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Dodd v. Fawcett Publications, Inc.

329 F.2d 82 (1964)

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Dodd v. Fawcett Publications, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

329 F.2d 82 (1964)

Facts

In 1958 Fawcett Publications, Inc. (Fawcett) (defendant) published an article about the University of Oklahoma football team. Thirteen members of the football team filed separate lawsuits in the Oklahoma state courts against Fawcett and Mid-Continent News Company (Mid-Continent) (defendant), a newspaper distributor that distributed Fawcett’s publication, alleging violations of state libel laws. Mid-Continent and the football players all were Oklahoma citizens, and Fawcett was a foreign corporation. In one of the cases stemming from the article, Fawcett Publications, Inc. v. Morris, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s directed verdict for Mid-Continent, holding that as a matter of law, Mid-Continent was not liable based on the evidence presented at trial. Carl Dodd (plaintiff) was the first-string quarterback on the football team. Dodd filed a lawsuit against Fawcett and Mid-Continent that was almost identical to the claims in Morris. Dodd used the same attorneys as Morris and planned to present the same evidence at his trial. Fawcett and Mid-Continent removed the case to federal court, arguing that the court had diversity jurisdiction over the case. Fawcett and Mid-Continent claimed that Dodd fraudulently joined Mid-Continent to the case to destroy complete diversity and that, without Mid-Continent, complete diversity existed between the parties. Fawcett and Mid-Continent relied on the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s holding in Morris to argue that no legitimate cause of action existed for Dodd against Mid-Continent. Dodd moved to remand the case, arguing that Mid-Continent was legitimately joined to the case and, as a result, complete diversity did not exist. The federal district court denied the motion to remand. Dodd appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lewis, J.)

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