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Great Civil Procedure Quotes


"We are called upon to answer a question, universal to the legal profession, “Can they do that?” Here we offer our answer to this weighty inquiry—Sure. * * * Giving due regard for the intellectual complexity of the task it imposes filing a civil cover sheet, it should take no longer than a few minutes to complete."

Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. v. Gonzalez, 31 Cal.App.4th 51, __ (1994)



"People who live outside the forest need not in future appear before the royal justices of the forest in answer to general summonses, unless they are actually involved in proceedings or are sureties for someone who has been seized for a forest offence."

Magna Carta, para. 44 (1215 A.D.) For online version , click here.



"The history of American freedom is, in no small measure, the history of procedure."

Malinski v. New York, 324 U.S. 401, 414 (1945) (Assoc. Justice Frankfurter, concurring opinion)



"The history of procedure is a series of attempts to solve the problems created by the ..preceding.generation's procedural reforms."

Judith Resnick, Precluding Appeals, 70 Cornell L.R. 603, 624 (1985)



"It is procedure that marks much of the difference between rule by law and rule by fiat."

Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 436 (1971)



"In the Frontier West the technique was said to be: 'hang him first; give him a trial later.' Here we have a modern variation of that theme: 'demand payment of money damages first; tell him the amount later.'"

Schwab v. Rondel Homes, Inc., 53 Cal.3d 428, 436, 280 Cal.Rptr. 83, 88, 808 P.2d 226, 231 (1991) (Mosk, J., dissent)



"With jurisdictional deadlines, the rule, like the song, is what a difference a day makes."

Dodge v. Superior Court, 77 Cal.App.4th 513, 524, 91 Cal.Rptr.2d 758, 765 (2000)



"If this case is an example, the term 'civil procedure' is an oxymoron."

Green v. GTE California, Inc., 29 Cal.App.4th 407 (1994)



"I'll let you write the substance...you let me write the procedure, and I'll screw you every time."

Regulatory Reform Act: Hearing on H.R. 2327. Before the Subcomm. on Admin. Law and Governmental Regulations of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 98th Cong. 312 (1983) (statement of Rep. John Dingell)



"Like a battlefield surgeon sorting the hopeful from the hopeless, a motion to dismiss invokes a form of legal triage, a paring of viable claims from those doomed by law."

Iacampo v. Hasbro, Inc., 929 F.Supp. 562, 567 (D.R.I.1996).



"A tribunal of this state may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident individual ... who engaged in sexual intercourse in this state and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse. (New application of "minimum contacts.")a"

Cal. Family Code § 4905.



"A judge’s robe is not a king’s crown. * * * It was never intended to protect acts of thuggery against litigants merely because the assailant happens to be a judge."

Regan v. Price, 131 Cal.App.4th 1491, 33 Cal.Rptr.3d 130 (2005).





From the Casebook's Chapter Opening Vignettes


"Undoubtedly, a state may regulate at pleasure the modes of proceeding in its courts...."

Bronson v. Kinzie, 1 How.(42 U.S.) 311, 315, 11 L.Ed. 143 (1843)



"A California court may exercise jurisdiction over nonresidents on any basis not inconsistent with the United States or California Constitutions. This section manifests an intent to exercise the broadest possible jurisdiction, limited only by constitutional considerations."

Sibley v. Superior Court, 16 Cal.3d 442, 445, 128 Cal.Rptr. 34, 36, 546 P.2d 322, 324 (1976)



"While orderly procedure demands a reasonable enforcement of the rules of pleading, the basic principle of the code system in this state is that the administration of justice shall not be embarrassed by technicalities, strict rules of construction, or useless forms."

Reichert v. General Insurance Co. of America, 68 Cal.2d 822, 840, 69 Cal.Rptr. 321, 387, 442 P.2d 377 (1968).



"These rules are applied liberally in favor of discovery, and (contrary to popular belief), fishing expeditions are permissible in some cases."

Gonzalez v. Superior Court, 33 Cal.App.4th 1539, 1546, 39 Cal.Rptr.2d 896, 901 (1995).



"A summary judgment is a drastic measure which deprives the losing party of trial on the merits."

Dee v. Vintage Petroleum, Inc., 106 Cal.App.4th 30, 34, 129 Cal.Rptr.2d 923, 926 (2003).



"Summary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed ‘to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.'"

Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2555, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)



"The most transcendent privilege which any subject can enjoy, or wish for...."

William Blackstone, 3 Commentaries on the Laws of England 379 (1768)



"The man who wants a jury has a bad case....."

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Holmes-Pollock Letters 74 (April 11, 1897) (Mark DeWolfe Howe, ed., 2d ed.1961)



"Judgments come in ordinary typescript on ordinary paper; they are not even suitable for framing. A judgment is an important step toward what the plaintiff wants, but it is not what he wants. The judgment must be enforced."

Douglas Laycock, Modern American Remedies 775-76 (3d.ed 2002)



"California’s law of appellate jurisdiction is full of fiendishly fine distinctions worthy of the most legalistic of medieval clergy."

Quest International, Inc. v. Icode Corp., 122 Cal.App.4th 745, 19 Cal.Rptr.3d 173, review granted and opinion ...........superseded, 23 Cal.Rptr.3d 693, 105 P.3d 114 (2005), review dismissed and cause remanded,a 35 Cal.Rptr.3d 316, 121 ...........P.3d 1237 (2005).



"The labor of judges would be increased almost to the breaking point if every past decision could be reopened in every case, and one could not lay one's own course of bricks on the secure foundation of the courses laid by others who had gone before...."

Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process 149 (1921)

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