered to pay a fine, put on probation, or they can be sent to jail. In civil law, one party enforces the judgment against the other party. When a party in a lawsuit does not comply with the judgment handed down by the courts, it is left up to the other party to seek relief (What Is Judgment Enforcement? (n.d.). If you have won your Case and obtained a Judgment against the defendant, the Court will then write to the defendant ordering him or her to pay you the amount owed in the judgment. The plaintiff can also seek help from law enforcement to help ensure that the defendant complies.

How does ADR compare to Civil Litigation?

Litigation is the process by which a case by a plaintiff against a defendant is heard before a judge in court. ADR is a series of substitute methods for conflict resolution other than court based adjudication” (Schroeder, P. (n.d.). ADR means “alternative dispute resolution” and encompasses many alternatives to litigation of civil disputes, of which mediation and arbitration are the best-known examples. ADR usually works to the advantage of the party seeking the ADR because a contract has been breached or because the company wants to save money and time on a particular issue. Civil litigation is an actual lawsuit and requires time and money for researching their legal issue with the end result being a judgment in their favor. Sometimes a judges recommend ADR to save time and money through prosecution. The judgments from the ADR processes are both binding and enforceable. When comparing the ADR process against the litigation process, we find that litigation costs more money, is slower and more tedious due to the large volume of cases awaiting trial. Therefore for some lawsuits, ADR is not only efficient but the most effective process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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