Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor v. Pensacola Port A., No. 1154.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
Citation205 F. Supp. 724
Docket NumberNo. 1154.
PartiesCENTRAAL STIKSTOF VERKOOPKANTOOR N.V., a body corporate, Plaintiff, v. PENSACOLA PORT AUTHORITY, a body corporate, Defendant.
Decision Date29 May 1962

205 F. Supp. 724

CENTRAAL STIKSTOF VERKOOPKANTOOR N.V., a body corporate, Plaintiff,
v.
PENSACOLA PORT AUTHORITY, a body corporate, Defendant.

No. 1154.

United States District Court N. D. Florida, Pensacola Division.

May 29, 1962.


Wm. Fisher, Jr. of Fisher & Hepner, Pensacola, Fla., Russell T. Mount, Mendes & Mount, New York City, for plaintiff.

E. Dixie Beggs of Beggs, Lane, Daniel, Middlebrooks & Gaines, Pensacola, Fla., for defendant.

CARSWELL, Chief Judge.

This has to do with a rapidly spreading and highly destructive fire of unknown origin along the waterfront of Pensacola Bay, and brings to mind the tale of Mrs. O'Leary. As we may surmise, the consequences of her maintaining inflammables and fire near her kicking cow might well have visited upon that unfortunate soul full legal liability for the conflagration of Chicago. But it should be noted at the outset here that the fire in this defendant's building is not alleged to have been attributable to any negligent act of defendant, neither by keeping a kicking cow with a burning lantern nor by any other act of omission or commission creating an ominously hazardous condition relative to fire. The gist of the complaint against this defendant is that our figurative Mrs. O'Leary had a building which would burn, that it did ignite somehow, that she did not

205 F. Supp. 725
have fire fighting equipment, watchman or alarms handy, that the wind blew in plaintiff's direction and plaintiff's property was destroyed

Defendant moves to dismiss.

A detailed examination of the complaint is made here in the light of the liberality of the Rules governing pleadings and the consistently untechnical and non-constrictive application those Rules have been properly given since their adoption.

Jurisdiction is based upon alleged diversity of citizenship between the parties. The complaint asserts that defendant owned and maintained certain docks and warehouses located on Pensacola Bay, Florida. The property consisted of a wooden pier on which were located two warehouses, one constructed of wood and the other of metal. Both warehouses contained materials such as cotton waste, rolled newsprint and bagged soy bean meal. It is alleged that these materials, the warehouses and the pier were highly combustible, defined by Webster as apt to catch fire, or capable of burning.

To the west of defendant's property, separated by 115 feet of open water area, was a pier owned by the Louisville and Nashville Railway Company, not a party in this litigation. On this pier was situated a warehouse of wooden construction. This warehouse contained, among other things, large quantities of nitrolime and paper products owned by plaintiff. This L&N pier, warehouse and its contents were also alleged to be highly combustible.

The complaint states further that despite the combustible nature of defendant's piers and warehouses and their contents and despite the combustible nature of the neighboring L&N pier, warehouse and its contents, defendant did not employ a night watchman; did not maintain fire hoses, fire hydrants or other fire prevention or fire fighting apparatus on its docks or in its warehouses, nor did defendant provide a method whereby an alarm could be quickly communicated to appropriate fire fighting agencies.

On November 20, 1958 at approximately 11:00 P.M. a small fire of unknown origin was discovered on defendant's pier by a crew member of a vessel which was secured alongside. At the time it was discovered the fire was approximately 4 feet in circumference and about 6 feet in height. Due to the immediate absence of fire hoses and other fire fighting apparatus the crew of the vessel was unsuccessful in its attempt to control the fire. One of the men went to sound an alarm. Finding no method available to send the alarm, the crewman had to travel some distance before locating a watchman near the shore end of the dock where he arranged for a message to be sent to the Pensacola Fire Department. By the time help arrived the fire was out of control.

It is alleged that after this a northeast wind blew the fire from defendant's premises to the piers, docks and warehouses owned by L&N. Plaintiff's property located within the L&N warehouse was consequently destroyed.

Defendant moves for dismissal on two grounds, the first being failure of complaint to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and the second being the failure of the complaint to allege facts sufficient to support jurisdiction on the basis of diversity of citizenship. This jurisdictional question is taken first.

It is clear that in order for this Court to acquire jurisdiction in cases of diversity of citizenship between the parties, the complaint must show the jurisdictional basis on its face. The complaint here alleges only that the plaintiff is a body corporate with headquarters in The Hague, Holland. This allegation is insufficient in view of 28 U.S.C. § 1332, wherein the place of incorporation, and the principal place of business, determine citizenship for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction on this Court. Although the allegation of jurisdiction is thus insufficient in that the place of incorporation is unstated this omission alone would not require dismissal if plaintiff could, as would be permitted, amend the allegation to...

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12 practice notes
  • Cigna Insurance Co. v. Oy Saunatec Ltd, No. 99-1912
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 31 Julio 2000
    ...inflammable" merely because they will burn when exposed to fire. 17 See Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor N.V. v. Pensacola Port Auth., 205 F. Supp. 724, 728 (N.D. Fla. 1962) (noting that duty cannot be based upon a finding that a material was "highly combustible, i.e., [it] will burn if ign......
  • LeClercq Marine Const. Inc. v. Leco, Inc., Nos. 92-35500
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 29 Noviembre 1993
    ...of this duty varies with the particular circumstances and the risk of fire. Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor v. Pensacola Port Auth., 205 F.Supp. 724, 727 (N.D.Fla.1962). 1 In the present case, Leco was renting residential space to multiple families; it knew these live-aboard tenants used w......
  • Bergen Shipping Co., Ltd. v. Japan Marine Serv., Ltd., No. 74 Civ. 3160 (WCC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 26 Noviembre 1974
    ...Co. v. Rodman & Renshaw, Inc., 358 F.Supp. 1001 (N.D.Ill.1973). See Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor N.V. v. Pensacola Port Authority, 205 F.Supp. 724, 725 (N.D.Fla.1962), aff'd 316 F.2d 189 In Southeast, defendants, Illinois citizens, contended that there was no diversity jurisdiction sinc......
  • Coe v. United States, Civ. No. 77-900.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • 19 Agosto 1980
    ...allegations and consequently requires some discussion. In Hesse, supra, and in Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor v. Pensacola Port A., 205 F.Supp. 724 (N.D.Fla.1962) (quoted with approval in Comfort v. Stadelman Fruit, Inc., 285 Or. 525, 538, 592 P.2d 213 (1979)), the courts held that a defe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Cigna Insurance Co. v. Oy Saunatec Ltd, No. 99-1912
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 31 Julio 2000
    ...inflammable" merely because they will burn when exposed to fire. 17 See Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor N.V. v. Pensacola Port Auth., 205 F. Supp. 724, 728 (N.D. Fla. 1962) (noting that duty cannot be based upon a finding that a material was "highly combustible, i.e., [it] will burn if ign......
  • LeClercq Marine Const. Inc. v. Leco, Inc., Nos. 92-35500
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 29 Noviembre 1993
    ...of this duty varies with the particular circumstances and the risk of fire. Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor v. Pensacola Port Auth., 205 F.Supp. 724, 727 (N.D.Fla.1962). 1 In the present case, Leco was renting residential space to multiple families; it knew these live-aboard tenants used w......
  • Bergen Shipping Co., Ltd. v. Japan Marine Serv., Ltd., No. 74 Civ. 3160 (WCC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 26 Noviembre 1974
    ...Co. v. Rodman & Renshaw, Inc., 358 F.Supp. 1001 (N.D.Ill.1973). See Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor N.V. v. Pensacola Port Authority, 205 F.Supp. 724, 725 (N.D.Fla.1962), aff'd 316 F.2d 189 In Southeast, defendants, Illinois citizens, contended that there was no diversity jurisdiction sinc......
  • Coe v. United States, Civ. No. 77-900.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • 19 Agosto 1980
    ...allegations and consequently requires some discussion. In Hesse, supra, and in Centraal Stikstof Verkoopkantoor v. Pensacola Port A., 205 F.Supp. 724 (N.D.Fla.1962) (quoted with approval in Comfort v. Stadelman Fruit, Inc., 285 Or. 525, 538, 592 P.2d 213 (1979)), the courts held that a defe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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