This course will introduce students to the structure and operation of civil litigation in federal courts. The term civil as used here distinguishes this course from criminal procedure. The civil litigation processes we will study involve lawsuits in which the parties seek civil remedies, such as compensatory or punitive damages, injunctive relief, or a declaratory judgement. The term procedure refers to the statutes, rules, and judicial doctrines governing the process of litigation rather than the substantive principles underlying the claims and defenses in litigation.
The course will cover a range of topics relating to the structure of litigation and dispute resolution. These include the meaning of the constitutional guarantee of due process, notice, and opportunity to be heard; jurisdiction (or judicial power) over the parties and the subject-matter of litigation; venue and forum non conveniens; rules governing the content of pleadings and the scope of litigation; attorneys' duties of honesty and reasonable investigation in litigation; discovery of factual information during litigation; summary judgment and other mechanisms for dispositution of cases; doctrines of finality and preclusion; and alternative methods of dispute resolution.
Civil Procedure: Doctrine, Practice, and Context, Fouth Edition by Stephen N. Subrin, Martha L. Minow, Mark S. Brodin, Thomas O. Main, and Alexandra Lahav
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, most recent edition
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