Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Transaction or Occurrence and the Claim Interlock Civil Procedure
Douglas D. McFarland
Mitchell|Hamline School of Law
January 1, 2011
Florida Coastal Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 247-304, 2011
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 58
Keywords: Transaction, occurrence, joinder, plead, interlocutory, rule 54(b), interlock, civil procedure, claim
Date posted: November 19, 2011