Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader, No. 84-3737

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore CLARK, Chief Judge, GARWOOD, and DAVIS; PER CURIAM
Citation762 F.2d 1295
PartiesPanos GIANNAKOS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. M/V BRAVO TRADER, Her Engines, Tackle, Apparel, Furniture, etc., In Rem, and Kenneth C. Scullin, Gulf Trading Company, and Hyperion Helios Shipping Corporation In Personam, Defendants, Kenneth C. Scullin, Defendant-Appellant. Summary Calendar.
Docket NumberNo. 84-3737
Decision Date17 June 1985

Page 1295

762 F.2d 1295
3 Fed.R.Serv.3d 357
Panos GIANNAKOS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
M/V BRAVO TRADER, Her Engines, Tackle, Apparel, Furniture,
etc., In Rem, and Kenneth C. Scullin, Gulf Trading
Company, and Hyperion Helios Shipping
Corporation In Personam, Defendants,
Kenneth C. Scullin, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 84-3737
Summary Calendar.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
June 17, 1985.

Page 1296

Gilbert R. Buras, Jr., New Orleans, La., for defendant-appellant.

Leger & Mestayer, Michael J. Mestayer, New Orleans, La., for plaintiff-appellee.

Page 1297

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before CLARK, Chief Judge, GARWOOD, and DAVIS, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Kenneth C. Scullin asks us to vacate the district court's judgment enforcing a settlement agreement between Scullin and Panos Giannakos on the grounds that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the suit. We vacate and remand.

I

Giannakos filed suit in 1981 alleging that Scullin and two corporations controlled by Scullin, Gulf Trading Company and Hyperion Helios Shipping Corporation, had failed to compensate Giannakos for services rendered in accordance with an oral contract between Giannakos and Scullin. Under the contract Giannakos was to serve as a consultant to aid defendants' efforts to purchase, construct, and operate various passenger vessels.

In May 1984 Scullin filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). The parties settled before the trial judge ruled on this motion. However, defendants failed to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement. Giannakos then applied to the court for an order enforcing the agreement. The judge entered the requested order, still without addressing the question of subject matter jurisdiction.

II

On appeal Scullin contends that the order enforcing the settlement agreement was invalid because the court lacked jurisdiction over the underlying controversy. Giannakos maintains that defendants waived this issue by entering into the settlement before the district court resolved the jurisdictional question and are now estopped from raising it as a defense to enforcement of the agreement. In the alternative, he asserts that the court had proper jurisdiction based on general maritime law and diversity of citizenship.

A

Inferior federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. 13 C. Wright, A. Miller & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure Sec. 3522 (1984) (hereinafter C. Wright). Unless a dispute falls within the confines of the jurisdiction conferred by Congress, such courts do not have the authority to issue orders regarding its resolution. The question of subject matter jurisdiction can never be waived. Nor can jurisdiction be conferred by conduct or consent of the parties. C. Wright, supra. See Eagerton v. Valuations, Inc., 698 F.2d 1115, 1118 (11th Cir.1983); A.L. Rowan & Son v. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 611 F.2d 997, 998-99 (5th Cir.1980). Such jurisdiction goes to the core of the court's power to act, not merely to the rights of the particular parties. If jurisdiction could be waived or created by the parties, litigants would be able to expand federal jurisdiction by action, agreement, or their failure to perceive a jurisdictional defect. Such a result would be in direct conflict with the concept of limited jurisdiction. Therefore, United States...

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123 practice notes
  • Cephus v. Tex. Health & Human Servs. Comm'n, Civ. A. H-14-696
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • November 19, 2015
    ...questions sua sponte when the parties' briefs do not bring the issue to the court's attention.”)(same); Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader , 762 F.2d 1295, 1297 (5th Cir.1985) (per curiam )(same). The Court may find lack of subject matter jurisdiction on any of the following three bases: (1) the......
  • Thomas v. State, Civil Action No. 3:17–CV–0348–N–BH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
    • February 13, 2018
    ...to consider the question of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte if it is not raised by the parties." Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader , 762 F.2d 1295, 1297 (5th Cir. 1985). If the court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it has a duty to dismiss the case. Id. ; Fed. R. Civ. P.......
  • Insituform Techs., Inc. v. Amerik Supplies, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:08–cv–333–TCB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • March 29, 2012
    ...generally considered a citizen of a foreign state, even if that person is residing in the United States. Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader, 762 F.2d 1295, 1298 (5th Cir.1985). The only exceptions to this rule are where the person is also a citizen of the United States, Las Vistas Villas, S.A. v......
  • Lawal v. British Airways, PLC, Civ. A. No. H-91-0082.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • November 24, 1992
    ...645 F.2d 404, 413 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 897, 102 S.Ct. 396, 70 L.Ed.2d 212 (1981)); see Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader, 762 F.2d 1295, 1298 (5th Cir.1985) (universal standard to assess subject matter jurisdiction conflicts). This Court has a great deal of discretion to decide ju......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
123 cases
  • Cephus v. Tex. Health & Human Servs. Comm'n, Civ. A. H-14-696
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • November 19, 2015
    ...questions sua sponte when the parties' briefs do not bring the issue to the court's attention.”)(same); Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader , 762 F.2d 1295, 1297 (5th Cir.1985) (per curiam )(same). The Court may find lack of subject matter jurisdiction on any of the following three bases: (1) the......
  • Thomas v. State, Civil Action No. 3:17–CV–0348–N–BH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
    • February 13, 2018
    ...to consider the question of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte if it is not raised by the parties." Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader , 762 F.2d 1295, 1297 (5th Cir. 1985). If the court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it has a duty to dismiss the case. Id. ; Fed. R. Civ. P.......
  • Insituform Techs., Inc. v. Amerik Supplies, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:08–cv–333–TCB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • March 29, 2012
    ...generally considered a citizen of a foreign state, even if that person is residing in the United States. Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader, 762 F.2d 1295, 1298 (5th Cir.1985). The only exceptions to this rule are where the person is also a citizen of the United States, Las Vistas Villas, S.A. v......
  • Lawal v. British Airways, PLC, Civ. A. No. H-91-0082.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • November 24, 1992
    ...645 F.2d 404, 413 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 897, 102 S.Ct. 396, 70 L.Ed.2d 212 (1981)); see Giannakos v. M/V Bravo Trader, 762 F.2d 1295, 1298 (5th Cir.1985) (universal standard to assess subject matter jurisdiction conflicts). This Court has a great deal of discretion to decide ju......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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