Eric M. Fink
Office hours by appointment
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.
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
Introduction to Personal Jurisdiction
U.S. Constitution, Amendments 5 & 14
Casebook, 32-67, 77-85
Subject Matter jurisdiction
Introduction to Subject Matter Jurisdiction
U.S. Constitution, Art. III, § 2
28 U.S.C. § 1332
Federal Question Jurisdiction
28 U.S.C. § 1331
28 U.S.C. § 1367
28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1446, 1447, 1448
Choice of Law
Introduction to Choice of Law
Vertical Choice of Law: Rules of Decision Act
28 U.S.C. § 1652
Vertical Choice of Law: Rules Enabling Act
28 U.S.C. §§ 2072, 2073, 2074
Horizontal Choice of Law
Introduction to Pleadings
FRCP Rules 7-10 Casebook, 275-78
FRCP Rules 8(a), 9(b), 12(b)(6)
Answers & Defenses
FRCP Rule 8(b) & (c) Casebook, 305-12
FRCP Rule 15
Truthfulness & Good Faith in Pleadings
FRCP Rule 11
Introduction to Joinder
FRCP Rules 13, 14, 18, 20, 21
28 U.S.C § 1367
Joinder of Claims
FRCP Rules 13 & 18
Joinder of Parties
FRCP Rules 14, 20, & 21
Casebook, 349-69, 412-13
FRCP Rules 12(d) & 56
Introduction to Preclusion