We’re thinking of posting entries called “There’ll Always Be Posner,” comments on opinions by Judge Posner, which typically are brilliant and snappily written, typically address jurisdictional issues that nobody raised, typically take a journey through various far-flung areas of law, and, finally, typically arrive at a clear-cut result – all the while disdaining footnotes and oozing disappointment with the quality of advocacy.
The parties apparently agreed that there was diversity jurisdiction. Not so fast, says the Seventh Circuit. There is no way the plaintiff could have in good faith claimed damages in excess of $75,000. Why? The court does not disclose that until the end of the opinion. Instead, at this point the court explores other issues. (It’s like a Tarantino movie, only without the gunplay).
So where are we? Still in federal court, because the state law claims were litigated, neither side is arguing for relinquishment, and judicial economy suggests that we simply get on with it. Whew! (Isn’t this sort of like Marbury v. Madison, an intellectual tour de force that, when you get right down to it, is breathtaking dicta?) But we're not done with jurisdiction quite yet. It continues to lurk off-stage.
- There is no fraud
- There are no damages
- There really shouldn’t be diversity jurisdiction.