Charles Evans Whittaker Federal Courthouse, KCMO. Voidxor, via Wikimedia Commons.

I took Civ Pro from a giant.

When I say giant, I mean in the figurative sense, because he’s only 5’7″ or so, but this diminutive fellow remains among the most talented and effective teachers I’ve ever had.  He inspired me to wear bow ties, and illustrated the myriad types of joinder with a shopping bag full of beanie babies (I’m not joking).*  I grasped counterclaims and cross claims and third party claims pretty quickly– about the only things I grasped quickly as a 1L– because of an effective teaching tool.Continue Reading Notice pleading, y’all.

Iowa State House, Stephen Matthew Milligan, via Wikimedia Commons.
Iowa State House, Stephen Matthew Milligan, via Wikimedia Commons.

[Update, 2022:  For a more academic view of this issue, see William S. Dodge, Substituted Service and the Hague Service Convention, 63 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1485 (2022).]

Two weeks ago, I posted that you can’t simply serve a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign company & get the parent on the hook in a lawsuit.  For such an idea to work, your state’s public policy has to disregard the corporate veil.  Only one state has done so– and under very limited circumstances.  [That was Illinois, where they did it by statute– that I know of– and where the idea only pertains to Illinois subsidiaries.  That’s how we got Schlunk, the seminal case in Hague Service Convention jurisprudence.  No other state does it, that I know of.]

Another misconception seems to pop up from time to time: the thought that you can serve a foreign* corporation by delivery to the Secretary of State wherever the case is being heard because the Secretary is a statutory agent.  Sorry, but it just ain’t so.  When you do serve via the SoS, ask yourself, “what do they do with it?”Continue Reading You Can’t Simply Serve the Secretary of State

I’m not a fan of arbitration, as a general rule—especially in consumer contracts.*  That said, arbitration is far superior to litigation in many situations, and for many reasons.

In tort, not a good idea.  Certainly not an appropriate venue for a family law dispute. And consumer contracts?  Just… no.  Only the vendor benefits.*  But