Lessons: Civil Procedure

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

This exercise is designed to help train beginning students in the analysis of judicial opinions. The student is asked to agree or disagree with assertions about a diversity jurisdiction case (Baker v. Keck). The computer responds to the student’s answers by evaluating them or asking further questions.

1.5 hours
CIV05

These lessons have been temporaily removed for revisions. Thank you for your patience. CALI


Effective December 1, 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to reflect changes in discovery resulting from the electronic storage of information. CALI's lessons do not yet reflect these amendments. As each lesson is revised to reflect the amended rules, the lesson's catalog description will be updated to enable students and faculty to easily tell which lessons include the amended rules.

This game introduces students to pre-trial discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The discovery issues arise from the mass tort litigation begun in the aftermath of the Buffalo Creek flooding disaster of 1972. This game assumes the jurisdiction has not opted-out of the Rule 26 initial and pre-trial disclosure requirements.

In addition to problems about legal entitlement to discovery, the game asks players about their obligations to disclose information without awaiting a discovery request from their opponents. In many questions, after a description of potential items for disclosure or discovery, the player in possession of the information is asked if he or she wants to disclose it. Next, the receiving player is asked if he or she wants to seek discovery of the information in questions or additional information. Attorneys must decide whether the rules require disclosure of the items in question; whether to resist discovery; and must provide reasons for failing to disclose or resisting a discovery request. The computer plays the roles of the clerk of the court (to file motions) and Judge K. K. Hall (to rule on the motions and offer observations about the player’s performance). Players must also consider time, the cost of discovery litigation, the cost of compliance with requests, and their reputations.

1.5 hours
CIV15

This lesson is intended to be used as both an introduction to Child Custody Jurisdiction and as a review for students who have already studied the material.

1 hour
FAM10

This lesson tries to explain Coasean irrelevance (which is often known as the "Coase Theorem").

45 minutes to 3 hours
LCS02

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

The student is given sets of pleadings in civil cases and asked to identify issues that would be raised on a demurrer or motion for judgment on the pleadings. Although the case is set in a hypothetical code pleading state, the exercise also deals with motions to dismiss or for judgment on the pleadings under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The background reading contains all the information about code pleading that the student needs to know in order to do the exercise.

1 hour
CIV02

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

The student is presented with a hypothetical defamation case and instructed to compose a complaint for a diversity action in federal court. The student is told that the complaint must be drafted so that it would completely satisfy even the most punctilious judge. The student composes the complaint by choosing from a menu of paragraphs contained in the Park and McFarland computer booklet. The computer asks the student to explain the grounds upon which rejected paragraphs were not used. The student explains by choosing from a multiple choice format, and the computer responds by asking further questions or by criticizing the student’s answer. The exercise requires the student to compose a complaint which pleads grounds for jurisdiction and the elements of the claim at a proper level of generality, while avoiding superfluity or violation of Rule 11.

2 hours
CIV01

This exercise gives a basic overview of the types of equitable remedies. You need not have read any particular materials or taken any particular law school courses in order to complete the tutorial. It can be used to provide background in your courses where equity is especially relevant or to review the types of equitable remedies for use in a remedies course. The lesson will not examine doctrines of substantive equity (other than to note their existence) nor will the lesson explore the prerequisites for obtaining, defending against, or enforcing equitable remedies. Rather, the lesson is designed to introduce you to the basic vocabulary of equitable remedies.

45 minutes
REM02

The Erie Doctrine has befuddled Civil Procedure students for decades, but this lesson will take you through the basics: Why is there an Erie Doctrine? When does it apply? How does it apply? How do you tell the difference between substantive and procedural law?

30-45 minutes
CIV22

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

This exercise has two purposes. The first is to engage students actively in legal analysis. Hence, the exercise contains some difficult questions that require careful thought. The second is to provide a survey of the rules of evidence in order to give students a deeper understanding of other subjects studied in Civil Procedure courses.

2.5 hours
CIV06

Effective December 1, 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to reflect changes in discovery resulting from the electronic storage of information. CALI's lessons do not yet reflect these amendments. As each lesson is revised to reflect the amended rules, the lesson's catalog description will be updated to enable students and faculty to easily tell which lessons include the amended rules.

As its name implies, this lesson is designed to give the student an introduction to the subject of interpleader. The lesson briefly describes the concept of interpleader and some of the historical limitations on the remedy, but its focus is on interpleader under the federal statute and Rule 22. The lesson introduces the various procedural issues involved—such as subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction and venue—and highlights the differences between statutory and rule interpleader on these subjects. The lesson also contains a segment on the problem presented in State Farm v. Tashire—enjoining other pending actions. The lesson requires the student to use the relevant statutes and rules, which are included in the lesson.

2 hours
CIV21

This exercise is designed to help students learn the principles of joinder under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It is designed to be used in different ways. Students may use it as a tutorial to accompany assigned readings, as a supplement to reinforce concepts discussed in class, or as a review before exams. The tutorial is interactive, requiring the student to respond to various questions and hypotheticals to learn the principles embodied in the rules. It does not assume any specific knowledge of the joinder rules - it is designed to teach the rules from scratch.

The exercise uses hypertext links between various parts of the tutorial. These links offer students options in navigating through the lesson so they are not forced to follow a particular order. The user is the master of the organization. All of the rules and statutes that are needed are available as part of the lesson and may be viewed at any time by selecting an on-screen button.

The lesson includes units on a variety of joinder topics: Claim Joinder (Rule 18); Party Joinder (Rule 20); Counterclaims; Cross-claims; Third-Party Claims (Rule 14); Compulsory Joinder (Rule 19); and Intervention (Rule 24). It also contains an extensive unit devoted to the Subject Matter Jurisdiction problems raised by these rules. Finally, there is a review unit to allow the user to apply the principles learned in the lesson. The exercise is not tied to the organization of any particular civil procedure text.

20-45 minutes for each section, 4.75 hours
CIV18

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

Students are asked to analyze and synthesize three federal cases on directed verdicts, answering questions about the standards set forth in the cases.

2 hours
CIV04

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

The student is asked, in this exercise, to answer questions about whether a hypothetical action could be brought in various fora.

This exercise is designed primarily to give basic instruction on statutes relating to diversity jurisdiction, removal, venue, and personal jurisdiction. However, the exercise also requires the student to interpret two diversity jurisdiction cases that deal with change of citizenship by acquisition of a new domicile.

Everything the student needs to know for the exercise is contained in the exercise; so the exercise can be assigned prior to reaching the subject in class, with a view toward allowing class discussion to begin at a higher level.

2 hours
CIV03

This exercise was substantially revised in 2012 and is designed for a student who has already read most of the material on personal jurisdiction in a typical first year civil procedure course. The topics covered include: the "minimum contacts" test as a measure of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, the interpretation and application of typical longarm statutes, the interplay of statutory interpretation with the constitutional requirements, the difference between "specific" and "general" jurisdiction, the extent to which a defendant may contractually waive jurisdiction protections, an exploration of the different ways in which the jurisdictional rules apply depending on whether the defendant is an individual or a corporation, and the continued viability of the concept of "transient" jurisdiction.

The above topics are explored through a series of hypotheticals, beginning with an extended variation on the facts of International Shoe. The two predominant jurisdictional statutes used in the exercise are the Uniform Interstate and International Procedure Act and the Rhode Island (California) statute which extends jurisdiction to the limits of the Due Process Clause. At appropriate points in the exercise students are able to refer back to the introductory fact situations, the Uniform Act, a list of important citations and previous related questions. The exercise is divided into three parts, so that one part can be conveniently done at a sitting.

1.5 hours
CIV19

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

This exercise is in three parts. First, the student surveys the basic law of preclusion (both claim preclusion and issue preclusion) to test and to solidify understanding of the area. The questions explore the elements of the doctrines, such as the requirements of a final judgment and necessary decision of an issue, as applied to various fact situations. Hypertext is available at all times for quick review or checking of the elements. The second part of the exercise becomes more complex as it turns to heavy emphasis on the policies behind issue preclusion. The student analyzes each fact situation from two perspectives: Blackletter Bart, who takes a rule-bound approach to issue preclusion, and Functional Felicia, who takes a policy-oriented approach to issue preclusion. Third, the student answers questions developing the abandonment by the courts of the requirement of mutuality for issue preclusion. Both defensive collateral estoppel and offensive collateral estoppel, from the perspectives of both the plaintiff and the defendant, are analyzed.

1.5 hours
CIV17

Effective December 1, 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to reflect changes in discovery resulting from the electronic storage of information. CALI's lessons do not yet reflect these amendments. As each lesson is revised to reflect the amended rules, the lesson's catalog description will be updated to enable students and faculty to easily tell which lessons include the amended rules.

This lesson is intended to allow students to review joinder of claims and parties under the Federal Rules. The exercise uses a construction project litigation as the basis for the questions. The litigation grows gradually, adding claims and parties along the way. At each step, the student is asked questions about the propriety of joining the claim and/or the party.

The lesson does not always give a direct response to the student’s answer to the question. In many cases, the student is led through further inquiries to test the basis of the initial response.

30 minutes
CIV11

This lesson introduces the student to the doctrine and processes involved in interpreting state and federal statutes. Statutes are a critical part of every substantive area of the law, so this is important background for every law student, lawyer and judge.

30 minutes
LCS03

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

The student is asked to decide summary judgment motions on a claim for defamation and a counterclaim for battery. After requiring the student to explore and apply the fundamental concepts of summary judgment, such as what constitutes a genuine issue, the exercise moves into more difficult problems based on court interpretations of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56.

1 hour
CIV13

This lesson covers the basics of both spousal and child support jurisdiction. It is intended as an introduction to the materials and it can also be used for review.

1 hour
FAM02

This lesson addresses the enforcement provisions of the child custody jurisdiction statutes. It also addresses the international aspects of child custody enforcement. The lesson should be worked after completing the lesson on Child Custody Jurisdiction.

The lesson assumes that the student is familiar with the provisions of the UCCJA, the PKPA, and the UCCJEA, but does not assume knowledge of the enforcement provisions of these statutes. The lesson does not assume that the student has a great deal of exposure to the international aspects of this issue, other than perhaps a brief overview of the Hague Convention and the International Parental Kidnapping Act.

45 minutes
FAM25

This lesson has been revised to reflect the December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were re-written effective December 1, 2007.

Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that certain defenses, including lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim, can at the pleader’s option be brought by motion prior to filing a responsive pleading. It also provides that certain of these defenses are waived if they are not asserted in the proper fashion. This exercise deals with the reasons for special treatment of those defenses and analysis of the waiver provisions of the rule. It provides practice in close scrutiny and interpretation of a complex set of interrelated provisions.

1 hour
CIV09

This lesson is available only in a non-standard lesson format. As CALI updates the format of this lesson, we will continue to make this lesson available to you and your students in its current form because we believe it still has educational value. While this lesson still, essentially, runs as intended, there are potential technical problems: 

  1. there is no way to print the score certificate standard in most CALI lessons; 
  2. there is no ScoreSave feature and, thus, it is incompatible with LessonLink; and 
  3. the built-in save feature has been disabled. It was unreliable and did not work as the lesson lead students to believe.

Because of these printing and saving complications, if you assign or suggest this lesson, we highly recommend you not require any sort of proof of completion from your students.

Effective December 1, 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to reflect changes in discovery resulting from the electronic storage of information. CALI's lessons do not yet reflect these amendments. As each lesson is revised to reflect the amended rules, the lesson's catalog description will be updated to enable students and faculty to easily tell which lessons include the amended rules.

This game is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of the discovery process. It is based on the acclaimed book "A Civil Action," by Jonathan Harr, and draws its problems from the litigation arising out of the contamination of the Aberjona aquifer in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Woburn provides students with a unique opportunity to acquaint themselves with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery in the context of a concrete, real-life case. Assuming the roles of plaintiffs' and defendants' attorneys, the players alternate making decisions about when and how to disclose or request discovery of certain pieces of information, as well as when to cooperate with and when to oppose their opponent's discovery efforts. The simulation is highly interactive, with the computer taking the role of Judge Skinner, who occasionally intervenes to rule on discovery motions.

The thirteen problem sets included with Woburn cover a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Mandatory initial and supplemental disclosure requirements;
  • Proper use of various methods of discovery (subpoenas, interrogatories, depositions, requests for document production, medical examinations, requests for admission);
  • Expert witness reports;
  • Work product and privilege defenses;
  • Cost-shifting for discovery activities;
  • Attorney's fees awards; and
  • Sanctions for conduct in violation of the rules.

Woburn will teach students the details of the rules. It will also illuminate the strategic dimensions of discovery. While pursuing their discovery efforts within the context of the rules, the players are forced to think strategically about the costs of various discovery activities, time constraints, and their reputation with the judge, jury, and the legal community at large. Frivolous motions are punished by a loss of reputation; time-consuming document requests may exhaust a player's financial resources. The need to juggle these non-legal factors brings the rules to life, showing the student how particular rules affect attorneys' decision-making processes in concrete situations.

The game is to be played out of class, on the student's own schedule. At the end the students will have internalized the structure and dynamics of the discovery rules, and be ready to discuss the more conceptual or policy-oriented issues in class.

This new, internet-based interface makes Woburn easily accessible and easy to play. On-screen reports let the players know at all times how their discovery efforts are progressing, and pictures of the actual persons involved in the trial as well as of the contamination site, court documents, and so forth, further heighten the impact of the game.

1.5 hours
CIV20

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