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Friday, September 24, 2010

No Supplemental Jurisdiction for a Diversity Case with a Local Intervenor for Chump Change

The only published opinion that came down from the Fifth Circuit Thursday is Griffin v. Lee, No. 09-30734, a per curiam from Chief Judge Edith Jones, Circuit Judge Edward C. Prado, and District Judge Halil S. Ozerden. Sylvester Griffin, a Mississippian, represented by Robert A. Lee, a Louisianan, sued persons from Delaware, Louisiana, New York and Ohio to reform a trust he was the beneficiary of. The suit was filed in Louisiana and was removed to the Monroe, Louisiana federal court under diversity jurisdiction. Lee was allowed to withdraw and intervened under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24, seeking his fee from out of the funds of the suit. His claim was less than $75,000. The trial court allowed Lee's claim under supplemental jurisdiction, and the Fives reversed and rendered a take-nothing judgment to Lee because, under 28 U.S.C. section 1367(b), there is not supplemental jurisdiction where complete diversity of citizenship has been destroyed and the amount in controversy is not great enough.

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