446 F.2d 225 (8th Cir. 1971), 71-1069, Lynch v. Porter

Docket Nº:71-1069.
Citation:446 F.2d 225
Party Name:Bert A. LYNCH, Jr., Appellant, v. Martha Ann Lynch PORTER et al., Appellees.
Case Date:August 03, 1971
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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446 F.2d 225 (8th Cir. 1971)

Bert A. LYNCH, Jr., Appellant,


Martha Ann Lynch PORTER et al., Appellees.

No. 71-1069.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Aug. 3, 1971

Thomas C. Walsh, St. Louis, Mo., for appellant.

Richard S. Arnold, Texarkana, Ark., for appellees.

Before LAY, HEANEY and BRIGHT, Circuit Judges.

LAY, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-beneficiary Bert A. Lynch, Jr., a citizen of the State of Missouri, initially sought relief against trustees of two testamentary trusts by bringing this diversity suit in two counts: (1) for restoration of trust funds allegedly

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diverted by the trustee through self-dealing, 1 and (2) for removal of one of the trustees, Martha Ann Lynch Porter. In his complaint plaintiff joined Martha Ann Lynch Porter, a beneficiary and co-trustee; Robert A. Porter, her husband; Dora A. Lynch, a beneficiary and cotrustee; all citizens of the State of Arkansas, and Louis Lynch, a beneficiary, allegedly a citizen of the State of Tennessee, as individuals. 2 He also joined Martha Ann Lynch Porter and Dora A. Lynch in their capacity as trustees of the marital and residuary trusts established in the will of plaintiff's father, B. A. Lynch, deceased. After the filing of this suit the cotrustee, Dora A. Lynch, mother of both the plaintiff and the alleged wrongdoer, Martha, restored to the trusts the amount prayed for under Count I. Defendants then moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint 'for want of jurisdiction of subject matter' and 'mootness.' The federal district court sustained defendants' motion and plaintiff has appealed.

The federal district court ruled the first count moot, and considered the second count 'pendent' to the first. Defendants urged that the district court should refuse to exercise its pendent jurisdiction over this issue in deference to the state chancery court's jurisdiction in a subsequently filed accounting suit. 3 The trial court found if it removed a trustee 'the matter would then revert to the jurisdiction of the probate court, which would have to continue the supervision of the administration of the trusts.' The district court observed this would require 'an interference with the administration of the trusts which should be conducted under the supervision of the Chancery Court.' In support of dismissal the trial court relied on United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726, 86 S.Ct. 1130, 1139, 16 L.Ed.2d 218 (1966), where the Supreme Court said: 'if the federal claims are dismissed before trial, even though insubstantial in a jurisdictional sense, the state claim should be dismissed as well.' Thus the trial court concluded it had 'no choice' but to dismiss plaintiff's suit.

The sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court was correct in treating Count II, seeking removal of the trustee, as a pendent claim and refusing to retain jurisdiction of this matter as an exercise of sound discretion.

Pendent jurisdiction in a diversity action attaches to a claim when that claim, lacking in independent jurisdictional requirements, cannot be aggregated with the other claims in the suit. However, the trial court may find that the ancillary claim is so closely related to the subject matter being adjudicated that considerations of judicial economy and fairness to the litigants require assumption of jurisdiction. Hatridge v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 415 F.2d 809 (8 Cir. 1969). In such cases aggregation is usually not possible because

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there is a distinctness of claims and a difference of parties--i.e., one plaintiff suing in two capacities, or a single plaintiff asserting separate and distinct claims against two or more defendants, or two related plaintiffs seeking separate relief from integrated claims against the same defendant. Cf. Borror v. Sharon Steel Company, 327 F.2d 165 (3 Cir. 1964); Wilson v. American Chain & Cable Company, 364 F.2d 558 (3 Cir. 1966); Jacobson v. Atlantic City Hospital, 392 F.2d 149 (3 Cir. 1968).

Undeniably, the trial court had jurisdiction over Count I. 4 Federal jurisdiction was based on diversity of citizenship and the alleged amount in controversy exceeded $10,000. In this count plaintiff prayed for the relief of restoration of trust funds 'derivatively on behalf of the trust.' Thus, the apparent capacity in which plaintiff seeks this relief differs from that in Count II where plaintiff sues on his own behalf as beneficiary of the trust. Apparently, it is this assumed dual-capacity which induced both the trial court and the plaintiff to believe that these claims cannot be aggregated and, as a...

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