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Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Transaction or Occurrence and the Claim Interlock Civil Procedure

Florida Coastal Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 247-304, 2011

58 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2011  

Douglas D. McFarland

Mitchell|Hamline School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2011

Abstract

The article revolves around the issue of defining transaction or occurrence. First, the transaction or occurrence – along with the claim – is one of the two basic building blocks of rules-based civil procedure. This article follows the transaction or occurrence and the claim through several joinder and pleading rules to the conclusion that the rules are an interlocked system. Second, the article argues that the search for definition may not be that difficult of a task as thought. Third, courts having difficulty identifying the transaction or occurrence forget the phrase is one of inclusion. (The primary policy of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure can colloquially be stated as “one suit fits all.”) Because of misunderstanding, many courts use a law-based definition or a gloss on the transaction or occurrence. This article responds that decisions of exclusion on the transaction or occurrence and the claim are often simply wrong. These cases require application of straightforward rules; they are not cases of arguable principles or nuanced policy decisions about which reasonable people can differ. These cases simply call for application of an inclusive rule of well-known and clearly intended meaning to the facts of the individual case.

This is a companion article to the following: McFarland, Douglas. "In Search of the Transaction or Occurrence: Counterclaims," Creighton Law Review, Vol. 40, p. 699, 2007.

Keywords: Transaction, occurrence, joinder, plead, interlocutory, rule 54(b), interlock, civil procedure, claim

Suggested Citation

McFarland, Douglas D., Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Transaction or Occurrence and the Claim Interlock Civil Procedure (January 1, 2011). Florida Coastal Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 247-304, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1957388

Douglas D. McFarland (Contact Author)

Mitchell|Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States

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