Determining the difference between personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction will help to determine which location a lawsuit should be filed in. Defining interstate commerce and which level of government has the right to place restrictions on the commerce is important when discussing a lawsuit. Understanding how lawsuits work as well as what lawyers will try to introduce within the court will allow the defendant to be able to better predict the outcome of the lawsuit.
Personal jurisdiction also known as personam jurisdiction is the courts authority over the parties involved in the dispute (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p59). Personal jurisdiction, defined in this manner, the parties involved can be a business or an individual. It is the courts responsibility to determine fairness to all parties involved while complying with the laws of the federal constitutional requirements. The court determines personal jurisdiction over a party who lives in another state by a state long-arm statute.
The court must determine if the out of state defendant, transacts business in the other state, commits a negligent act which leads to a loss to the other party, or owns property within the state (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p61). The court will look at Truckers lawsuit to determine if the State of Confusion’s statute causes a loss to Trucker’s business. The injurious effect will be taken into consideration at the lower courts level. Does the statute of the State of Confusion cause an injurious effect on the Tanya Trucker a resident of the State of Denial? Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Subject matter jurisdiction is the courts authority over the dispute between the two parties (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p59). State courts are who handle any matter involving state statues, state common law or a state constitutional issue (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p60). The federal court will only hear matters in which arise from a federal statute or regulation, federal common law, or an issue with the U.S. Constitution. Federal courts may also hear matters when the parties involved are from two different states or if the monetary amount is greater than $75,000 (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p 60). The federal government will only provide a ruling based on state law if the diversity of citizenship is used. Both subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction must be satisfied before the federal court will be able to hear the case.
In Tanya Truckers case against the State of Confusion the trial should be held in the federal courts within the State of Denial. The basis for this belief is because the matter between the State of Denial and Tanya Trucker is the nonresident (Trucker) is alleging loss to her business by the State of Confusion, therefore, the federal court within the State of Denial will hear the case but base the decision on the State of Confusions state statute as well as follow the Commerce Powers as defined by the US Constitution.
Tanya Truckers attorneys will argue the State of Confusion has passed statues which attempt to regulate interstate commerce. The statue states all B-type truck hitches are required on all trucks which pass through the State of Confusion or the State requires the truck without the hitch to go around the State of Confusion therefore limiting the interstate commerce.
This statue directly effects the Commerce clause of the US Constitution.
The State of Confusion will argue the statue does not provide discriminatory laws on out of state business, the statue is a legitimate effort to regulate health, safety, and welfare (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p35). The State of Confusion will further argue the statue allows for the safety of the B-type hitches allows the fellow commuters on the highway protection because of the safety of the hitch which is installed. The hitch will prevent accidents to other motorists on the highway. The statue allows the state to protect the commerce on the highway by requiring the hitch be installed on all vehicles which pass through the state.
The research presented allows me to conclude the court will side in favor of Tanya Trucker. The State of Confusion is discriminating against all trucks and towing trailers by forcing them to use a specific hitch or not pass through their state. This statue is in clear violation of the Commerce Clause set forth in the US Constitution.
Stages of a Civil Suit
In order to know the stages of a civil litigation it is important to know the definition of what civil litigation is. Civil litigation is a dispute resolution process where the parties and their counsel argue their view of a civil (noncriminal) controversy in a court of law (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p78). The stages of a civil litigation can overlap at times causing the stages to become blurred however, the stages help to allow the parties involved to understand the process and make sure a clear and concise resolution or ruling has been made. The stages of a civil litigation are, prelawsuit, standing, complaint and summons, answer, counterclaim, motions, discovery, pretrial conference, and trial. Following these stages and going through each stage completely allows for an unbiased verdict either by judge or jury.
Prelawsuit is an informal demand from one party to another. Prelawsuit allows for the parties or their attorneys to get together and discuss the issue. Prelawsuit is each party’s way of letting each other know what their demands are before a formal lawsuit is filed. This first step can help to resolve a number of issues before the costly issue of suit follows.
Standing is one party asserting a claim they have suffered an injury if fact, harm that is direct, concrete, and individualized, and articulates what legal redress exists to compensate for the injury (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p79-80). The standing formally tells the other party exactly what their conduct is doing to the economic interest of the business.
Complaint and Summons
The complaint and summons stage is also known as the pleadings stage. If no resolution in the informal stage can be attained then the formal proceeding begin with a complaint and summons. A complaint is the facts of the case in a formal matter which describes the liability and the defenses of the party (Melvin, S.P., 2011 p80). A summons is a formal notification to the defendant that s/he has been named in the lawsuit and informs them that an answer must be filed within a certain period of time (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p80).
An answer is a formal document which addresses each complaint from the defendant. This document usually states what each party agrees to and what each party still disputes. If the answer does not come in a timely matter the other party can be held in default which will allow for the other party to automatically lose the suit.
A counterclaim is a way for the plaintiff to assert a countersuit establishing their credibility and attesting to damages by the defendant for not following the statue. The counterclaim being filed gives the defendant the ball in their court. They must now answer to the countersuit in a timely manner or be held in default.
A motion is a document filed by one party that requests court action in a matter pertaining to the litigation (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p84). A common motion filed in courts is the motion to dismiss.
The discovery stage allows each party to gather evidence to present in the pretrial conference and to be used in the trial. There are many different methods in the discovery stage. Depositions are common in this stage of discovery. Depositions are oral questions asked in front of a witness (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p84).
A pretrial conference’s primary purpose is to encourage each party to agree to a settlement. If a settlement is reached the trial will not proceed. If a settlement is not reached then the parties will appear for the trial. The pretrial conference is usually each party and their respective attorneys appearing before the judge.
A trial as defined by the text The Legal Environment of Business generally takes place in front of a judge as the finder of law and a jury as the finder of fact (Melvin, S.P., 2011, p86). There are many stages to trial such as jury selection and opening, testimony and submission of evidence, closing arguments and charging the jury, deliberations and verdict, posttrial motions and appeals, and collecting the judgment. Trials can lead to a settlement when either party realizes they are found at fault prior to the verdict. A settlement can happen at any stage of the trial proceedings.
Melvin, S. P. (2011). The legal environment of business: A managerial approach: Theory to practice. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
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