Complex Civil Litigation (30198). 2 units. This course will focus principally on the issues that can impact the outcome of complex civil cases. Emphasis will be placed on effective practical legal writing, as well as on successful argument techniques and litigation strategies. To a large extent, students will learn by doing; each student will write two briefs and argue those two issues in class. Those briefs will be posted on YLS:Inside and will constitute a part of the weekly reading assignment for the course. Supplemental readings consisting of Supreme Court and Second Circuit decisions will also be assigned weekly.
The class will be organized into four “law firms” of five students each. Ten of the class sessions will be designated as argument days. Each law firm must assign one student to write a memorandum of law in support of the position (motion or opposition) assigned to the firm and then to argue that position in class. Each student must handle two such assignments over the course of the semester. The briefs and arguments will be based on problems written for this class; there is no casebook for the course.
The arguments and related discussions will address issues that impact complex civil cases, including: assembling the right parties (joinder, necessary parties), establishing personal jurisdiction through indirect contacts (internet, agency), forum selection (transfer, forum non conveniens), heightened pleading standards (Twombly, PSLRA), discovery in complex cases (electronic discovery, privilege), stays or abstention in favor of related litigation (Colorado River, Rooker-Feldman), multi-district litigation, class action procedures and limitations (class arbitration, CAFA, SLUSA), interlocutory appeals, sanctions, judicial disqualification, and attorneys’ fees.
Grading will be based principally on the two papers (briefs) submitted by each student. Oral arguments and class discussion will also count. There will be no examination. Substantial Paper credit available. Enrollment capped at twenty. Permission of the instructor required. S.R. Underhill.
Note: Because this course requires a specific number of students, those who have been accepted will be notified and asked to confirm their intention to remain in the course before classes start, so that students on the waiting list may be offered places before the first class meeting.