Ancillary jurisdiction


Ancillary jurisdiction

Ancillary jurisdiction allows a federal court to hear certain claims sufficiently related to the original claim that would otherwise defeat the court's jurisdiction. Whereas pendent jurisdiction allows a federal court to hear state claims sufficiently related to an original federal claim, ancillary jurisdiction applies when the parties are in federal court because of diversity (i.e., each defendant is from a state different than each plaintiff) and one party wants to bring a claim against another party (possibly a third-party) which would otherwise defeat that diversity. For example, a California resident (the plaintiff) might sue a New York resident (the defendant) in federal court based on diversity but the New York resident wants to implead his New-York-based insurance company, an action that would otherwise defeat diversity because the Third-party Plaintiff (defendant in the original action) and the insurance company (Third-party Defendant) are from the same state. Ancillary jurisdiction allows the federal court to continue hearing the case despite this lack of diversity because bringing in the insurance company is sufficiently related to and necessary for the fair conclusion of the claim.

There are two important restraints on ancillary jurisdiction. First, the additional non-federal claim must be sufficiently related to the original claim ("ancillary and dependent" rather than "new and independent"). Compulsory claims, claims which must be heard in the present case or they will be lost, are especially likely to be heard. Second, a court is far more likely to grant ancillary jurisdiction to a claim asserted by the defendant rather than the plaintiff because the plaintiff chose the court in which to bring their case whereas the defendant was forced into the plaintiff's choice. This preference for defendants helps prevent a plaintiff from getting into federal court through suing one diverse defendant and simply impleading in the necessary non-diverse parties.

Areas where ancillary jurisdiction can be asserted include counterclaims (Fed. R. Civ. P. 13), cross-claims (Fed. R. Civ. P. 13), impleader (Fed. R. Civ. P. 14), interpleader (Fed. R. Civ. P. 22) and interventions (Fed. R. Civ. P. 24).

The seminal case on ancillary jurisdiction is "Owen Equipment & Erection Co. v. Kroger", 437 U.S. 365 (1978), and the holding of that case has now been codified by Congress in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(b), part of its supplemental jurisdiction statute.

Sources

"Owen Equipment & Erection Co. v. Kroger", 437 U.S. 365 (1978).

UnitedStatesCode|28|1367 (2006).


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