General Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., No. 80-5830

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore TANG and NELSON; NELSON; ENRIGHT
PartiesGENERAL ATOMIC CO., Appellant, v. UNITED NUCLEAR CORP., Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 80-5830
Decision Date08 September 1981

Page 968

655 F.2d 968
GENERAL ATOMIC CO., Appellant,
v.
UNITED NUCLEAR CORP., Appellee.
No. 80-5830.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted June 2, 1981.
Decided Sept. 8, 1981.

Nathan Lewin, Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, Washington, D.C., for appellant.

Richard T. Conway, San Diego, Cal., argued, for appellee; Paul B. Wells, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, San Diego, Cal., Charles D. Olmsted, Bigbee, Stephenson, Carpenter, Crout & Olmsted, Santa Fe, N.M., on brief.

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

Before TANG and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and WILLIAMS, * District Judge.

NELSON, Circuit Judge:

In this expedited appeal, General Atomic Company ("GAC") seeks review of the district court's dismissal, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, of GAC's application for confirmation of an arbitration award pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 9. We affirm.

"It is a fundamental principle that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. The limits upon federal jurisdiction, whether imposed by the Constitution or by Congress, must be neither disregarded nor evaded." Owen Equipment & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374, 98 S.Ct. 2396, 2403, 57 L.Ed.2d 274 (1978). A federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a

Page 969

particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears. California ex rel. Younger v. Andrus, 608 F.2d 1247, 1249 (9th Cir. 1979). See generally 13 C. Wright, A. Miller & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3522 (1975).

GAC argues that subject matter jurisdiction for confirmation of an arbitration award arises from the very language of section 9. We disagree, however, and feel that such an interpretation would work great mischief to the overall scheme of the Arbitration Act. In particular, that interpretation presents a significant possibility of eviscerating the clear limits on federal jurisdiction contained in sections 3 and 4. GAC's expansive interpretation would mean, for example, that a district court lacking jurisdiction to compel arbitration under section 4 might nonetheless threaten to confirm a subsequent ex parte award under section 9. Such a threat would have a substantial compulsory effect. We cannot approve an interpretation which would achieve by indirection that which Congress has clearly forbidden.

The district court's unpublished decision is set forth in the appendix annexed to this opinion. After independently examining the issues we find that we entirely agree with the district court's decision and its accompanying reasons. We therefore affirm its judgment and adopt its analysis of the issues. No useful purpose would be served by our extending this opinion to repeat the analysis.

We hold that applicants who, in federal district court, seek confirmation of an arbitration award under 9 U.S.C. § 9, must demonstrate independent grounds of federal subject matter jurisdiction. The provisions of 9 U.S.C. § 9 do not in themselves confer subject matter jurisdiction on a federal district court. Because no independent ground of jurisdiction existed in the case under review, the district court correctly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

AFFIRMED.

APPENDIX *

DISTRICT COURT
MEMORANDUM DECISION

ENRIGHT, District Judge:

In this action applicant General Atomic Company (GAC) seeks confirmation of the Partial and Final Arbitration Awards rendered in San Diego by the Arbitration Panel in the above named matter, pursuant to the provisions of 9 U.S.C. § 9. In connection with its application for confirmation, GAC moved this court for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the New Mexico state court from conducting proceedings in connection with United Nuclear Corporation's (UNC's) motions therein for vacation of the awards.

In 1973 UNC and Gulf entered into a Supply Agreement (1973 Supply Agreement) which contained an arbitration clause, whereby UNC agreed to supply uranium to Gulf. Subsequently, Gulf assigned its interest in the Agreement to GAC, the applicant herein. In 1975, UNC ceased deliveries of uranium under the Agreement and instituted proceedings in the New Mexico state court system against GAC. In November of 1979, GAC filed a demand to arbitrate with the American Arbitration Association in San Diego. In the arbitration proceedings at issue herein, the Panel attempted to resolve both the procedural intricacies and the merits of the 1973 Supply Agreement disputes between GAC and UNC.

In the Partial Award, dated November 14, 1979, the Panel held that it was not required to give full faith and credit to the New Mexico state court decisions regarding the validity of the 1973 Supply Agreement. In addition, it found that GAC had not waived its right to invoke the arbitration provision contained in the Supply Agreement. The Panel held in the Final Award, dated September 10, 1980, that the 1973 Supply Agreement was valid and enforceable against UNC. It further ordered UNC to specifically perform portions of the

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Agreement and to pay GAC $301,181,635 in damages for breach thereof.

In addition to the issues UNC has raised regarding the merits of the decisions issued by the Arbitration Panel, it contends that this court lacks the requisite subject matter jurisdiction to entertain GAC's application.

Upon due consideration of the parties' memoranda and extensive exhibits, and the arguments advanced at the hearing, the court hereby dismisses the application for confirmation of the Partial and Final Arbitration Awards for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In addition,...

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166 practice notes
  • Centre for Independence of Judges v. Mabey, No. C 82-0158J.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Utah
    • March 12, 1982
    ...Workers Union of America, 451 U.S. 77, 95, 101 S.Ct. 1571, 1582, 67 L.Ed.2d 750 (1981); General Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968 (9th Cir. 1981); 13 C. Wright, A. Miller & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3522 A party seeking to maintain an action in the federal c......
  • Whatsapp Inc. v. NSO Grp. Techs. Ltd., Case No. 19-cv-07123-PJH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 16, 2020
    ...Ass'n of Am., Inc., No. C03-3560 SI, 2003 WL 22862662, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 26, 2003) (quoting Gen. Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968, 969 (9th Cir. 1981) ; and citing Cal. ex rel. Younger v. Andrus, 608 F.2d 1247, 1249 (9th Cir. 1979) ). A jurisdictional challenge may be fa......
  • Coal. for Clean Air, Nonprofit Corp. v. VWR Int'l, LLC, No. 1:12–CV–01569–LJO–BAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • February 6, 2013
    ...is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears. Gen. Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968, 968–69 (9th Cir.1981). A challenge to subject matter jurisdiction may be facial or factual. White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir.2000......
  • Krieg v. Mills, No. C 98-3800SI.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of California
    • May 15, 2000
    ...presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears." General Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968, 968-69 (9th Cir.1981). Accordingly, the burden rests on the party Page 967 federal subject matter jurisdiction to prove its existence. See......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
166 cases
  • Centre for Independence of Judges v. Mabey, No. C 82-0158J.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Utah
    • March 12, 1982
    ...Workers Union of America, 451 U.S. 77, 95, 101 S.Ct. 1571, 1582, 67 L.Ed.2d 750 (1981); General Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968 (9th Cir. 1981); 13 C. Wright, A. Miller & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3522 A party seeking to maintain an action in the federal c......
  • Whatsapp Inc. v. NSO Grp. Techs. Ltd., Case No. 19-cv-07123-PJH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 16, 2020
    ...Ass'n of Am., Inc., No. C03-3560 SI, 2003 WL 22862662, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 26, 2003) (quoting Gen. Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968, 969 (9th Cir. 1981) ; and citing Cal. ex rel. Younger v. Andrus, 608 F.2d 1247, 1249 (9th Cir. 1979) ). A jurisdictional challenge may be fa......
  • Coal. for Clean Air, Nonprofit Corp. v. VWR Int'l, LLC, No. 1:12–CV–01569–LJO–BAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • February 6, 2013
    ...is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears. Gen. Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968, 968–69 (9th Cir.1981). A challenge to subject matter jurisdiction may be facial or factual. White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir.2000......
  • Krieg v. Mills, No. C 98-3800SI.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of California
    • May 15, 2000
    ...presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears." General Atomic Co. v. United Nuclear Corp., 655 F.2d 968, 968-69 (9th Cir.1981). Accordingly, the burden rests on the party Page 967 federal subject matter jurisdiction to prove its existence. See......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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