City of Oakland v. BP PLC, No. 18-16663 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Defendants removed two complaints brought by California cities in state court alleging that defendants' production and promotion of fossil fuels is a public nuisance under California law.
The Ninth Circuit held that the state-law claim for public nuisance does not arise under federal law for purposes of 28 U.S.C. 1331, and remanded to the district court to consider whether there was an alternative basis for subject-matter jurisdiction. The panel held that neither exception to the well-pleaded-complaint rule applies to the original complaints and thus the district court erred in holding that it had jurisdiction under section 1331 at the time of removal. The panel also held that the cities cured any subject-matter jurisdiction defect by amending their complaints to assert a claim under federal common law. The panel joined the Fifth Circuit in holding that a dismissal for failure to state a claim, unlike a grant of summary judgment or judgment after trial, is generally insufficient to forestall an otherwise proper remand.