Supplemental jurisdiction practice essay question

Supplemental jurisdiction practice exam question from 2014-15 ALI Brittnay Wittnebel

David was born and raised in Idaho, and Joe was born and raised in Nebraska. David and Joe were both admitted to the University of Wisconsin’s Biology program in 2010. They were assigned as roommates and they became best friends. After David and Joe graduated in 2014, they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in search of jobs. They rented an apartment and moved their belongings to Milwaukee. After six months of searching, David and Joe became discouraged because neither of them had gotten any job offers. Life was not working out as David and Joe intended. One day, David mentioned to Joe that he wanted to go back to Idaho to be closer to his family. Joe replied that he soon wanted to move to Chicago, Illinois where there were more jobs. The next day, David was driving to a job interview when he heard a contest on the radio. David called in, answered the question correctly, and won a trip to Miami, Florida! The next month, the two unemployed best friends went to Miami.

David and Joe landed in Miami and rented a car from Rent-A-Wreck. David drove and Joe was happily singing along to the radio in the passenger seat. David, who had never travelled much in his life, was not used to the hectic traffic patterns of Miami. While merging, David and Joe’s car collided with Bob’s brand new Ferrari.  Bob, a well-connected businessman, is a citizen of Florida. Immediately after the accident, Bob got out of his car and screamed at David and Joe, “You will be hearing from my lawyer! I hope you have good insurance!” During the accident, Joe had been dancing in the passenger seat. Joe was seriously injured and suffered $25,000 in medical bills. Because Joe had to be rushed to the hospital, the vacation was finished.  David was upset that the accident ruined the trip he won, and David and Joe were never quite as close of friends.

About a month later, David was served with a lawsuit from Bob in the United States Southern District of Florida for $150,000 in damages done to Bob’s Ferrari. David, a broke, unemployed college student, was outraged at the thought of the lawsuit. He shouted, “Duuuudddeeee!  I shouldn’t even have to pay for this! The accident was Joe’s fault! Joe smacked me in the head when he was singing! I wouldn’t have taken my eyes off the road if Joe weren’t so distracting! They wouldn’t have even found me if I had just moved back to Idaho!” David decided to implead Joe in the lawsuit as a third party defendant hoping that would alleviate some David’s financial burdens of the suit.

Joe was served with the necessary paperwork and immediately remembered the incident and the plaintiff, Bob. Although Joe was still angry with David, he was glad that the lawsuit was filed because he had wanted to sue Bob to be reimbursed for the $25,000 debt in medical bills Joe incurred from his trip to the hospital after the car crash. Joe quickly lawyered-up and asserted a claim against Bob for his medical damages.

Further assume that after Joe asserts his claim against Bob, Bob recognizes him from the accident and asserts a claim against Joe for $15,000 for property damage to the Ferrari in the same accident.

You are the law clerk for a well-established federal judge. The judge has asked you to write a memorandum of law addressing whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction over all claims and parties. If any of the the issues are not settled, use the majority approach.

Revised Nov. 4, 2016 (simplifying call of question)