Midterms

It’s hard to believe, but Midterm examinations are upon us. I know most law schools don’t administer Midterms, but UNTDCOL is among the minority that do. Most of our instructors weight the Midterm examinations in such a way that they usually account for roughly a third of our final grade, so it’s obviously important to be prepared.

I remember taking my first Midterm as a 1L last October. Contracts! It was unlike any exam I had ever taken. Even though I felt prepared going in, I found myself frustrated, especially with the multiple-choice questions, as most of them contained two or more “right’ answers. The trick, our professors told us, was determining the “most right” answer. I have encountered the need for this same type of precision in all of my law school classes so far and it’s the same type of precision a successful legal practice demands of an attorney.

Consider the following “real world” example I stumbled across recently.

Plaintiff A, domiciled in Texas, sues Defendant B in Texas state court. Defendant removes the case to Federal court for diversity. In their Notice of Removal, Defendant establishes its citizenship  through the following paragraph:

Accordingly, because Defendant B is a limited liability company whose citizenship is determined by the citizenship of its members, and because its sole member BBBA, a limited liability company owned by BBBB, a New Hampshire corporation with its principal place of business in Ames, Iowa, Defendant B is a citizen of New Hampshire and Iowa for diversity purposes and complete diversity exists between Defendant and Plaintiff.

A week later, the Judge enters an order finding that Defendant had established the citizenship of its shareholders, but not its members. Consequently, the Court found Defendant’s notice insufficient to establish the Court’s subject-matter jurisdiction, but allowed Defendant to refile. Defendant B changed this paragraph just slightly:

Accordingly, because Defendant B is a limited liability company whose citizenship is determined by the citizenship of its members, and because its sole member is BBBA, a limited liability company whose sole member is BBBC–and which is owned by BBBC–a New Hampshire corporation with its principal place of business in Ames, Iowa. Defendant B is a citizen of New Hampshire and Iowa for diversity purposes and complete diversity exists between Defendant and Plaintiff.

Both paragraphs reach the same conclusion–the “right” answer, so to speak–that diversity exists between the Defendant and Plaintiff, but only the second paragraph satisfies the statutory requirements of U.S.C. § 1332. Paragraph 2, as law professors like to say, is “more right.”

Remember this as your prepare for your Midterm exams, especially Civ. Pro.

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