Owens-Illinois v. Meade

Decision Date02 March 1999
Docket NumberNo. 98-2218,P,OWENS-ILLINOI,CA-98-533-2,INCORPORATE,98-2218
Citation186 F.3d 435
Parties(4th Cir. 1999) etitioner-Appellant, v. DAVID L. MEADE; JERRY H. ADAMS; CHARLES ADKINS; GENEVA ADKINS; STANLEY ALLEN; MARGARET ALLEN; DERETTA ANDERSON; JOHN ANTOBIUS; JOSEPHINE ARNETT; JAMES ASHCRAFT; MARY ASHCRAFT; MARY AYERSMAN; ELIZABETH AYOOB; HERBERT BAKER; SUE BAKER; PAUL BASTIN; KATHLEEN BASTIN; ALFRED BECCALONI; FLORENCE BEEGHLEY; LOREN SMITH; BENNIE BENNETT; WILLIAM BENNETT; JOY BENNETT; JUNIOR BILLER; MARGARET BILLER; ZORA BOGDAN; ALBERT BOOTHE; MILDRED BOOTHE; MINNIE BOSLEY; ALICE BOYCE; LESLIE BOYCE; JOHN BRADSHAW; VIRGINIA BRADSHAW; JOHN BRAMER; FREEDA BRAMER; EARL BRITTON; MARY BRITTON; ROY CALDWELL; JUNE CALDWELL; PAUL CANTERBURY; TONI CANTERBURY; SAMUEL CAPET; ROBERT CARPENTER; VIRGINIA CARPENTER; DOLORES CHIERA; JAMES CHIERA; RUTH CLARK; LEO CLEVENGER; CLACY CLEVENGER; DOROTHY COGAR; MARY COULTER; LANTY COULTER; MILDRED COX; ROBERT COX; EARNEST CROSS; GEORGE CROSS; ATHELLA CROSS; SAMUEL CUTRONE; RUTH CUTRONE; ELLA DAVIS; OSCAR DAVIS; FRANCIS DEAN; LOUISE DEAN; GLENN DEAN; IDA DEAN; THEODORE DEPOLO; THEDA DEPOLO; AGNES DEROSA; LOUIS DEROSA; JULIE DIAZ; JAMES DINGESS; SONIA DINGESS; LEWIS DOSIER; MARY DOSIER; HELEN DOSS; FELIX DRAZBA; NOVELLA DRAZBA; KENNETH DURST; LORETTA DURST; ALBERTA EDGELL; WILLIAM EDGELL; CECIL ELDER; ALMA ELDER; JOHN EMRICK; BEVERLY EMRICK; JOANNE ERDEN; RUTH FAZIO; JAMES FISHER; PATRICIA FISHER; FREDERICK FLEMING; LOIS FLEMING; CLYDEAN FLOHR; GEORGE FLOHR; JAMES FLOYD; BETTIE FLOYD; CARL FREDERICK; CLEO FREDERICK; CHARLES FREEMAN; MARY FREEMAN; EULES FREEMAN; EMOGENE FREEMAN; ALPHONSE GENIN; HELEN GENIN; MADELINE GOOCH; MELVIN GOOCH; CHARLES GOODNIGHT; CARMELA GRAY; JAMES GRAY; DAVID GRIFFITH; GLORDIA GRINDO; DANNA HARRIS; FRANCIS HARRIS; FLORENCE HARRIS; AUBREY HARRIS; JIMMIE HICKMAN; MARY HICKMAN; EDNA HICKS; SHIRLEY HILEMAN; WILLIAM HINTER; MARY HINTER; ROGER HOLMES; SARA HOLMES; KENNETH HURST; BETTY HURST; CAROLE MARTIN HUTSON; RAYMOND INSANI; HAROLD JOHNS; MARY JOHNS; GARLAND JOHNSTON; BLANCHE JOHNSTON; HELEN JONES; SAMUE
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, at Charleston. Elizabeth V. Hallanan, Senior District Judge. [Copyrighted Material Omitted] COUNSEL ARGUED: William Clifford Wood, Jr., Robert Bruce Shaw, NELSON, MULLINS, RILEY & SCARBOROUGH, L.L.P., Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant. Elliott William Harvit, HARVIT & SCHWARTZ, L.C., Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellees. ON BRIEF: Robert O. Meriwether, NELSON, MULLINS, RILEY & SCARBOROUGH, L.L.P., Columbia, South Carolina; David K. Hendrickson, Peter B. King, HENDRICKSON & LONG, P.L.L.C., Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellant.

Before ERVIN, Circuit Judge,

VOORHEES, United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina, sitting by designation, and FABER, United States District Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia, sitting by designation.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Ervin wrote the opinion, in which Judge Voorhees and Judge Faber joined.

OPINION

ERVIN, Circuit Judge:

Owens-Illinois, Inc. ("Owens-Illinois") appeals a district court ruling dismissing its Petition to Compel Arbitration and two related motions for lack of jurisdiction because the parties to the motion were not completely diverse. Owens-Illinois argues that, even if the parties to the other motions filed simultaneously were not diverse, the district court erred in dismissing the Petition to Compel Arbitration in which the named parties were diverse. Because we conclude that the parties excluded from the Petition to Compel were necessary and indispensable parties under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19 and, because their joinder destroys diversity, the district court lacked jurisdiction over this case.

We affirm.

I.

Owens-Illinois is a manufacturing corporation incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Ohio.

On or about January 21, 1993, Owens-Illinois entered into a Settlement Agreement ("the Agreement") with West Virginia attorneys David L. Meade ("Meade"), William C. Field, and Joseph F. Rice. The Agreement specified the terms and process by which the attorneys' many clients ("Plaintiffs") would settle future asbestos tort cases they had against Owens-Illinois. The Agreement provided that Plaintiffs who had been exposed to asbestos contained in products manufactured by Owens-Illinois, and who had developed an asbestos related disease, could submit certain medical and exposure information and receive an expeditious, extra-judicial settlement offer from Owens-Illinois. Meade terminated the Agreement in June 1997, when, in his opinion, Owens-Illinois failed to comply with its obligations under the Agreement.

Following the termination of the Agreement, several Plaintiffs injured by Owens-Illinois' asbestos-related products filed tort actions in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia to recover for their injuries. The case filed in West Virginia state court is known as Haddix v. Owens-Illinois, Inc. et. al., C/A No. 91-C-2273, and includes Plaintiffs that were residents of both West Virginia and Ohio.

In an effort to block the Plaintiffs from pursuing their claims in state court, Owens-Illinois filed a Petition to Compel Arbitration in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia seeking enforcement of the Agreement's arbitration provisions. The petition contained the same caption as in the Haddix case pending before the state court naming "David L. Meade, Respondent Plaintiffs" as parties. In the first paragraph of the petition, however, Owens-Illinois explicitly stated that the parties for the purpose of the Petition to Compel were only those named in the attached list entitled Exhibit A. Exhibit A contained the names of a sub-group of the Haddix Plaintiffs consisting of only those that were residents of West Virginia, specifically excluding all Plaintiffs from Ohio.

At the same time, Owens-Illinois also filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and a Motion to Stay the state court proceedings. Both of the motions included the same caption as the Petition to Compel Arbitration, but neither contained a textual reference to Exhibit A or any indication that the parties were limited to only the Plaintiffs from West Virginia. Instead, Owens-Illinois referred loosely to enjoining the "Respondent Plaintiffs," defined as all of the people involved in the Haddix state court action.

On June 17, 1998, the district court held a hearing on OwensIllinois' Motion for a TRO. The court held that, because OwensIllinois was trying to enjoin each and every Haddix plaintiff from proceeding in state court, and some of these Plaintiffs shared citizenship with Owens-Illinois, complete diversity was lacking. The following day the district court entered an order dismissing all three of OwensIllinois' motions for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Owens-Illinois filed a Motion for Reconsideration on June 30, 1998, arguing that the district court erred in dismissing the Petition to Compel Arbitration because the "Respondent Plaintiffs" listed in the Motion for a TRO and the Motion to Stay were not the same parties as those explicitly listed in Exhibit A of the Petition to Compel Arbitration. The district court denied the motion reasoning that, because the three motions were filed at the same time and were intended to act in concert with one another to halt the state court action, the parties in all three motions were the same. Therefore, because some of the parties to the state court action included Ohio...

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