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Civil Litigation and Federal Courts

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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.

Define Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is the power a court has to try cases and rule on legal matters within a particular geographic area and/or over certain types of legal cases enforceable by law or the constitution (Hill, G., & Hill, K. (n.d.). Based off of this definition, determining the jurisdiction of a case seems vital because this would determine which court would try the case. 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 state. When determining whether a court has the power to try a certain case, the situation can be broken down in three elements; determining if the court can hear a particular individual’s case (personal jurisdiction), determining whether the court can preside over the subject matter and whether the court has the power to make a 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 intend to try cases by citizens of other states they have to fulfill territorial jurisdiction requirements. Most of the time federal courts have jurisdiction that is restricted or confined by laws. Superior Courts or District or County Courts have control of lawsuits for large sums of money and matters of domestic relations which are things like divorce, estates of deceased persons, guardianships, and felony trials. Superior courts also have appellate jurisdiction which gives them the mandate to rectify any mistakes made by a junior court.

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

A private dispute may be decided in Federal Court if 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 both jurisdictions over 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. For example, if the court has the requisite jurisdiction for counts one through seven of a complaint, counterclaim, cross claim or impleader, but is lacking subject matter jurisdiction over count eight, the court may 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. It is a common pre-trial move by the defendant that allows 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 before judgment, or upon evidence being presented they have to prove to the judge why the case should not be thrown out.This is usually an oral motion, and arguments are made in private in the judge’s chambers, the jury does not get to hear this motion. If the moving party is successful the case or claim is thrown out and cannot be used at the trial of the legal issue.

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. In other words, the movant is asserting that even if all the plaintiff’s claims were true, there is no relief that the court would be empowered to grant to the plaintiff” (Pre-trial Motions Practice. (n.d.). Motions to dismiss arise when the court is violating jurisdiction by hearing the case, wrong venue, when the plaintiff fails to accurately state a claim or when there is a dispute concerning the inclusion of all necessary parties in the case to facilitate a fair judgment.

Define Enforcing a Judgment

Judgment can be executed in number of ways depending on the nature of the case. In criminal law, a judgment is enforced by the government. The judgment in a criminal matter often results in the imposition of a jail sentence or other penalty, which government authorities will themselves enforce. Defendants can be ordered to pay a fine, put on probation, or sent to jail. However, in civil law, one party is left to enforce judgment against the party that the judgment has been entered against. When one party to a lawsuit does not comply with the judgment issued by the court, it is up to the other party to seek relief; that is, actually obtain the judgment as ruled by the court” (What Is Judgment Enforcement? (n.d.). If you have won your Case and obtained a Judgment against the defendant, the Court will write to the defendant ordering him or her to pay you the amount owed. The plaintiff can seek help from the law enforcement to facilitate compliance by the defendant.

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 or such has been breached or because the company wants to save money and not lose time on a particular issue. Whereas with civil litigation is an actual lawsuit and requires one to devote time and money to researching and their legal issues solved in their favor. Sometimes a judge may recommend ADR to save the court time and money through prosecution. The judgments from the ADR processes are 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 more effective process.

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