Monday, March 19, 2012

BEPCO, L.P. v. Santa Fe Minerals, Inc.

Mar 15: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Case No. 11-30986. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. As explained by the Appeals Court, in 2008, BEPCO, L.P. sued Santa Fe Minerals, Inc. in Louisiana state court. In its petition, BEPCO set forth claims for indemnity and contribution in an attempt to recover money it had paid out in a settlement. Santa Fe and a group of subsequently named defendants then filed cross-claims and third-party claims against a multitude of insurers and underwriters, including Lloyd's London.
    Among the Lloyd's London insurers named by the defendants was the Insurance Corporation of Ireland, which is now known as ICAROM. In January 2011, ICAROM exercised its right to removal under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. After BEPCO objected to removal, the district court remanded the case to state court. ICAROM now appeals the district court's remand order. The Appeals Court said, "Because we lack jurisdiction to review this order, we dismiss ICAROM's appeal."
    In April 2005, the landowners filed suit against BEPCO and Santa Fe Minerals, and alleged that contaminated water produced from oil wells on the "Tebow property" was disposed of in unlined earthen pits on their property. According to the landowners, some of the contaminated water entered a drinking water aquifer. As relief for their injuries, the landowners sought $320 million."
    On appeal, ICAROM argues that the district court exceeded its statutory authority by ordering a remand on the basis of an objection that was not raised within the 30-day limit prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The Appeals Court indicates, ". . .the threshold question that controls us is whether we have jurisdiction to consider this petition. 'In re Adm'rs of Tulane Educ. Fund, 954 F.2d 266, 268 (5th Cir. 1992) (quoting In re Allied-Signal, Inc., 919 F.2d 277, 279 (5th Cir. 1990)). Generally, as stated above, [a]n order remanding a case to the State court from which it was removed is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise[.]" 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d). "This proscription includes petitions for mandamus.' In re Adm'rs of Tulane Educ. Fund, 954 F.2d at 268 (citing Gravitt v. Sw. Bell Tel. Co., 430 U.S. 723 (1977))."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Remed, #CA5]
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