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CHELTENHAM SUPPLY CORP. v. CONRAIL

May 25, 1982

CHELTENHAM SUPPLY CORPORATION
v.
CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GILES

MEMORANDUM

Before me is a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction filed by defendant Artwalt Corporation d/b/a Glenwood Warehouse ("Artwalt"). Plaintiff, Cheltenham Supply Corporation, instituted this suit against defendant Consolidated Rail Corporation ("Conrail") to recover damages for loss of eighty-three bales of film scrap. Plaintiff ordered the film scrap from the shipper, Hercules, Inc., and Conrail, as delivering carrier, was to deliver it to Glenwood Warehouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 Plaintiff asserts two alternative theories of recovery in its amended complaint, either: (1) that Conrail failed to deliver the carload of scrap material to Glenwood Warehouse, or (2) that defendants Artwalt and Glenwood Corporation d/b/a Glenwood Warehouse *fn1" received the goods and failed to notify plaintiff of receipt of the car from Conrail, improperly unloaded the car and disposed of the contents, or refused to accept the car from Conrail after tender of delivery.

 Jurisdiction is properly asserted over defendant Conrail by virtue of the revised Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C. § 11707, which provides for liability of initial carriers and delivering carriers under receipts and bills of lading. The sole alleged basis of jurisdiction over Artwalt and Glenwood Corporation is pendent jurisdiction. *fn2"

 Defendant Artwalt moved to dismiss the complaint as to it for lack of jurisdiction. It asserts that the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction cannot be exercised to join a party on the basis of a state-law claim over which there is no independent basis for federal jurisdiction. Plaintiff argues that once the jurisdiction of a federal court has been properly invoked, here by virtue of the federal claim against Conrail, the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction can be used to establish federal jurisdiction over parties who are joined pursuant to state law claims.

 For the reasons set forth below, I agree with defendant Artwalt, and grant Artwalt's motion to dismiss.

 This motion presents the issue of whether a plaintiff, in court under a valid federal cause of action against one defendant, may append onto that federal cause of action a state claim against a second defendant as to whom there is no independent federal jurisdiction. In other words, I must decide whether the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction extends to a "pendent party." *fn3"

 The starting point for this court's analysis of the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction is United Mineworkers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 86 S. Ct. 1130, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218 (1966). In Gibbs, the United States Supreme Court expanded the pendent jurisdiction of the federal courts by holding that federal courts had the power under Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution to hear a pendent state claim, as well as a federal claim, provided:

 
(1) The federal claim is substantial;
 
(2) The state and federal claims derive from a common nucleus of operative fact; and
 
(3) The claims are such that plaintiff would ordinarily be expected to try them in one proceeding, if considered without regard to their federal or state character.

 Id. at 725, 86 S. Ct. at 1138.

 Once a federal court determines that it has the power to hear a state claim, it must then decide, as a matter of discretion, whether the power should be exercised in a given case in light of considerations of judicial economy, convenience, and fairness to litigants. Id. at 726, 86 S. Ct. at 1139.

 Guided by the expansive tone of Gibbs, many courts of appeals, including the Third Circuit, extended the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction to pendent party cases. ...


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