from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Louisiana
WIENER, HAYNES, and COSTA, Circuit Judges.
COSTA, Circuit Judge.
time-of-filing rule-that subject matter jurisdiction is
determined when a federal court's jurisdiction is first
invoked-is "hornbook law." Grupo Dataflux v.
Atlas Glob. Grp., L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 570 (2004). This
appeal requires us to consider the rule outside the ordinary
diversity or federal question case. It asks what happens if a
lawsuit, when filed, is related to a bankruptcy, but then
something happens that dissolves the bankruptcy connection.
it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Double Eagle Energy
Services sued MarkWest and Ohio Gathering on a contract claim
in Louisiana federal court. Because the debtor's contract
suit was a "civil proceeding . . . related to" a
bankruptcy, the district court had subject matter
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b); see also Wood v.
Wood, 825 F.2d 90, 93 (5th Cir. 1987) (holding that
section 1334(b) requires only that the claim conceivably
affect the bankruptcy estate).
then Double Eagle assigned its claim against Defendants to
one of its creditors. Defendants seized on the apparent
divestment of any connection between Double Eagle's claim
and the bankruptcy estate. They argued in support of a motion
to dismiss that (1) the assignment destroyed subject matter
jurisdiction under section 1334(b), and (2) that meant the
Louisiana federal court also lacked personal jurisdiction
over Defendants. The magistrate judge agreed on both counts,
and the district court adopted the magistrate's
recommendation over Double Eagle's objection.
address subject matter jurisdiction first. The district court
erred by failing to apply the time-of-filing rule to section
1334(b). "It has long been the case that 'the
jurisdiction of the court depends upon the state of things at
the time of the action brought.'" Grupo
Dataflux, 541 U.S. at 570 (quoting Mollan v.
Torrance, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 537, 539
(1824)). That longstanding rule promotes
efficiency; it would be "wasteful" if post-filing
changes in "the facts determining jurisdiction"
required dismissal of a case to which the parties and court
had already devoted resources. Id. at 580. Although
courts have not often considered the time-of-filing rule for
cases related to bankruptcy, it applies to bankruptcy
jurisdiction no less than it applies to diversity or federal
question jurisdiction. In re Canion, 196 F.3d 579,
586 n.29 (5th Cir. 1999); see also In re Celotex
Corp., 124 F.3d 619, 626 (4th Cir. 1997); In re
Worldcom, Inc. Sec. Litig., 294 B.R. 553, 556 (S.D.N.Y.
2003). Indeed, even the closing of a bankruptcy case does not
divest federal courts of section 1334(b) jurisdiction over
cases that, when filed, were related to the bankruptcy
(though, as discussed below, such circumstances strongly
favor discretionary dismissal). In re Querner, 7
F.3d 1199, 1201 (5th Cir. 1993); In re Porges, 44
F.3d 159, 162 (2d Cir. 1995). This means that the
related-to-bankruptcy jurisdiction that existed at the outset
of this case never went away.
to focus on the time of filing also infected the district
court's personal jurisdiction analysis. Personal
jurisdiction requires two things: authorization for service
of summons and a "constitutionally sufficient
relationship" (the "minimum contacts" test)
between the defendant and the forum. Omni Capital
Int'l, Ltd. v. Rudolf Wolff & Co., Ltd., 484
U.S. 97, 104 (1987). If this were an ordinary contract claim
in federal court on diversity jurisdiction, the only
authority to serve a defendant would come from Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 4, which requires that the defendant be
subject to personal jurisdiction in Louisiana's courts.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k)(1)(a). Fourteenth Amendment
due process-made pertinent by the reference to the reach of a
state's courts-requires, in turn, that the defendant have
sufficient contacts with Louisiana. 4A Charles Alan Wright et
al., Fed. Prac. & Proc. § 1069, at 122-24 (4th ed.
2015). The district court determined that the Defendants'
contacts with Louisiana were lacking.
we have explained, Double Eagle's suit remains one under
the bankruptcy court's section 1334(b) jurisdiction. That
means that Double Eagle had another route for service of
summons: Bankruptcy Rule 7004. See Celotex, 124 F.3d
at 629-30; Diamond Mortg. Corp. of Ill. v. Sugar,
913 F.2d 1233, 1242 (7th Cir. 1990). Unlike Rule 4,
Bankruptcy Rule 7004 permits nationwide service of process
without limitation to the reach of the forum state's
courts. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 7004(d). There remains the requirement
of a "constitutionally sufficient relationship"
with the forum. Omni Capital, 484 U.S. at 104. With
nationwide service, the forum is the United States. So
minimum contacts with the United States (Fifth Amendment due
process) suffice; minimum contacts with a particular state
(Fourteenth Amendment due process) are beside the point.
Busch v. Buchman, Buchman & O'Brien, Law
Firm, 11 F.3d 1255, 1258 (5th Cir. 1994); 17 Charles
Alan Wright et. al., Fed. Prac. & Proc. § 4106, at
594-95 (3d ed. 2007). And residents of the United
States-which Defendants undisputedly are-have enough contact
with the United States that haling them into federal court
"does not offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice." Busch, 11 F.3d at 1258;
see also, e.g., Luallen v. Higgs, 277
Fed.Appx. 402, 404-05 (5th Cir. 2008) (holding that Nevada
residency satisfied Fifth Amendment due process for personal
jurisdiction by federal court in Texas).
section 1334(b) jurisdiction that existed when this case was
filed thus means there is both subject matter and personal
with that jurisdiction, Defendants contend there are
alternative grounds to affirm the dismissal. The first is
that although dismissal of a bankruptcy case does not
withdraw a federal court's section 1334(b) "related
to" jurisdiction, the "general rule" is that
the district court "should" exercise its discretion
to dismiss in this situation. Querner, 7 F.3d at
1201. That decision is committed to "the sound
discretion" of the federal court. Id. at 1202.
Our ordinary practice for discretionary decisions is
remanding to "allow the district court to exercise [its
discretion] in the first instance." Al Rushaid v.
Nat'l Oilwell Varco, Inc., 757 F.3d 416, 424-25 (5th
Cir. 2014) (quotation omitted). That makes sense here.
also point to a forum selection clause in their contract with
Double Eagle, arguing that the clause warrants dismissal for
improper venue. But assuming the forum selection clause is
enforceable,  it places proper venue in Ohio state
or federal courts. That means that while the clause
may support a transfer to a federal court in Ohio, it cannot
support the district court's dismissal. Atl. Marine
Constr. Co., Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court for the W. Dist. of
Tex., 571 U.S. 49, 59-60 (2013). The possibility of a
venue transfer to Ohio federal court is another issue we will
remand for the district court to consider in the first
* * *
VACATE the district court's judgment and REMAND for