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Conservation Council of W. Austl. v. Aluminum Co. of Am.

Citation: 11 ELR 21032
No. No. 81-293, 518 F. Supp. 270/(W.D. Pa., 07/09/1981)

The district court holds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a suit brought by an Australian conservation group to halt mining and refining operations being conducted in Western Australia by American corporations and their affiliates. The court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1337 because plaintiffs' antitrust cause of action alleges only that defendants' conduct had effects on the regional resources and environmental systems of Western Australia and fails to allege any effects on United States commerce. In addition, the court is without jurisdiction based on (1) general federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. §1331, since the complaint is devoid of any allegation that the action arises under a federal statute or federal common law right, (2) "equitable jurisdiction" since federal courts may grant equitable relief only if there is an independent statutory basis for federal jurisdiction, and (3) diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. §1332(a), since there was a failure to join an indispensable party who, if joined, would destroy diversity of citizenship. Finally, the court notes that even if it were possessed of subject matter jurisdiction over the case, it would dismiss plaintiffs' complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted since Australia, whose substantive law the court would be bound to apply, has enacted no environmental laws addressed to the actions in dispute.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (13 pp. $2.25, ELR Order No. C-1260).

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Victor J. Yannacone
Yannacone & Yannacone
P.O. Drawer 109, Patchogue NY 11772
(516) 654-2299

William T. Jorden
McClure, Dart, Miller, Kelleher & White
501 Marine Bank Bldg., Erie PA 16501
(814) 453-3681

Counsel for Defendants
Frank L. Seamans, John H. Morgan
Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott
42d Floor, 600 Grant St., Pittsburgh PA 15219
(412) 566-6000

Cohill, J.