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Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs.

Supreme Court of the United States

March 1, 2005, Argued ; June 23, 2005, Decided 1 

(04-70), (04-79)

Opinion

 [*549]   [**2615]   [****8]  Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court.

LEdHN[1A][] [1A] These consolidated cases present the question whether a federal court in a diversity action may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over additional plaintiffs whose claims do not satisfy the minimum amount-in-controversy requirement, provided the claims are part of the same case or controversy as the claims of plaintiffs who do allege a  [***515]  sufficient amount in controversy. Our decision turns on the correct interpretation of 28 U.S.C. § 1367. The question has divided the Courts of Appeals, and we granted certiorari to resolve the conflict. 543 U.S. 924, 160 L. Ed. 2d 221, 125 S. Ct. 317 (2004).

We hold that, HN1[] where the other elements of jurisdiction are present and at least one named plaintiff in the action satisfies the amount-in-controversy requirement, § 1367 does authorize supplemental jurisdiction over the claims of other plaintiffs in the same Article III case or controversy, even if those claims are for less than the jurisdictional amount specified in the statute setting forth the requirements for diversity jurisdiction. We affirm  [*550]  the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in No. 04-70, and we reverse the judgment of [****9]  the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in No. 04-79.

In 1991, about 10,000 Exxon dealers filed a class-action suit against the Exxon Corporation in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The dealers alleged an intentional and systematic scheme by Exxon under which they were overcharged for fuel purchased from Exxon. The plaintiffs invoked the District Court's § 1332(a) diversity jurisdiction. After a unanimous jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, the District Court certified the case for interlocutory review, asking whether it had properly exercised § 1367 supplemental jurisdiction over the claims of class members who did not meet the jurisdictional minimum amount in controversy.

 [**2616]  The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the District Court's extension of supplemental jurisdiction to these class members.  Allapattah Services, Inc. v. Exxon Corp., 333 F.3d 1248 (2003). "[W]e find," the court held, "that § 1367 clearly and unambiguously provides district courts with the authority in diversity class actions to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the claims of class members who do not meet the minimum amount [****10]  in controversy as long as the district court has original jurisdiction over the claims of at least one of the class representatives."  Id., at 1256.  This decision accords with the views of the Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits.  See  Rosmer v. Pfizer, Inc., 263 F.3d 110 (CA4 2001); Olden v. LaFarge Corp., 383 F.3d 495 (CA6 2004);  Stromberg Metal Works, Inc. v. Press Mechanical, Inc., 77 F.3d 928 (CA7 1996); In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Antitrust Litigation, 123 F.3d 599 (CA7 1997).  The Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits, adopting a similar analysis of the statute, have held that in a diversity class action the unnamed class members need not meet the amount-in-controversy requirement, provided the named class members  [*551]  do. These decisions, however, are unclear on whether all the named plaintiffs must satisfy this requirement.  Free v. Abbott Lab. (In re Abbott Lab.), 51 F.3d 524 (CA5 1995);  Gibson v. Chrysler Corp., 261 F.3d 927 (CA9 2001).

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545 U.S. 546 *; 125 S. Ct. 2611 **; 162 L. Ed. 2d 502 ***; 2005 U.S. LEXIS 5015 ****; 18 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 453

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION, Petitioner v. ALLAPATTAH SERVICES, INC., et al. MARIA del ROSARIO ORTEGA, et al., Petitioners v. STAR-KIST FOODS, INC.

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT.

 Ortega v. Star-Kist Foods, Inc., 370 F.3d 124, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 10714 (1st Cir. P.R., 2004) Allapattah Servs. v. Exxon Corp., 333 F.3d 1248, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 11628 (11th Cir. Fla., 2003)

Disposition: Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part.

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Civil Procedure, Diversity Jurisdiction, Amount in Controversy, Determination, Constitutional Law, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Amount in Controversy, Justiciability, Case & Controversy Requirements, General Overview, Jurisdictional Sources, Statutory Sources, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Same Case & Controversy, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Constitutional Sources, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Limited Jurisdiction, Federal Questions, Alienage Jurisdiction, Citizenship, Diversity Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Requirements, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Congressional Limits, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Citizenship, Pendent Claims, Parties, Joinder of Parties, Pleading & Practice, Joinder of Claims & Remedies, Joinder of Claims, Pendent Parties, Intervention, Ancillary Jurisdiction, Compulsory Joinder, Indispensable Parties, Necessary Parties, Permissive Joinder, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Certification of Classes, Pleadings, Amendment of Pleadings, Removal, Specific Cases Removed, Administrative Law, Sovereign Immunity, Class Action Fairness Act, Effect & Operation, Prospective Operation, Prerequisites for Class Action