Monday, February 11, 2013

Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets case brief

Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets case brief summary
313 U.S. 100

SYNOPSIS: Petitioner appealed a decision of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which reversed a judgment in favor of petitioner on respondent's state-court counterclaim for breach of contract, on grounds that petitioner was a state-court plaintiff and therefore could not have removed the case to federal court under § 28 of the Judicial Code, 24 Stat. 552.

-Petitioner argued that although § 28 of the Judicial Code only allowed removal by defendants, petitioner was a defendant in the counterclaim.
-Respondent, a citizen of Texas and defendant in a court of that state, set up by way of counterclaim or cross-action against petitioner, the non-citizen plaintiff in the suit, a cause of action for damages in excess of $ 3,000 for breach of a contract, which was separate and distinct from the alleged indebtedness sued upon by the petitioner

-The Court held that the removal statute as formulated by § 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 79, had nearly identical language to the current statute and was interpreted as having allowed removal only by initial state-court defendants, not plaintiffs who were defendants to counterclaims.


-Although the removal statute at times had been liberalized to allow removal by either party, Congress was aware of the history of the statute and would have used appropriate language if it had intended a different construction than the one the Court adopted under § 12 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, for the current statute, which removed all reference to plaintiffs.
-Strict construction of Congressional jurisdiction legislation was required by due regard for the states' power to provide for determination of controversies in their courts.

OUTCOME: The Court affirmed the lower court's decision.

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