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Jones v. Petty-Ray Geophysical, Geosource, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

February 28, 1992, Decided

No. 90-2093


 [*1063]  GARWOOD, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiff-appellant Brenda Jones (Plaintiff) originally filed this suit in a Texas state court against defendant-appellee Petty-Ray Geophysical Geosource (Geosource) seeking recovery for the death of Evan Jones (Jones). Geosource brought a third-party complaint against defendant-appellee Total Exploration, a French corporation, which then successfully removed the case to the federal district court below and subsequently moved for dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court initially denied the motion to dismiss, but ultimately granted it after reconsideration. We affirm.

Facts and Proceedings Below

On January 21, 1986, Plaintiff, a Texas resident, brought this suit in Texas state court against Geosource, claiming that her husband, Jones, was murdered by anti-government [**2]  rebels while he was employed by Geosource in the Democratic Republic of the Sudan in April 1984. 2 Plaintiff's cause of action was based on Geosource's negligent failure to warn of danger of which it was aware or should have been aware. Geosource filed a third-party complaint against Total Exploration, seeking contractual contribution and indemnity from Total Exploration, for whom Geosource was performing subcontracting work in the Sudan. On May 23, 1986, Total Exploration successfully removed the case to federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, alleging jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1330, 1332. Following removal, Plaintiff added as defendants to the suit Total Compagnie Francais des Petroles (Total CFP) and Total Soudan, also French corporations, and the Republic of Sudan and two corporate instrumentalities of Kuwait. Total Exploration and Total Soudan are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Total CFP, the majority of whose stock is in turn owned by the government of France. All of the foreign defendants moved for dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction. On October 3, 1989, the district court entered separate orders dismissing the Republic of Sudan and the Kuwait [**3]  corporate instrumentalities, but denied the motions to dismiss of Total Exploration, Total Soudan, and Total CFP (collectively, the Total entities). Upon reconsideration on October 27, 1989, however, the Total entities' motions were granted and all the Total entities were dismissed. The district court certified its order dismissing the Total entities as a final order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b), and we review that dismissal order in the instant appeal.


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954 F.2d 1061 *; 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 2717 **

Brenda JONES, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Evan A.M. Jones, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PETTY-RAY GEOPHYSICAL, GEOSOURCE, INC., et al., Defendants. Total Exploration, Total Soudan, and Total Compagnie Francais Des Petroles, Defendants-Appellees.

Subsequent History: Rehearing Denied April 15, 1992, Reported at 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 8498.

Prior History:  [**1]  Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. No. DC-H-86-2179. Sim Lake, Judge

Disposition: AFFIRMED.


Exploration, entities, diversity, subject matter jurisdiction, foreign state, removal, personal jurisdiction, district court, cause of action, parties, federal district court, nonresident, third-party, indemnity, sovereign immunity, minimum contact, instrumentalities, negotiated

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