In law school, law professors often present fact patterns to demonstrate important legal concepts. Because I believe that it is easier to understand complex legal concepts via the use of illustrations and examples, I have constructed a series of fact patterns to illustrate some concepts discussed our textbook. In completing this written assignment, you should adopt the concepts from our readings.
Here is our first fact pattern to illustrate the concepts of personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, personal service, in rem jurisdiction, and venue.
Little Jimmy O’Leary, lives in Birmingham, Alabama and works as a law clerk for a federal judge in Mississippi. While Little Jimmy O’Leary hates the humidity of Florida, he owns a vacation home in Marco Island, Florida which he rents out. Over the summer break, Little Jimmy O’Leary decides to visit his father who lives in Marco Island, Florida. While driving on Interstate 75 in Florida, Little Jimmy O’Leary gets into a car accident with Sally Johnson, who owns a vacation home in Florida, but is a resident of New Jersey. As a result of the accident, Little Jimmy O’Leary suffers serious injuries and a totaled car. In addition to severe brain injuries, Little Jimmy O’Leary loses all use of his right arm. Sally Johnson suffers no serious medical injuries, but her Fiat 500 suffers over $5,000 in damages. After recovering from his injuries, Little Jimmy O’Leary returns home to Alabama. Because Little Jimmy O’Leary cannot type with his right hand, he loses his job as a law clerk. Broke and unable to work, Little Jimmy O’Leary sues Sally Johnson in an Alabama state court alleging that Johnson’s negligence caused the injuries. At the same time, Sally Johnson, who is on vacation in Florida, files a complaint against Little Jimmy O’Leary for negligence in a Florida federal court, alleging that Little Jimmy O’Leary was negligent and caused $50,000 in damages.
After being properly served with a copy of the summons and complaint filed in Alabama state court action, Sally Johnson promptly files a motion to dismiss in Alabama, arguing that the court lacks personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and is the improper venue. At the same time, Sally Johnson attempts to serve Little Jimmy O’Leary with a summons and complaint regarding the Florida action she filed. However, after the accident, Little Jimmy O’Leary is unable to travel to Florida. Because the process server is unable to locate Little Jimmy O’Leary, the process server leaves a copy of the summons and complaint with one of Little Jimmy O’Leary’s tenants. After Little Jimmy O’Leary fails to answer the complaint, Sally Johnson files a motion for a default judgment. Lazy Law Clerk, a graduate of an unaccredited law school, who is temporarily filling in for Judge Goldstein’s permanent law clerk who is on maternity leave, grants Sally Johnson’s motion for default judgment. After that, Sally Johnson attempts to satisfy the judgment obtained by placing a lien on Little Jimmy O’Leary’s vacation home in Florida. When Little Jimmy O’Leary hears about what happened in Florida, he immediately files a motion to vacate the default judgment, arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction, improper service and that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case.
Please discuss all of the legal issues raised by this fact pattern. Specifically addressing you should address any and all issues related to personal jurisdiction, in rem jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, personal service, and venue raised by the fact pattern. Please also incorporate examples, definitions, and illustrations from the textbook to support your analysis. Your answer should be no longer than 500 to 1000 words.