• June 13, 2013

Minnesota Litigator has been known, from time to time, to wander extraterritorially — outside Minnesota law — in particular for interesting developments in federal law, which sometimes are relevant to Minnesota litigators and Minnesotans generally.  One of the more generous and deep-thinking legal bloggers out there is Max Kennerly, a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia who summarizes his recent post as follows:

To summarize: when it comes to manufacturing federal court jurisdiction to aid a defendant in a class action, an unincorporated association shall be deemed to be a citizen of the State where it has its principal place of business; when it comes to manufacturing federal court jurisdiction to aid a defendant in an individual lawsuit, an unincorporated association’s principal place of business is irrelevant. Heads defendants win, tails plaintiffs lose.

When lawyers’ resources are stretched beyond they breaking point, they crack. The same is of course true of judges and even judicial systems. When system resources are stressed, systems innovate as a matter of self-preservation.  So state and federal court systems both sometimes seem to innovate ways of turning away cases.

But Kennerly’s article points out that the federal system seems to go out of its way to open the doors for class action litigation while bolting the doors for other diversity jurisdiction — seemingly inconsistent outcomes.

But what are judges’ responsibilities if they are, in fact, called upon to apply sets of rules that are inconsistent or illogical?

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