Civil Procedure

This course considers the fundamental and recurrent problems in civil actions largely through the rounded study of the conduct of a single modern system of procedure, that embodied in the Federal Rules. In the first stage the student surveys the phases of litigation under this system from commencement of action through disposition on appeal; the survey is intended to convey elementary information, to propound various questions, which are more deeply studied during the rest of the course, and to exhibit the distinctive characteristics of Anglo-American civil procedure. The following subjects are then dealt with in more detail: evolution of the unitary civil action; pleadings, discovery and other pretrial devices including alternative dispute resolution; trial; jurisdiction of courts; and former adjudication. Equity jurisdiction is sketched in connection with the historical evolution of the unitary civil action, and there is some instruction in the rules of evidence in relation to the principal aspects of the trial. The division of business between federal and state courts claims attention, as does the enforcement of state law in federal courts and federal law in state courts. Contemporary developments with respect to parties, class actions and injunctive relief are also introduced.

This course will study the theory and practice of class action litigation in the United States. It is an advanced course in procedure, public law, judicial administration, and litigation. Topics range from the conceptual underpinnings of representative litigation to the specific doctrines of federal complex litigation practice, including jurisdiction, certification, choice of law, overlapping class suits and multi-district litigation practice, notice and other communications with class members, remedies, settlement, fairness hearings, objectors, attorney's fees, and preclusion. The course is primarily doctrinal in nature, but it will include significant amounts of procedural theory, narratives of legal practice, and legal ethics.

 

This seminar will provide an in-depth exploration of the theory and practice of civil litigation in the United States, with a special emphasis on complex litigation and class action law. Possible topics to be covered include: complex doctrinal concerns in multi-district and multi-state litigation; theories of adjudication; litigation financing; the globalization of American litigation and cross-border litigation; and the comparison of competing forms of dispute resolution. Most sessions of the workshop will be talks presented by visiting scholars (discussing academic works-in-progress) or by visiting lawyers and judges (discussing cases that they have worked on in practice). There will be no exam or final paper -- students will be expected to participate actively with the visitors and grades will be based on this participation and reaction papers or comparable forms of writing. The workshop is limited to 18 students. Interested students must apply by sending a one-paragraph description of their interest and experience in litigation to Prof. Rubenstein (rubenstein@law.harvard.edu) by July 15.

 

This course will closely examine the theory and doctrine of a discrete set of questions that arise in the law of remedies. Topics include: punitive damages; reparations; the relationship between public (civil) remedies and private (compensatory) damages; remedies in complex cases, particularly class actions; and attorney's fees. While the readings will be largely doctrinal in nature, they will also include significant theory and practical context.