Category: Civil Procedure

What is tag jurisdiction?

Tag is the US name for a game children play where one child chases after other children.  The object of the game is for the child to touch  another child.  When he touches the other child he will yell, “Tag!”   “Tag” jurisdiction is a way for a court in one state to consitutionally assert personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant who visits the state where the court presides.  The court will have personal jurisdiction if the defendant is properly served while in the state.  “Properly served” means receiving proper notification of the lawsuit.   For example, let’s say Peter sues Debby in New York.  Debby lives in Florida and New York does not have personal jurisdiction over her.  One day, Debby visits New York.  Peter serves notice on Debby of the lawsuit while she is visiting New York – –  let’s say he hands her a copy of the complaint and the court agrees that handing her the complaint is proper service.  Now the New York court can constitutionally assert jurisdiction over Debby, even if she has no other contact with the state.  This is similar to the game of tag children play because Peter successfully caught up to and “tagged” Debby   Some videos on personal jurisdiction are here.  ...

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Why must the amount in controversy exceed $75,000 before a federal court can assert diversity subject matter jurisdiction?

The short answer to this question is “because Congress said so in 28 USC 1332.” Congress has the power to establish limits on the subject matter jurisdiction of US federal courts.   Congress originally limited federal jurisdiction in diversity cases to lawsuits where the amount in controversy exceeded $500.  Let me admit that I have not studied this in detail but I was taught that this was to protect defendants from having to travel a long distance to federal court to litigate claims where the monetary value of the dispute was very low. But today travel is no longer a major concern.  Congress periodically raises the minimum amount in controversy to help federal courts reduce their caseloads.  If the amount in controversy requirement is too low there will be too many cases in the federal courts.  On the other hand, the amount in controversy requirement should not be so high that federal courts only hear civil cases involving large business...

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