Supplemental Jurisdiction Question

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TTH
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Supplemental Jurisdiction Question

Postby TTH » Sun May 05, 2013 2:31 pm

Hey Bros, got a quick question about a hypo that's stumping me a little bit.

Plaintiff sues Defendant 1 (state actor) and Defendant 2 (private citizen) in state court, alleging state tort claims and a violation of §1983. D1 removes the action to federal court on the basis of the federal question. D2 then gets the §1983 claim against him dismissed because D2 wasn't acting under color of law. All that remains against D2 are the state tort claims. Does the federal court still have jurisdiction to hear those claims against D2?

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: Supplemental Jurisdiction Question

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Sun May 05, 2013 3:56 pm

The supplemental jurisdiction statute 28 USC 1367 (c) states:

The district courts may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim if -
...
(3) The district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction

So, 1367 does not require the federal court to immediately send the complaint back to state court just because there is no longer any federal question, however, the court is free to decline to exercise jurisdiction of its own accord. This is consistent with the holding of the 2nd Circuit in Motorola Credit Corp. v. Uzan, which stated that there was no requirement to decline supplemental jurisdiction just because the federal claims had been dismissed.

The analysis in this instance will look at practicality (is the trial far along already? would it be unfair to make everyone start over in state court? are the state law claims particularly problematic such that a federal court does not want to speak about them?).

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vanwinkle
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Re: Supplemental Jurisdiction Question

Postby vanwinkle » Sun May 05, 2013 5:31 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:This is consistent with the holding of the 2nd Circuit in Motorola Credit Corp. v. Uzan, which stated that there was no requirement to decline supplemental jurisdiction just because the federal claims had been dismissed.

The analysis in this instance will look at practicality (is the trial far along already? would it be unfair to make everyone start over in state court? are the state law claims particularly problematic such that a federal court does not want to speak about them?).

I want to disagree only slightly, in that I think the "no requirement" statement sounds a little too broad. There might be an actual requirement to decline supplemental jurisdiction under the law, even if it sounds permitted under 1367(c). In Uzan, the Court specifically phrased it as (at least in the Second Circuit) the federal claims generally should be dismissed if the case hasn't reached the trial stage yet, for example. It's not really "practicality" so much as, when the court retains jurisdiction, being able to show it had a sufficient justification. Your factors above are correct (how far along the proceedings are, fairness toward parties, what state law issues are involved), but it's not just up to the district court to decide if it's practical, and an appeals court could find it was improper to exercise jurisdiction in some cases.

In other words, it kind of is required to decline supplemental jurisdiction, but on a case-by-case basis, and not by statute. This is a self-imposed additional requirement the courts may layer on, even in situations where 1367(c) textually would allow it.

Sorry to nitpick. Just wanted to make sure that was clear.




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