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Owen Equipment _ Erection Co. v. Kroger Case Brief

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Owen Equipment _ Erection Co. v. Kroger Case Brief Powered By Docstoc
					Owen Equipment & Erection Co. v. Kroger 437 U.S. 365, 98 S. Ct. 2396, 57 L.Ed.2d 274 (1978)
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Kroger, who was an Iowa citizen was electrocuted when a crane he was standing near (owned by Owen) touched a power line (owned by Omaha Public Power Co.). Kroger's wife sued Omaha for wrongful death. Since Kroger was an Iowa citizen, and Omaha was a Nebraska company, Kroger filed suit in Federal Court under diversity jurisdiction. Omaha filed a third party complaint (using a Rule 14(a) motion) to implead Owen as a co-defendant. Kroger amended her complaint to include Owen. o Then, Omaha filed for and received summary judgment, taking them out of the case. Owen was incorporated in Nebraska. However, it turned out that their principle place of business was Iowa. Since Kroger and Owen were both from the same State, there was no longer complete diversity of citizenship required for jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Despite the fact that there was no longer diversity jurisdiction, the Federal Trial Court heard the case, and ruled for Kroger. o Owen appealed on the basis that the Federal Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case. o Kroger argued that it was proper to hear the claim in Federal Court because there was pendent jurisdiction as per 28 U.S.C. § 1367.  Pendent jurisdiction is also known as ancillary jurisdiction. The Federal Appellate Court affirmed. Owen appealed. o The Appellate Court looked to United Mine Workers v. Gibbs (383 U.S. 715 (1966)). The US Supreme Court overturned and remanded for new trial. o The US Supreme Court found that Kroger is not allowed to defeat diversity requirements simply by suing only those defendants of diverse citizenship and wait for them to implead non-diverse defendants. o Kroger's claim against Owen could not be allowed

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under pendent jurisdictional ground because claim against Owen was "entirely separate" from her original claim against Omaha.  Owen's liability to her depended not at all upon whether or not Omaha was also liable.  In order to qualify for pendent jurisdiction, the second claim has to be "ancillary and dependent" on the original claim.  The Gibbs decision involved resolving a Federal and a State claim against a single defendant, using Federal question jurisdiction. This case involved only State claims, but was brought against two different defendants using diversity jurisdiction. Not quite the same thing. o Kroger voluntarily brought this case in Federal Court. The US Supreme Court felt that pendent jurisdiction is more designed for defendants who are brought to court against their will and have no choice of forum.  If Kroger really thought it necessary to sue both Owen and Omaha in the same action, they could easily have done so in State Court. Since Kroger chose Federal Court, she must accept its limitations. In a dissent, it was argued that factors such as convenience, judicial economy, and considerations of fairness should be considered instead of just rigidly upholding legislation.


				
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