Semtek Int'l Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 531 U.S. 497, 3 (2001)

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Cite as: 531 U. S. 497 (2001)

Opinion of the Court

Walter E. Dellinger argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Robert E. Willett, Francis B. Burch, Jr., and Martin H. Redish.*

Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court. This case presents the question whether the claim-preclusive effect of a federal judgment dismissing a diversity action on statute-of-limitations grounds is determined by the law of the State in which the federal court sits.


Petitioner filed a complaint against respondent in California state court, alleging inducement of breach of contract and various business torts. Respondent removed the case to the United States District Court for the Central District of California on the basis of diversity of citizenship, see 28 U. S. C. 1332, 1441 (1994 ed. and Supp. IV), and successfully moved to dismiss petitioner's claims as barred by California's 2-year statute of limitations. In its order of dismissal, the District Court, adopting language suggested by respondent, dismissed petitioner's claims "in [their] entirety on the merits and with prejudice." App. to Pet. for Cert. 59a. Without contesting the District Court's designation of its dismissal as "on the merits," petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the District Court's order. 168 F. 3d 501 (1999) (table). Petitioner also brought suit against respondent in the State Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland, alleging the same causes of action, which were not time barred under Mary-land's 3-year statute of limitations. Respondent sought injunctive relief against this action from the California federal court under the All Writs Act, 28 U. S. C. 1651, and removed the action to the United States District Court for the

*Griffin B. Bell, Chilton Davis Varner, Paul D. Clement, and Jeffrey S. Bucholtz filed a brief for the Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc., as amicus curiae urging affirmance.


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