The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.
Third-party defendant Utica Mutual Insurance Company
("Utica") has moved to dismiss the third-party claim of
third-party plaintiff Marine Midland Bank, N.A. ("the Bank")
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.*fn1 Because the claim
falls within the court's pendent party jurisdiction, the motion
The United States filed the underlying complaint on October
16, 1989, seeking recovery under § 107 of the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
("CERCLA"), 42 U.S.C. § 9607 (as amended by the Superfund
Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, Pub.L.No. 99-499,
100 Stat. 1613), for costs incurred to clean up toxic chemicals
allegedly released by the defendant A & N
Cleaners & Launderers, Inc. ("A & N") which are suspected of
having contaminated the groundwater supply for the community of
Brewster, New York.*fn2 The Bank is made a defendant under
CERCLA as the operator of the premises from which the chemicals
were allegedly released.
On February 16, 1990, the Bank, a New York corporation,
brought a third-party action against its insurers, including
Utica, seeking indemnification for any losses suffered in the
primary suit. According to the Bank, third-party defendants
Utica and United States Fire Insurance Company ("U.S. Fire")
are New York corporations, while the other third-party
defendants, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, St.
Paul Mercury Insurance Company, and North River Insurance
Company are all citizens of other states.
Utica asserts that there is no independent basis for federal
jurisdiction over the Bank's claim against it, and that any
assertion of ancillary or pendent party jurisdiction must fail
in light of Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545, 109 S.Ct.
2003, 104 L.Ed.2d 593 (1989). Therefore, Utica seeks to have
the Bank's claim dismissed for lack of subject matter
It is axiomatic that every cause of action in a federal court
must have a jurisdictional basis. An assertion of federal
jurisdiction must meet both a constitutional and a statutory
standard: the claim must first of all be within the scope of
Article III, and Congress must have exercised its
constitutional authority to confer jurisdiction on the federal
courts. See Owen Equipment & Erection Co. v. Kroger,
437 U.S. 365, 372, 98 S.Ct. 2396, 2401-02, 57 L.Ed.2d 274 (1978).
In the present case, since all of the Banks's third-party
claims are based on state law, there is no federal question
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Nor is there diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, because the Bank and Utica
(and U.S. Fire) are all citizens of New York. The only basis
for federal jurisdiction over these claims is the doctrine of
"pendent party" jurisdiction, as claims which are related to
the underlying CERCLA complaint.
Pendent jurisdiction in general is an exception to the strict
requirement of explicit statutory authorization for federal
jurisdiction. It permits the court to extend its reach beyond
the limits set by Congress, provided that it remains within the
boundaries of Article III.
Pendent jurisdiction, in the sense of judicial
power, exists whenever there is a claim "arising
under [the] Constitution, the Laws of the United
States, and Treaties made or which shall be made,
under their Authority . . .," U.S. Const., Art.
III, § 2, and the relationship between that claim
and the state claim permits the conclusion that the
entire action before the court comprises but one
United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725, 86 S.Ct. 1130,
1138, 16 L.Ed.2d 218 (1966) (emphasis, brackets, and ellipsis
in original). The required relationship exists if the state and
federal claims "derive from a common nucleus of operative
fact." Id. However, the existence of the required relationship
between the claims does not end the inquiry, for