Grubbs v. General Electric Credit Corporation 8212 257, No. 71

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREHNQUIST
Citation31 L.Ed.2d 612,92 S.Ct. 1344,405 U.S. 699
Decision Date18 April 1972
Docket NumberNo. 71
PartiesT. R. GRUBBS dba T. R. Grubbs Tire & Appliance, Petitioner, v. GENERAL ELECTRIC CREDIT CORPORATION. —257

31 L.Ed.2d 612
92 S.Ct. 1344
405 U.S. 699
T. R. GRUBBS dba T. R. Grubbs Tire & Appliance, Petitioner,

v.

GENERAL ELECTRIC CREDIT CORPORATION.

No. 71—257.
Argued March 23, 1972.
Decided April 18, 1972.

Syllabus

Respondent, a New York corporation, brought suit for $66,000 on a promissory note against petitioner, a citizen of Texas, in a Texas state court, and petitioner filed a cross-action for $25,000 seeking damages for slander, conversion, and conspiracy in restraint of trade. A later cross-action included the United States, which held a judgment against petitioner, as a party defendant. The action was removed to the Federal District Court for trial of the issues, on petition of the United States. The District Court, without objection, considered all the issues and awarded petitioner a $20,000 judgment against respondent. The Court of Appeals, sua sponte, held that the District Court lacked jurisdiction and ordered the case returned to the state court. Held: Where after removal a case is tried on the merits without objection and the federal court enters a judgment, the issue on appeal is not whether the case was properly removed, but whether the District Court would have had original jurisdiction if the case had been filed in that court. Here there was diversity jurisdiction in the District Court if the action had been brought there originally. Pp. 702—706.

447 F.2d 286, reversed and remanded.

Bill J. Cornelius, Jefferson, Tex., for petitioner.

Hubert D. Johnson, Dallas, Tex., for respondent.

Mr. Justice REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner recovered a money judgment against respondent in the United States District Court for the

Page 700

Eastern District of Taxes, and respondent appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. That court held the District Court lacked jurisdiction of the case, and reversed the judgment with instructions that the case be remanded to the Texas state court whence it had been removed. This Court granted certiorari, 404 U.S. 983, 92 S.Ct. 446, 30 L.Ed.2d 366. We have concluded that, whether or not the case was properly removed, the District Court did have jurisdiction of the parties at the time it entered judgment. Under such circumstances the validity of the removal procedure followed may not be raised for the first time on appeal, and we accordingly reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

In September 1964 respondent General Electric Credit Corp. (GECC) commenced a lawsuit against petitioner Grubbs by the filing of a petition in the Texas state trial court. The petition sought recovery upon a promissory note claimed to have been previously executed by petitioner to GECC in the principal sum of some $66,000. Two years later, petitioner Grubbs filed an amended answer and 'cross-action,' seeking damages from respondent and from the General Electric Co. (GE) by reason of alleged slander, conversion, and conspiracy in restraint of trade.1 GE appeared in the state court in answer to petitioner's cross-action against it, and respondent likewise filed an answer.

The following year, petitioner filed a second amended answer and cross-actions, one of which included the United States as an added party defendant. The basis asserted by petitioner for naming the United States as a party was the fact that the latter held an out-

Page 701

standing judgment against petitioner, as did several of his other creditors, and petitioner prayed the state court to determine priorities among the judgment liens. Responding to the gathering momentum of this long-dormant lawsuit, the United States then filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas a petition for removal of the action to that court 'for trial and determination upon the merits of all issues or claims therein, as is provided by Title 28, Section(s) 1444, 1441(c) and 1446.'

All of the parties treated the effect of the removal petition as placing before the District Court not only the claim by petitioner against the United States for adjudication of lien priorities, but also respondent's claim against petitioner on the promissory note and petitioner's claim for damages against respondent based on conspiracy to restrain trade and tortious interference with business relations.

At no time following the filing of the removal petition by the United States did respondent, by motion to remand or otherwise, object to the District Court's taking jurisdiction of the entire 'action.' In that court, the United States answered petitioner's cross-action and filed its own 'cross-action' against respondent and GE, asserting that the latter two had maliciously interfered with the contractual relationship between petitioner and the United States, and seeking damages as a result of this alleged wrong.

The case was ultimately tried to the District Court without a jury. That court held against...

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375 practice notes
  • Maseda v. Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Nos. 87-5866
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • December 19, 1988
    ...whether original jurisdiction existed over the case at the time the court entered the judgment. Grubbs v. General Elec. Credit Corp., 405 U.S. 699, 702, 92 S.Ct. 1344, 1347, 31 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972). This case, however, presents a unique situation because the plaintiffs dismissed their claims ......
  • Tps Utilicom Services, Inc. v. At & T Corp., No. CV 01-9237 SVW (SHx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • August 21, 2002
    ...of subject matter jurisdiction at time of judgment cures any defects in removal procedure. See Grubbs v. General Elec. Credit Corp., 405 U.S. 699, 702, 92 S.Ct. 1344, 31 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972)."). In this action, TPS strongly objects to any new theory of federal question jurisdiction and argues......
  • Holbein v. TAW Enters., No. 18-2892
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 30, 2020
    ...removed, but whether the federal district court would have had original jurisdiction of the case had it been filed in that court." 405 U.S. 699, 702 (1972). As noted above, nine of our sister circuits have followed this logic and concluded that the forum-defendant rule is nonjurisdictional.......
  • Holbein v. TAW Enterprises, Inc., No. 18-2892
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 30, 2020
    ...removed, but whether the federal district court would have had original jurisdiction of the case had it been filed in that court." 405 U.S. 699, 702, 92 S.Ct. 1344, 31 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972).As noted above, nine of our sister circuits have followed this logic and concluded that the forum-defend......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
375 cases
  • Maseda v. Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Nos. 87-5866
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • December 19, 1988
    ...whether original jurisdiction existed over the case at the time the court entered the judgment. Grubbs v. General Elec. Credit Corp., 405 U.S. 699, 702, 92 S.Ct. 1344, 1347, 31 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972). This case, however, presents a unique situation because the plaintiffs dismissed their claims ......
  • Tps Utilicom Services, Inc. v. At & T Corp., No. CV 01-9237 SVW (SHx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • August 21, 2002
    ...of subject matter jurisdiction at time of judgment cures any defects in removal procedure. See Grubbs v. General Elec. Credit Corp., 405 U.S. 699, 702, 92 S.Ct. 1344, 31 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972)."). In this action, TPS strongly objects to any new theory of federal question jurisdiction and argues......
  • Holbein v. TAW Enters., No. 18-2892
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 30, 2020
    ...removed, but whether the federal district court would have had original jurisdiction of the case had it been filed in that court." 405 U.S. 699, 702 (1972). As noted above, nine of our sister circuits have followed this logic and concluded that the forum-defendant rule is nonjurisdictional.......
  • Holbein v. TAW Enterprises, Inc., No. 18-2892
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 30, 2020
    ...removed, but whether the federal district court would have had original jurisdiction of the case had it been filed in that court." 405 U.S. 699, 702, 92 S.Ct. 1344, 31 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972).As noted above, nine of our sister circuits have followed this logic and concluded that the forum-defend......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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