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Application Questions

Chapter 2 Application Questions

Questions 1 to 3 are based on the video:

1) Assume that Della and Perry’s business is incorporated in Ohio and they do all of their work in Ohio.

a. Can their Indiana client file suit against Della and Perry in Ohio? Fully explain your answer applying the legal principles of in personam jurisdiction.

b. Must their Indiana client come to Ohio to file suit against them, or can the suit be filed in Indiana? Fully explain your answer applying the legal principles of the long arm statute, minimum contacts, and in rem jurisdiction.

c. Can their Indiana client file a suit in federal court? Fully explain your answer applying the legal principles of concurrent federal jurisdiction and diversity of citizenship.

2) Assume that Della and Perry are sued in state court in Ohio.

a. Identify the 3 different written responses they could file after being served with the initial complaint (see page 29.)

b. Identify 3 different forms of discovery the parties can utilize to discover facts from each other in preparation for trial (see pages 30-31.)

c. Explain what will happen at the final pretrial conference.

3) If Della and Perry’s case goes to trial, explain to them

a. The 5 trial steps that will follow, starting with jury selection and ending with the verdict.

b. What would make their case eligible for appeal, if they lose.

c. The 4 possible alternative orders the appellate court can issue upon appeal.

4) Which Court has “jurisdiction” or authority to hear a particular dispute may seem like a complicated question. So let’s look at the different types of trial courts in Ohio.

a. Municipal Courts have personal jurisdiction over parties that have a territorial connection to the boundaries of that court (residents or nonresidents with minimum contacts under a long arm statute.) Municipal Court have subject matter jurisdiction to hear most civil cases, with a few exceptions (such as foreclosures), but the claim cannot exceed $15,000.

b. Common Pleas Courts (county trial courts) have subject matter jurisdiction over any dispute over $500, but not if the subject matter is within the exclusive jurisdiction of another state or federal court (such as Bankruptcy, Divorce or Probate). Common Pleas courts have personal jurisdiction over any Ohio resident. The long arm statutes and rules also give the court personal jurisdiction over any person or business with minimum contacts in Ohio.

c. Federal Courts, (called U.S. District Court) in Ohio have exclusive jurisdiction over a few special subjects, like Bankruptcy, nationwide class actions, and claims against the U.S. government, and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction with Common Pleas Courts for:

i. Federal-question cases (cases involving the U.S. Constitution, U.S. statutes or federal agency rules)

ii. Diversity of citizenship (between citizens of 2 different states) cases if the amount in controversy is in excess of $75,000 (Corporations are citizens of their state of incorporation)

For the following cases, identify which Court or Courts in Ohio (Municipal, Common Pleas or a U.S. District Court in Ohio) have subject matter and personal jurisdiction, and explain why (You may assume that no federal law gives exclusive jurisdiction to federal courts for these cases):

a. A wrongful discharge case filed by an employee working at a local Meijer store in Ohio seeking back pay and punitive damages in the amount of $100,000 from Meijer, Inc. which is incorporated in Michigan.

b. A local realtor from Kettering who was cut out of her commission files suit against another local realtor from Kettering for intentional interference of contract, seeking $12,000.

c. A local building supply company, incorporated in Ohio, sues an individual contractor based in Dayton, for failure to pay on an account with an unpaid balance due of $450.00.

d. A local commercial landlord sues a large chain restaurant, incorporated in Texas, after it vacated its space in a local shopping center with 10 years remaining on its lease, alleging it owes $500,000 in unpaid rent to the end of the lease term.

5) Read the case analysis below and identify a) the Plaintiff, b) the Defendant, c) the name of the trial court, d) the name of the Appellate Court, d) how service of process was accomplished on the Defendant, e) the question of law, e) the question of fact, f) the pleading that initiated the lawsuit, and the pleading that terminated the trial court process that allowed the case to be appealed, and g) the disposition of the case.

After Reani immigrated to Ohio from Jamaica, she opened a small restaurant offering Caribbean style food from her native country, but it did not catch on with mid-westerners and failed after less than a year. When Reani’s mother, who speaks no English, was at her house babysitting, she accepts the mail and signs for a certified letter from the Clerk of Courts but she fails to give it to Reani and it gets thrown out. Thirty days later, Reani receives a letter by regular mail from the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, with a document stating that the Court had granted a motion for default judgment and Reani was ordered to pay the sum of $16,000 to Wilhelm Properties, LLC for unpaid rent for her restaurant lease with Wilhelm Properties, LLC. When Reani seeks legal help, an appeal is filed on the issue of proper service of process because the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure require that service be perfected on an adult in the Plaintiff’s residence that is likely to result in actual notice to the Plaintiff. The Second District Court of Appeals finds that service was not proper on the Plaintiff’s mother, who did not reside in the Plaintiff’s home, and could not reasonably be expected to understand the necessity of delivering the certified mail to the Plaintiff, so the case was remanded to the trial court to start over, and to give Reani the opportunity for a trial.

6) Read this article about a lawsuit filed by a corporation against a debt collector who refused to stop calling one of its employees in their effort to collect a debt owed by the employee. http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Whataburger-is-attempting-to-hang-up-on-3811027.php

Discuss whether the suit meets all three “threshold requirements” required by the legal system before a court has authority to accept a case for resolution through litigation.

7) Watch this 2 minute video about a small business, PaceButler, that chose to use Microsoft’s Bing Ad program for its Search Engine Marketing. http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/bing-ads-how-it-works?tab=success&s_cid=us_smb_a_product_success

Then look at this page to discover that Microsoft’s Arbitration and Dispute resolution policy applies to Bing Advertising: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Legal/arbitration/default.aspx

a. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages PaceButler should have considered before agreeing to this mandatory arbitration clause and provide your opinion whether the benefits of working with a large, successful company like Microsoft would outweigh the risk of losing your right to have a dispute resolved by the formal process of court litigation.

b. If you do recommend signing the arbitration agreement, identify at least 5 reasons why alternative dispute resolution programs are favored by most businesses today. If you recommend against it, identify at least five reasons why opponents of mandatory arbitration criticize it, see http://www.fairarbitrationnow.org/problem/

8) Numerous Courts have recently rebuffed challenges to mandatory arbitration clauses, ruling in favor of business’s efforts to reduce their risk of being sued and controlling the venue where disputes will be resolved. (In other words, a person signs a contract with an arbitration agreement, and then asks the court to ignore the arbitration agreement because it is unfair or unconscionable. Instead, the court finds that the arbitration agreement is fair, and that it is ok for a business to require arbitration.) See this example: http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/2013/07/new-9th-circuit-decision-underscores-federal-arbitration-acts-impact-on-access-to-the-courts.html

Explain what steps must be taken to appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, including how this case might fit into one of the four categories of cases accepted for review by the Court.

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