537 U.S. 28 (2002), 01-757, Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. v. Henson

Docket Nº:No. 01-757.
Citation:537 U.S. 28, 123 S.Ct. 366, 154 L.Ed.2d 368, 71 U.S.L.W. 4001
Party Name:SYNGENTA CROP PROTECTION, INC., Robert Babb, Edee Templet, and Kenneth A. Devun, Petitioners, v. Hurley HENSON.
Case Date:November 05, 2002
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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537 U.S. 28 (2002)

123 S.Ct. 366, 154 L.Ed.2d 368, 71 U.S.L.W. 4001

SYNGENTA CROP PROTECTION, INC., Robert Babb, Edee Templet, and Kenneth A. Devun, Petitioners,

v.

Hurley HENSON.

No. 01-757.

United States Supreme Court.

Nov. 5, 2002

Argued Oct. 15, 2002.

[123 S.Ct. 367] Syllabus[*]

SYLLABUS

Respondent Henson's Louisiana state-court tort suit against petitioners was stayed when respondent intervened in the similar Price suit, underway in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Although the ensuing settlement in Price stipulated that the Henson action be dismissed with prejudice, the Louisiana state court allowed Henson to proceed. Petitioners removed Henson to the Middle District of Louisiana, relying upon the general removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), and asserting federal jurisdiction under the All Writs Act, § 1651, and the supplemental jurisdiction statute, § 1367. The case was transferred to the Southern District of Alabama, which, inter alia, dismissed Henson as barred by the Price settlement. As relevant here, the Eleventh Circuit vacated, reasoning that § 1441 by its terms authorizes removal only of actions over which the district courts have original jurisdiction, and that, because the All Writs Act authorizes writs in aid of the courts' respective jurisdictions without providing any federal subject-matter jurisdiction in its own right, that Act could not support Henson's removal from state to federal court.

Held: The All Writs Act does not furnish removal jurisdiction. That Act, alone or in combination with the existence of ancillary enforcement jurisdiction, is not a substitute for § 1441's requirement that a federal court have original jurisdiction over an action in order for it to be removed from a state court. Pp. 369-371.

(a) The All Writs Act--which provides, in § 1651(a), that "courts established by ... Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions"--does not authorize removal of the Henson action. In arguing that the Act supports removal, respondent relies upon United States v. New York Telephone Co., 434 U.S. 159, 172, 98 S.Ct. 364, 54 L.Ed.2d 376, and Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction v. United States Marshals Service, 474 U.S. 34, 41, 106 S.Ct. 355, 88 L.Ed.2d 189. The latter case, however, made clear that "[w]here a statute specifically addresses the particular issue at hand, it is that authority, and not the All Writs Act, that is controlling." Id., at 43, 106 S.Ct. 355. Removal is entirely a creature of statute and "a suit commenced in a state court must remain there until cause is shown for its transfer under some act of Congress." Great Northern R. Co. v. Alexander, 246

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U.S. 276, 280, 38 S.Ct. 237, 62 L.Ed. 713. [123 S.Ct. 368] Petitioners may not, by resorting to the All Writs Act, avoid complying with statutory requirements for removal. See Pennsylvania Bureau, supra, at 43, 106 S.Ct. 355. Section 1441(a) provides that "any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed." Under those plain terms, in order properly to remove the Henson action, petitioners must demonstrate that original subject-matter jurisdiction lies in federal courts. Because the All Writs Act does not confer jurisdiction on the federal courts, however, it cannot confer the original jurisdiction required to support removal under § 1441. Pp. 369-370.

(b) Nor does the All Writs Act authorize the removal of Henson when considered in conjunction with the doctrine of ancillary enforcement jurisdiction. Such jurisdiction "may extend to claims having a factual and logical dependence on 'the primary lawsuit.' " Peacock v. Thomas, 516 U.S. 349, 355, 116 S.Ct. 862, 133 L.Ed.2d 817. Because a court must have jurisdiction over a case or controversy before it may assert jurisdiction over ancillary claims, ibid., however, ancillary jurisdiction cannot provide the original jurisdiction that petitioners must show to qualify for § 1441 removal. Invoking ancillary jurisdiction, like invoking the All Writs Act, does not dispense with the need to comply with statutory requirements. Pp. 370-371.

261 F.3d 1065, affirmed.

REHNQUIST, C.J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. STEVENS, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 371.

COUNSEL

Henry B. Alsobrook, Jr., Robert N. Markle, New Orleans, LA, for petitioners.

David J. Bederman, Atlanta, GA, for respondent.

For U.S. Supreme Court briefs, see:

2002 WL 956371 (Pet.Brief)

2002 WL 1275083 (Resp.Brief)

2002 WL 1592778 (Reply.Brief)

OPINION

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Chief Justice REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

Respondent Hurley Henson filed suit in state court in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, against petitioner Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. (then known as Ciba-Geigy Corp.) asserting various tort claims related to petitioners' manufacture and sale of a chlordimeform-based insecticide. A similar action, Price v. Ciba-Geigy Corp., was already underway in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The Louisiana court stayed respondent's action when respondent successfully intervened in the Price suit and participated in the ensuing settlement. That settlement included a stipulation that the Henson action, "including any and all claims ... against [petitioners], shall be dismissed, with prejudice," as of the approval date. App. 38a; see also id., at 36a.

Following the approval of the settlement, the Louisiana state court conducted a hearing to determine whether the Henson action should be dismissed. Counsel for respondent told the court that the Price settlement required dismissal of only some of the claims raised in Henson. Although this representation appeared to be contrary to the terms of the settlement agreement, the Louisiana court relied upon it and invited respondent to amend the complaint and proceed with the action.

Counsel for petitioners did not attend the hearing. Upon learning of the state court's action, however, petitioners promptly removed the action to the Middle District of Louisiana, relying on 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The notice of removal asserted federal jurisdiction under the All Writs Act, § 1651, and under the supplemental jurisdiction statute, § 1367. The Middle District of Louisiana granted a transfer to the Southern District of Alabama pursuant to § 1404(a), and the Alabama court then [123 S.Ct. 369] dismissed Henson as barred by the Price settlement and sanctioned respondent's counsel for his misrepresentation to the Louisiana state court.

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The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the sanctions but vacated the District Court's order dismissing the Henson action. Henson v. Ciba-Geigy Corp., 261 F.3d 1065 (2001). The court reasoned that § 1441 by its terms authorizes removal only of actions over which the district courts have original jurisdiction. But the All Writs Act authorizes writs "in aid of [the courts'] respective jurisdictions" without providing any federal subject-matter jurisdiction in its own right, see, e.g., Clinton v. Goldsmith, 526 U.S. 529, 534-535, 119 S.Ct. 1538, 143 L.Ed.2d 720 (1999). Therefore, the Court of Appeals concluded, the All Writs Act could not support removal of the Henson action from state to federal court.

In so holding, the Court of Appeals recognized that several Circuits have held that the All Writs Act gives a federal court the authority to remove a state-court case in order to prevent the frustration of orders the federal court has previously issued. See, e.g., Xiong v. Minnesota, 195 F.3d 424, 426 (C.A.8 1999); Bylinski v. Allen Park, 169 F.3d 1001, 1003 (C.A.6 1999); In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation, 996 F.2d 1425, 1431 (C.A.2 1993). It noted, however, that other Circuits have agreed with its conclusion that the All Writs Act does not furnish removal jurisdiction. See, e.g., Hillman v. Webley, 115 F.3d 1461, 1469 (C.A.10 1997). We granted certiorari to resolve this controversy, 534 U.S. 1126, 122 S.Ct. 1062, 151 L.Ed.2d 966 (2002), and now affirm.

The All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), provides that "[t]he Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs...

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