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Lindner v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 11, 2014

ROBERT LINDNER, Special Administrator of the Estates of BURTON R. LINDNER and ZORINE LINDNER, deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant

Argued: April 7, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 12 C 5344 -- Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, Judge.

For ROBERT LINDNER, Special Administrator of the Estates of BURTON R. LINDNER and ZORINE LINDNER, deceased, Plaintiff - Appellee: Colin H. Dunn, Attorney, Clifford Law Offices, P.C., Chicago, IL.

For Union Pacific Railroad Company, Defendant - Appellant: Thomas Andreoli, Attorney, Union Pacific Railroad Company, Law Department, Chicago, IL; Thomas E. Jones, Attorney, Thompson Coburn, Belleville, IL; Alice E. Loughran, Attorney, Steptoe & Johnson, Washington, DC.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and KANNE and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 569

Sykes, Circuit Judge.

Robert Lindner's parents were killed when a Union Pacific train derailed and caused a bridge to collapse. Soon after the accident, Lindner filed this wrongful-death action against Union Pacific in Illinois state court. Union Pacific removed the case to federal court, asserting diversity jurisdiction: The Lindners were domiciled in Illinois, whereas Union Pacific is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Nebraska. After conducting some initial discovery, Lindner sought leave to amend his complaint to add claims against two Illinois residents who worked for Union Pacific. The district court granted the request and, because the parties were no longer completely diverse, remanded the case to state court.

Union Pacific appeals, but we lack jurisdiction to hear the case. An order remanding a case to state court for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction " is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d). We have no appellate jurisdiction to consider the other part

Page 570

of the district court's order, granting leave to amend the complaint, because it was not a final order in any sense; it did not grant or deny relief on the merits of any claim, and it can be revisited and challenged at later stages of the litigation. Alternatively, Union Pacific asks us to treat the appeal as a petition for mandamus. Because the order granting leave to amend can be reviewed in state court, mandamus relief is neither necessary nor appropriate. Thus, Union Pacific's appeal and request for a writ of mandamus must be dismissed.

I. Background

Burton and Zorine Lindner were driving under a bridge near Glenview, Illinois, when a Union Pacific train derailed overhead. The derailment caused the bridge to collapse, crushing Burton and Zorine below. Their son Robert Lindner filed this wrongful-death action in Illinois state court alleging tat Union Pacific caused the accident through its own negligence.

At that time there was complete diversity between the parties. The deceased Lindners were citizens of Illinois, and their citizenship rather than Robert's determines diversity jurisdiction because Robert is merely a representative of their estate. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1332(c). Union Pacific, meanwhile, is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Nebraska. The ...


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