Exxon Mobile Corp V. Allapattah Services

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Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Services, Inc.
545 U.S. 546 (2005)

Facts of the Case:
In 1991 about 10,000 Exxon dealers sued Exxon Corporation in federal court, alleging that the corporation had engaged in an extensive scheme to overcharge them for fuel. A jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, but the District Court judge certified the case for review on the question of supplemental jurisdiction. Some of the multiple plaintiffs in the case had claims that did not meet the minimum amount necessary to qualify for federal diversity jurisdiction (currently $75,000). In 1990 Congress had enacted 28 U.S.C. Section 1367, overturning Finley v. United States, which had narrowly interpreted federal courts' power to confer supplementary jurisdiction on related claims. The question for the District Court was whether Section 1367 also overturned Zahn v. International Paper Co., which ruled that each plaintiff had to separately meet the minimum amount-in-controversy requirement. The District Court accepted the plaintiffs' argument that Section 1367 gave federal courts power to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs with related claims, even if some plaintiffs' claims did not meet the required amount. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court's ruling on supplemental jurisdiction. However, this ruling conflicted with the ruling of another Circuit, which had taken the opposite view of Section 1367's scope (see Ortega v. Star-Kist Foods, No. 04-79). The Supreme Court granted certiorari and consolidated the cases for argument.

In a civil action where one plaintiff's claim satisfies the minimum amount-in-controversy requirement for federal diversity jurisdiction, and another plaintiff's related claim does not, does 28 U.S.C. Section 1367 allow federal courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the claim that is less than the required amount?

Yes. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that as...
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