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Avitts v. Amoco Prod. Co.

ELR Citation: 25 ELR 21388
Nos. Nos. 94-60058, -60059, 53 F.3d 690/(5th Cir., 05/22/1995)

The court holds that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction in an action brought by surface and royalty interest owners against past and current operators of an oil field for alleged injuries to the owners' property interests. The court first holds that removal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1441 does not exist, because the interest owners have not asserted a federal cause of action, and the district court thus did not have original jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint. The court then holds that supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1367(c) is inapplicable. By its terms, §1367(c) presupposes that the district court obtained supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims via original jurisdiction over federal claims arising from the same case or controversy. The court next holds that the interest owners' reference in a joint pretrial order to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Oil Pollution Act as a means to calculate damages does not create a cause of action under either Act. And subject matter jurisdiction can be created only by pleading a cause of action within the district court's original jurisdiction.

Counsel for Appellant
Jennifer B. Hogan
Fulbright & Jaworski
1301 McKinney, Ste. 5100, Houston TX 77010
(713) 651-5151

Counsel for Appellee
Alton C. Todd
Todd & Hagood
First National Bank Bldg.
1600 E. Hwy. Six, Ste. 418, Alvin TX 77511
(713) 331-2323

Before DUHE, DeMOSS and LAY,1 Circuit Judges.