Logourl black

Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis

United States Supreme Court
519 U.S. 61 (1996)


James David Lewis (plaintiff), a Kentucky resident, was injured while operating a bulldozer. Lewis filed a lawsuit against Caterpillar Inc. (Caterpillar) and Whayne Supply Company (Whayne) in state court alleging defective manufacturing, negligent maintenance, failure to warn, and breach of warranty. Caterpillar (defendant) was a Delaware corporation that manufactured the bulldozer. Whayne was a Kentucky corporation that maintained the bulldozer. Several months after the suit was filed, Liberty Mutual, a Massachusetts corporation, intervened as a plaintiff. Before trial commenced, Lewis settled with Whayne. Subsequently, Caterpillar motioned to remove the lawsuit from state court to federal court on the grounds of diversity of citizenship. Caterpillar argued that the settlement eliminated Whayne as a defendant and thus created complete diversity between the defendant and the plaintiffs. Lewis objected to the removal arguing that Liberty Mutual had not settled its claims against Whayne and thus Whayne remained a defendant to the suit, defeating complete diversity. The federal district court granted Caterpillar’s request for removal. After the grant of removal, Liberty Mutual and Whayne settled. After a jury trial Lewis’s suit against Caterpillar was dismissed. The court of appeals vacated the district court's judgment and held that the district court should not have granted removal because Whayne was still a party to the action at that time. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Here's why 90,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 12,195 briefs - keyed to 164 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now