United States v. Heyward-Robinson Co.,

430 F.2d 1077 (2d. Cir. 1970)


Heyward-Robinson Co. (D), as general contractor, hired D'Agostino Excavating (P) on two separate jobs. One contract was for the construction of a naval barracks, and the other was for a plant for Stelma, Inc. D reserved the right to terminate either contract in the event of a breach of one. Both contracts were covered by the same insurance bond. P brought a breach of contract action against D in federal court on the naval contract. D counterclaimed for overpayments on both jobs and P counterclaimed and added a claim based on the Stelma contract. The jury awarded damages to P. After amendment of the complaint by P to allege a claim in quantum meruit for the work performed on both jobs, special questions then were submitted to the jury as to the reasonable value of the work performed by P on each project and the net amount owed by D to P on both. The jury found, in answer to these questions, that the net amount owed by D to P on both jobs was $63,988.36. Judgment against D was rendered accordingly. Under a formula agreed to by the parties, it was determined that the amount due to P on the Navy job was $40,771.46 and judgment was entered against Maryland in that sum. D appealed; the second contractual claim was not properly joined. Ds' initial contention is that the District Court had no jurisdiction over the counterclaims on the Stelma job. They, therefore, contend that the Stelma claims must be dismissed and that since P's claims on the Navy and Stelma jobs were presented to the jury as inseparable, the judgment below must be reversed. D urges that the Stelma counterclaims are not compulsory counterclaims over which the federal court acquired jurisdiction ancillary to the jurisdiction which it had over P's Miller Act claim stated in the complaint. They say that these are permissive counterclaims over which the court had no ancillary jurisdiction and which lacked the required independent basis of federal jurisdiction.