Sufficient Notice

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Sufficient Notice

Post by sangr » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:32 pm

Sup dudes,

kinda confused about sufficient notice

1. under mullane, we should give notice that is reasonable.. one thing i dont get is then, when is personal service (actually handing it to the D) necessary?
I am under the impression that service by mail is generally always ok? when is service by mail not sufficient?

2. for federal courts, from what i know its basically the same but the fed courts have some differences? what are the differences.

3. what significance do state statutes regarding notice have? im confused, does it work like when we do a PJ analysis? the state statutes and constitutional analysis have to be both satisfied? or are can one of them be satisfied?

if any of u guys could just put in your input, it would help so much. the plethora of rules just confuse me



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Re: Sufficient Notice

Post by sbl274 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:43 pm

Disclaimer: 1L here.
1. In Mullane, I think there are basically three groups of people; first are those people whose addresses are known and who have a sufficient interest in the claim to be entitled, by Due Process, to the sort of service that's required by Rule 4. The service that's reasonable for this group of people, under the circumstances, would actually be the same as that required by Rule 12, or whatever was the controlling statute when Mullane was decided. The second group is at the other end of the spectrum: those that have an interest, but an insignificant one that the parties might not know about (for ex., b/c they might have inherited it when an original party died), whose addresses and whereabouts are unknown. In this instance, notice by newspaper announcement, given the circumstances, is reasonable, and these parties would be bound by the decision. The last group consists of those parties in between these extremes. They have an interest and their addresses are known, so that it wouldn't be impossible to serve process on them pursuant to Rule 12. However, because there are so many people in this group, it wouldn't be practicable to require service each and every one of them by first class mail. Obviously, first class mail would be sufficient, but it's not necessary to satisfy Due Process.

I don't remember the exact circumstances surrounding each group, but I do remember that there were different notice requirements as to each group. So Mullane basically says, service satisfies the Constitution when, given the circumstances, it is reasonably calculated to notify the parties of a lawsuit litigating their interest.

2. The federal courts have to follow Rule 12. The state courts would have to follow the relevant state statute regarding notice, which has to satisfy the Due Process requirements and now, Mullane, in order to be valid. I think it's sort of analogous to the question of personal jurisdiction, where the state confers personal jurisdiction of its courts over certain parties, but to actually get PJ over a defendant in an actual case, the requirements of the state statute AND the Constitution (International Shoe, Shaffer, Volkswagen, etc.).

3. Yes.

I hope I shed some light onto your question. If I'm wrong with any of this, please let me know! Thanks everyone!


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Re: Sufficient Notice

Post by American_in_China » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:47 pm

It's essentially a factor test
1. Likelihood of a service method reaching someone.
2. Importance/value of the person's interest.
3. Cost of the potential methods to give notice.

The Court in Mullane seems to imply that for notice to be sufficient, it must at least come within the margin of error of efficiency. Their specific decision in Mullane was that when a beneficiary's address is known, it would be inefficient to not at least mail them notice. It wasn't improper to give notice by publishing in a newspaper for the beneficiaries whose addresses and/or identities were unknown, because the cost of tracking them down would exceed the importance/value of their interest.

The big thing beyond that is that, often, the cost of service might actually exceed the expected benefit (due to statute), which is fine- but an attempt at service must meet at least a minimum efficiency level (you can't skimp on costs- cost/benefit has to at least come within an acceptable margin of 1:1).

That's how I read it- you have to make a reasonable attempt to give notice, given the costs of doing so.

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