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Model Answer Structure for Practice Problem

Model Answer and Structure for Practice Problem One
This is a traditional IRAC analysis. Please do not restate all the facts in the Issue. It is
not necessary to tell me the facts. Focus on identifying and articulating the legal
question. Try to keep the issue or issues concise and to the point. This case involves a
preliminary issue of court power. There is no need to dive into the substance which we
have not even learned at this point. The question here is whether the case can even
stay in this particular court and move forward.
Issue: Does the Federal Court in Maryland have jurisdiction over the defendant,
Rule: Jurisdiction is the power of the court to hear and decide the dispute brought to it.
To have jurisdiction, the court must have both subject matter jurisdiction over the case
and personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
For a federal court to have subject matter jurisdiction, the case must involve federal
law (federal question jurisdiction) or be between parties from different states with claims
that amount to more than $75,000 in damages (diversity jurisdiction).
For a court to have personal jurisdiction over an out of state defendant, there must be
minimum contacts between the defendant and the state where the court sits. Minimum
contacts can be measured by purposeful availment, meaning behavior that was directed
to the state for purposes of a benefit to the defendant, or by the effects test, involving
tortious behavior committed by the defendant which harmed the plaintiff.
In this case, the Federal District Court in Maryland has subject matter jurisdiction
because the case is between parties from two different states. This is diversity
jurisdiction. We can assume that Tarte has at least a good faith claim to over $75,000
in damages because we are told she has been out of work and very ill for some time.
The Court also has personal jurisdiction over Allegro in Washington state because
Allegro has minimum contacts with Maryland. It has used the Internet to sell its products
and has at least one customer, Tarte, in Maryland. Allegro purposefully availed itself by
seeking customers in Maryland. Under the sliding scale test, Allegro has an active
website and uses it to do business. Thus, they have minimum contacts with Maryland,
and it is fair that Allegro should go to Maryland to defend itself.
The Court has jurisdiction. Motion to dismiss denied.
Student Sample:
Issue: Would the court dismiss the action based on lack of jurisdiction.
Rule: Jurisdiction is established by subject matter and personal jurisdiction. There are two situations
when the Federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction, first, when a federal question is involved and
second when there is diversity of citizenship. Diversity of Citizenship requires both, the plaintiff and
defendant must be residents of different states, and the dollar amount in controversy must exceed
$75,000.00. Personal jurisdiction is exercised over any person or business that resides in a certain
geographic area. When the activities take place outside of the geographic area of the defendant, a court
can exercise personal jurisdiction using the long arm statutes. Prior to the court invoking this statute, it
must demonstrate that the defendant had sufficient contacts or minimum contacts. Jurisdiction in
cyberspace, the courts have developed a “sliding scale” standard to determine when they can exercise
personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant based on the defendant’s web activities. There are
three standards and rules for jurisdiction in cyberspace. First, when the defendant conducts substantial
business over the internet (such as contracts and sales). Second, when there is some interactivity through a
website, jurisdiction may be proper, depending on the circumstances. Even a single contact can satisfy the
minimum-contacts requirement in certain situation. Third, when a defendant merely engages in passive
advertising on the web, jurisdiction is never proper. An internet communication is typically considered
passive if people have to voluntarily access it to read the message and active if it is sent to specific
Application: For subject matter jurisdiction does not apply because the lawsuit does not involve a federal
question. In the rule of Diversity of Citizenship, although the claim of damages is not stated, the plaintiff
will need to prove they are on short-term disability leave for the foreseeable future, and the damages
inflicted to the plaintiff will exceed $75,000. In addition, both the plaintiff and the defendant reside in two
different states, Maryland and Seattle. Personal jurisdiction, although the defendant sells products in 42
states, the plaintiff will need to demonstrate the defendant had sufficient contacts, or minimum contacts
for the court to evoke the Long Arm Statue. Jurisdiction in cyberspace, the internet is Allegro’s primary
distribution channel, and the defendant will need to provide sufficient evidence that their volume of
business over the internet isn’t substantial enough to meet the sliding scale standard. The plaintiff argues
that the jurisdiction is proper, because the interactivity through the defendant’s website and a single
contact can satisfy the minimum-contacts requirement in this situation/case.
Conclusion: Because there is sufficient evidence to invoke both personal and cyberspace jurisdiction,
The defendant, Allegro request to the court to dismiss the action based on lack of jurisdiction is rejected.