Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., No. 95-21023

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore DAVIS, EMILIO M. GARZA and STEWART; EMILIO M. GARZA; While this lawsuit was pending; Both before and after the recusal proceedings
Citation101 F.3d 448
Parties, 11 Tex.Bankr.Ct.Rep. 12, 45 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1447 Robin Ray DODDY; Jeanette W. Doddy, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. OXY USA, INC.; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Petrolite Corporation; Treatolite-Petrolite Company; Treatolite Chemicals; Nalco Chemical Co., also known as Nalco Chemical Company Inc.; Bolt Fuel Oil Company Inc.; Pride Petroleum Services, also known as Pride Petroleum Services Inc.; Baker Hughes Incorporated, also known as Baker Hughes Incorporated; Baker Hughes Oil Field Operation Inc., formerly known as Baker Hughes Production Tools; Baker Performance Chemicals Inc.; Baker Performance Chemicals; Baker Performance Chemicals Incorporated; Pool Well Servicing, also known as Pool Company (Texas) Inc.; The Western Company, also known as Western Company of North America; Halliburton Company, also known as Halliburton Special Products, also known as Halliburton Services; Ancor Services Inc., also known as ASI Inc., also known as ASI; Billy Don Thomas, Individually and as Agent; Mark D. Johnson, Individually and as Agent; Paul Painter, Individually and as trustee; Central Title Company; Hart Engineering Company; Pool Well Servicing; Pool Company (Texas) Inc.; Halliburton Services; Halliburton Special Products; Pride Petroleum Services Inc., Defendants-Appellees, Trident NGL Inc., Movant-Appellee. Summary Calendar.
Decision Date18 December 1996
Docket NumberNo. 95-21023

Page 448

101 F.3d 448
36 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1531, 11 Tex.Bankr.Ct.Rep. 12,
45 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1447
Robin Ray DODDY; Jeanette W. Doddy, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
OXY USA, INC.; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Petrolite
Corporation; Treatolite-Petrolite Company; Treatolite
Chemicals; Nalco Chemical Co., also known as Nalco Chemical
Company Inc.; Bolt Fuel Oil Company Inc.; Pride Petroleum
Services, also known as Pride Petroleum Services Inc.;
Baker Hughes Incorporated, also known as Baker Hughes
Incorporated; Baker Hughes Oil Field Operation Inc.,
formerly known as Baker Hughes Production Tools; Baker
Performance Chemicals Inc.; Baker Performance Chemicals;
Baker Performance Chemicals Incorporated; Pool Well
Servicing, also known as Pool Company (Texas) Inc.; The
Western Company, also known as Western Company of North
America; Halliburton Company, also known as Halliburton
Special Products, also known as Halliburton Services; Ancor
Services Inc., also known as ASI Inc., also known as ASI;
Billy Don Thomas, Individually and as Agent; Mark D.
Johnson, Individually and as Agent; Paul Painter,
Individually and as trustee; Central Title Company; Hart
Engineering Company; Pool Well Servicing; Pool Company
(Texas) Inc.; Halliburton Services; Halliburton Special
Products; Pride Petroleum Services Inc., Defendants-Appellees,
Trident NGL Inc., Movant-Appellee.
No. 95-21023
Summary Calendar.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Dec. 18, 1996.

Page 453

Robert D. Rapp, Houston, TX, Joe Waylon Stuckey, Houston, TX, for plaintiffs-appellants.

James E. Essig, D. Mitchel McFarland, Michael G. Walker, Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, Hill & LaBoon, Houston, TX, for Oxy USA, Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Trident NGL Inc.

John Patrick Cahill, Jr., Mark Joseph Courtois, Funderburk & Funderburk, Houston, TX, for Petrolite Corp., Treatolite-Petrolite Co. and Treatolite Chemicals.

D. Dudley Oldham, Reagan Mark Brown, Rachel S. Giesber, Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston, TX, for Nalco Chemical Co. aka Nalco Chemical Company Inc., defendant-appellee.

Charmaine Aarons Holder, Alton J. Hall, Jr., Wickliff & Hall, Houston, TX, for Bolt Fuel Oil Company Inc., Ancor Services Inc., Central Title Co. and Hart Engineering Co.

William J. Mays, Houston, TX, for Pride Petroleum Services aka Pride Petroleum Services Inc., defendant-appellee.

James E. Essig, Charlie E. Baumann, Richard W. Staff, Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, Hill & LaBoon, Houston, TX, for Baker Hughes Inc., Baker Hughes Oil Field Operation Inc., Baker Performance Chemicals Inc., Baker Performance Chemicals and Baker Performance Chemicals Incorporated.

David Wilks Corban, Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston, TX, for Pool Well Servicing aka Pool Company (Texas) Inc., defendant-appellee.

Gregory Paul Crinion, Jackson & Walker, Houston, TX, for The Western Company aka Western Company of North America, defendant-appellee.

G. Byron Sims, Christopher Andrew Kesler, Brown, Sims, Wise and White, Houston, TX, for Halliburton Company aka Halliburton Special Products aka Halliburton Services, defendant-appellee.

Richard Francis Hightower, Brown, McCarroll, Oaks and Hartline, Houston, TX, Thomas John Ward, Brown, McCarroll, Oaks and Hartline, Longview, TX, for Painter.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Before DAVIS, EMILIO M. GARZA and STEWART, Circuit Judges.

Page 454

EMILIO M. GARZA, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiffs Robin Ray Doddy and Jeanette W. Doddy sued a number of defendants 1 whom they claimed owned, operated, or maintained an active oil and gas well--the McKinley "E" Lease Well No. 14 ("the well")--located near their home. The Doddys alleged that they had suffered property damage and personal injuries from toxic chemicals emanating from the well.

The district court disposed of all the claims against the defendants either through summary judgment or dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Doddys appeal the district court's denial of their motions to remand, its decision to strike portions of one of their affidavits, and its grant of motions for summary judgment or to dismiss made by the defendants. The Doddys also appeal the district court judge's decision to vacate her previous determination to recuse herself. We affirm.

I

In 1983, the Doddys bought a home in the East Texas Oil Field. The house is near the well and various connecting pipes. The well was drilled in 1936, and the home was built by a developer in 1979.

After living in the house, the Doddys allegedly suffered various injuries and illnesses, including joint and muscle aches, sinus infections, coughing, and fatigue. They believed that these injuries and illnesses stemmed from toxic chemicals used in or generated by the well and its adjoining structures. The Doddys then filed a complaint in Texas state court against almost 30 defendants. Supposedly, these defendants included the owners and operators of the well, the companies that serviced the well, and the individuals responsible for developing and selling the home. The Doddys asserted claims of strict liability, negligence, gross negligence, and products liability.

Western removed the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1452(a). Western was in bankruptcy proceedings at the time, and it maintained that the Doddys' action related to these proceedings. The Doddys then moved to remand, which motion the district court denied.

After the district court granted summary judgment to Western, the Doddys again moved to remand. They argued that the court now lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the lawsuit. The court denied the motion.

While this lawsuit was pending, Judge Harmon 2 was informed that defendant Nalco had become affiliated with Exxon Corporation. Because Judge Harmon owned Exxon stock, she sua sponte recused herself, and the case was assigned to another judge. Later that day, though, she reconsidered her initial decision. She vacated the order of recusal, and scheduled an evidentiary hearing to determine the relationship of Nalco to Exxon. At the hearing, Nalco presented evidence that it had formed a new entity with Exxon to pursue a joint venture, but that neither Exxon nor this new entity would be affected by the litigation. Judge Harmon then referred the recusal issue to the chief judge of the district court. He concluded that there was no basis for recusal.

Both before and after the recusal proceedings, Judge Harmon granted the defendants' motions to dismiss and for summary judgment.

Page 455

Ultimately, all of the Doddys' claims were dismissed.

On appeal, the Doddys allege numerous errors below, which can be grouped as follows. First, they claim that the district court wrongly denied their two motions to remand. Second, they allege that the district judge erred by setting aside her recusal order once she had issued it. Third, they maintain that the district court should not have stricken parts of one of their affidavits. Fourth, they challenge the district court's grant of Occidental's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and its grant of summary judgment as to Central, Trident, Petrolite, Baker, Halliburton, Pool, Nalco, Bolt, Pride, Ancor, and Oxy.

II

The Doddys contend that the district court should have granted their first motion to remand because their lawsuit was not a "core" proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 157. We lack jurisdiction to hear their appeal.

Because Western was involved in Chapter 11 proceedings in federal bankruptcy court, it removed this action from state court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1452. Section 1452 permits a party to remove a claim to federal district court if that court has jurisdiction over the claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1334. Section 1334 provides that federal district courts have original jurisdiction over all civil proceedings related to title 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

If a plaintiff seeks to remand a claim removed under 28 U.S.C. § 1452(a), then subsection (b) of that section applies. This subsection provides that

[t]he court to which [a claim or cause of action related to a bankruptcy case] is removed may remand such claim or cause of action on any equitable ground. An order entered under this subsection remanding a claim or cause of action, or a decision not to remand, is not reviewable by appeal or otherwise by the court of appeals under section 158(d), 1291, or 1292 of this title.

We have jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Therefore, we may not review the district court's decision not to remand.

III

The Doddys next contend that the district court erroneously denied their second motion to remand, which they filed after the court granted Western summary judgment. The Doddys aver that the dismissal of Western from the case divested the district court of subject matter jurisdiction, and thus the court was required to remand. We determine that the district court had discretion whether to retain jurisdiction over the Doddys' pendent state claims, and review its decision not to remand for abuse of discretion. Rosado v. Wyman, 397 U.S. 397, 401, 90 S.Ct. 1207, 1212, 25 L.Ed.2d 442 (1970). 3

Page 456

The Doddys' contention that the district court automatically lost subject matter jurisdiction over the case when the bankruptcy-related claims dropped out before trial is in error. See Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. v. K N Energy, Inc., 498 U.S. 426, 428, 111 S.Ct. 858, 860, 112 L.Ed.2d 951 (1991) (noting that "[w]e have consistently held that if jurisdiction exists at the time an action is commenced, such jurisdiction may not be divested by subsequent events"). The court had discretion whether to keep the Doddys' claims. It was certainly not required to remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). 4 See Carnegie-Mellon, 484 U.S. at 350 n. 7, 108 S.Ct. at 619 n. 7 (noting that in the "usual case," the court will dismiss pendent claims at the same time it dismisses federal ones, but...

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237 practice notes
  • U.S. v. O'Keefe, No. 96-31181
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 11, 1997
    ...ministerial acts necessary to transfer the case to another judge, even when recusal is improvidently decided. See Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 457 (5th Cir.1996) (holding that judge erred in vacating recusal order after recusing herself); Moody v. Simmons, 858 F.2d 137, 143 (3rd Ci......
  • In re Transcolor Corporation, Case Nos. 98-65483-JS (Bankr.Md. 10/5/2007), Case Nos. 98-65483-JS.
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Maryland
    • October 5, 2007
    ...only by the strictures enunciated in Peacock and other cases. Sasson v. Sokoloff (In re Sasson); 424 F.3d at 869; Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 456 (5th Cir. 1996) (district court had discretion to exercise supplementary jurisdiction rather than remand state claims that were part of......
  • U.S. v. O'Keefe, No. 99-30027
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • March 9, 1999
    ...the case to another judge, even when recusal is improvidently decided." O'Keefe I, 128 F.3d at 891 (citing "Doddy v. Oxy USA Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 457 (5th Cir.1996)(holding that judge erred in vacating recusal order after recusing herself); Moody v. Simmons, 858 F.2d 137, 143 (3rd Cir.1988)(......
  • Petrie v. City of Grapevine, No. 3–11–CV–0715–M.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
    • October 21, 2012
    ...a duty on the district court to sift through the record in search of evidence to support a party's opposition.” Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 463 (5th Cir.1996) (citing Jones v. Sheehan, Young & Culp, P.C., 82 F.3d 1334, 1338 (5th Cir.1996)). Rather, Rule 56 “saddles the non-movant ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
235 cases
  • U.S. v. O'Keefe, No. 96-31181
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 11, 1997
    ...ministerial acts necessary to transfer the case to another judge, even when recusal is improvidently decided. See Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 457 (5th Cir.1996) (holding that judge erred in vacating recusal order after recusing herself); Moody v. Simmons, 858 F.2d 137, 143 (3rd Ci......
  • In re Transcolor Corporation, Case Nos. 98-65483-JS (Bankr.Md. 10/5/2007), Case Nos. 98-65483-JS.
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Maryland
    • October 5, 2007
    ...only by the strictures enunciated in Peacock and other cases. Sasson v. Sokoloff (In re Sasson); 424 F.3d at 869; Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 456 (5th Cir. 1996) (district court had discretion to exercise supplementary jurisdiction rather than remand state claims that were part of......
  • U.S. v. O'Keefe, No. 99-30027
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • March 9, 1999
    ...the case to another judge, even when recusal is improvidently decided." O'Keefe I, 128 F.3d at 891 (citing "Doddy v. Oxy USA Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 457 (5th Cir.1996)(holding that judge erred in vacating recusal order after recusing herself); Moody v. Simmons, 858 F.2d 137, 143 (3rd Cir.1988)(......
  • Petrie v. City of Grapevine, No. 3–11–CV–0715–M.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
    • October 21, 2012
    ...a duty on the district court to sift through the record in search of evidence to support a party's opposition.” Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 463 (5th Cir.1996) (citing Jones v. Sheehan, Young & Culp, P.C., 82 F.3d 1334, 1338 (5th Cir.1996)). Rather, Rule 56 “saddles the non-movant ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • State and Regional Control of Geological Carbon Sequestration (Part I)
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 41-4, April 2011
    • April 1, 2011
    ...Claims, 39 Wake Forest L. Rev. 903, 942-61 (2004). 344. Klass & Wilson, Liability , supra note 45, at 142 (citing Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448, 462 (5th Cir. 1996); Jones v. Texaco, 945 F. Supp. 1037, 1050, 27 ELR 20517 (S.D. Tex. 1996); Wyrulec Co. v. Schutt, 866 P.2d 756, 761 (Wyo......

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