Civil Procedure

Civil Procedure

Prof. Eric M. Fink

Elon Law School

Civil Procedure

Eric M. Fink
Office hours by appointment

Fall 2017
Room 204
Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays, 1:30 – 3:15 pm


In this course, you will learn about the procedures for civil suits. You will also learn how to understand and use primary legal texts (constitutions, statutes, rules, & judicial opinions) as tools for addressing legal problems. While the course will focus on federal courts, the rules of civil procedure in many states (including North Carolina) are similar.

Topics to be covered include the selection of an appropriate forum (personal & subject-matter jurisdiction), the scope of a lawsuit (joinder of parties & claims), the presentation of claims and defenses (pleadings), disposition without a trial (dismissal & summary judgment), the choice of applicable law (Erie doctrine), and the effect of judgments on future litigation (claim and issue preclusion). Other aspects of civil litigation (e.g., discovery, trials, & appeals) are covered in upper-level courses.

Requirements & Grading

I expect you to read the assigned material thoroughly before class, attend each class meeting, and participate actively in class.

Your final grade for the term will be based on your in-class performance (20%), a take-home midterm assignment (20%), and a closed-book final exam (60%).

Excessive absences (3 or more classes), persistent lack of preparation, or inattention during class (including but not limited to inappropriate use of computers or electronic devices) may result in a reduction of your grade.

Elon Law School has adopted the following attendance policy for all courses:

The Law School administers a policy that a student maintain regular and punctual class attendance in all courses in which the student is registered, including externships, clinical courses, or simulation courses. Faculty members will give students written notice of their attendance policies before or during the first week of class. These policies may include, but are not limited to: treating late arrivals, early departures, and/or lack of preparation as absences; imposing grade or point reductions for absences, including assigning a failing grade or involuntarily withdrawing a student from the class; and any other policies that a professor deems appropriate to create a rigorous and professional classroom environment.

In case of illness or emergency, students may contact the Office of Student and Professional Life, which will then notify the student’s instructors. A student may notify the faculty member directly of a planned absence and should refer to individual faculty members regarding any policy that may apply. In the case of prolonged illness or incapacity, the student should contact the Office of Student and Professional Life.

The Law School honor code applies to all activities related to your law school study, including but not limited to conduct during class and examinations.

Course Materials

Gerald Hess, et al, Civil Procedure: A Context & Practice Casebook (2015)

Subject outlines, visual aids, practice problems, and links to statutes, rules, and other resources are available on the course website:

Outline & Reading Assignments

Introduction & Overview

Casebook, Chapter 1

Personal Jurisdiction

Introduction to Personal Jurisdiction

U.S. Constitution, Amendments 5 & 14

Casebook, 21-32

Minimum Contacts

Casebook, 32-67, 77-85

General Jurisdiction

Casebook, 67-77

Subject Matter jurisdiction

Introduction to Subject Matter Jurisdiction

U.S. Constitution, Art. III, § 2

Casebook, 125-28

Diversity Jurisdiction

28 U.S.C. § 1332

Casebook, 128-46

Federal Question Jurisdiction

28 U.S.C. § 1331

Casebook, 147-68

Supplemental Jurisdiction

28 U.S.C. § 1367

Casebook, 168-80


28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1446, 1447, 1448

Casebook, 180-83

Choice of Law

Introduction to Choice of Law

Casebook, 221-24

Vertical Choice of Law: Rules of Decision Act

28 U.S.C. § 1652

Casebook, 224-33

Vertical Choice of Law: Rules Enabling Act

28 U.S.C. §§ 2072, 2073, 2074

Casebook, 233-61

Horizontal Choice of Law

Casebook, 262-74


Introduction to Pleadings

FRCP Rules 7-10 Casebook, 275-78


FRCP Rules 8(a), 9(b), 12(b)(6)

Casebook, 278-305

Answers & Defenses

FRCP Rule 8(b) & (c) Casebook, 305-12

Amended Pleadings

FRCP Rule 15

Casebook, 312-23

Truthfulness & Good Faith in Pleadings

FRCP Rule 11

Casebook, 323-35


Introduction to Joinder

FRCP Rules 13, 14, 18, 20, 21

28 U.S.C § 1367

Casebook, 337-42

Joinder of Claims

FRCP Rules 13 & 18

Casebook, 342-49

Joinder of Parties

FRCP Rules 14, 20, & 21

Casebook, 349-69, 412-13

Summary Judgment

FRCP Rules 12(d) & 56

Casebook, 508-31


Introduction to Preclusion

Casebook, 639-41

Claim Preclusion

Casebook, 641-56

Issue Preclusion

Casebook, 656-77