Thursday, July 5, 2007

How to Teach Joinder and Supplemental Jurisdiction

First, let me thank Jeremy and Rory for giving me the opportunity to guest blog on Civil Procedure Prof Blog this month. The blogging industry is really changing the way the academy shares ideas, and I am delighted to be a part of it.

It's been a crazy couple of months for civil procedure mavens as the Supreme Court kept issuing important civil procedure decisions. I previously posted some thoughts on Bell Atlantic, Erickson, and Powerex (respectively, here, here, and here), and I would be remiss if I didn't add one on Bowles, which I will do next week. But the term is now over, and, as a breather, I wanted to start with a pedagogical thought raised at the AALS's New Law Teachers Conference last weekend.

A problem that I encountered last year was how to teach supplemental jurisdiction and joinder. Civil procedure is a year long course at my school, and I taught jurisdiction first semester and rules second semester. I found supplemental jurisdiction difficult to teach without explaining some of the joinder rules. And, when joinder rolled around second semester, I had to spend a significant amount of class time reviewing supplemental jurisdiction (and deciding how to answer the repeated question from students, "€œWill jurisdiction material from first semester be covered on the second semester final exam?"€).

Well, at the conference, someone suggested teaching them together, at the end of the course. That struck me as a decent idea. I also wonder if joinder could stay where it naturally belongs and supplemental jurisdiction could just move to be taught as part of joinder. That might not work for those who teach rules first. It also might work better for a semester-long course than for a year-long course.

What do others think?

--Scott Dodson

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I take a compromise approach. I teach the foundations of supplemental jurisdiction as part of subject matter jurisdiction relatively early in the course. The focus is on the cases (Gibbs, Kroger, Finley) with an overview of 1367. For the most part, students find this "preview" fairly understandable. I warn the, however, that we will return to the topic when we cover joinder and particularly to 1367(b) and that some of the elegance will disappear. I then cover supplemental jurisdiction toward the end of the course in the context of joinder and here I address the relationship between joinder and supp jdx, including the decision in Exxon Mobil, and all of the anomalies of 1367(b). The elegant model becomes more complicated (and less elegant), but the students feel a sense of accomplishment since they have taken their understanding to a deeper and more professional level (well, at least some of them).

Allan Ides

Posted by: Allan Ides | Jul 5, 2007 11:16:02 AM

I take an approach something like Allan's. I describe supplemental jurisdiction briefly when I teach subject matter jurisdiction in the fall and then cover it in depth in the spring with the joinder rules. I think it works reasonably well. More generally, I think it helps students to occasionally circle back and take another pass at a topic they studied at an earlier point in the course -- eureka moments sometimes occur.

Posted by: Joan Shaughnessy | Jul 12, 2007 11:40:49 AM

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