Court’s Refusal to Exercise Supplemental Jurisdiction Over Dismissed Defendant Leads to Remand U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 18, 2017

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff filed this action against several defendants, including Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, Limited (IDC), alleging he developed lung cancer from exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were responsible. Immediately after the suit was filed, the plaintiff moved to dismiss claims against IDC. A co-defendant stevedoring company filed a third party complaint for contribution and/or indemnification against IDC before the court ruled on the pending motion to dismiss. IDC then removed the case to federal court. The plaintiffs moved to remand and filed a motion to dismiss IDC pursuant to Federal Rule 41(a). IDC also filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule 12(b)(6).

The court began its analysis by stating Rule 41 (a) permits a plaintiff to dismiss his or her claims against a defendant provided that defendant had not served an answer or moved for summary judgment. Here, it was clear IDC had not served an answer or motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss was granted. As for remand, the court noted that on the first removal it found IDC’s status as a defendant the only “potential basis for jurisdiction in federal court.” The court acknowledged that 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) confers supplemental jurisdiction over “all other claims that are so related to claims in this action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution. Despite the provision, the Supreme Court has given guidance for courts to weigh certain factors when considering the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction. In fact, the discretion given to federal courts to exercise supplemental jurisdiction is broad once the remaining claims are state based. Here, IDC was dismissed.  The plaintiff’s claims against IDC were the only potential basis for original jurisdiction. The remaining claims were all state law claims according to the court. Relying on Section 1367 (c) and the factors set forth under Carnegie-Mellon, the court found that exercising supplemental jurisdiction in a case where it had little vested would not serve in the interests of judicial economy. Therefore, supplemental jurisdiction would not be exercised and remand was granted.

Read the full decision here.


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