United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DECLINE SUPPLEMENTAL
A. WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge.
Brendan Huerta brings the instant action against Defendant
Akima Facilities Management LLC, alleging that he was injured
while delivering a piece of heavy equipment to a laboratory
facility that Defendant managed. (First Amended Compl.
("FAC") ¶¶ 2, 15-21.) Pending before the
Court is Plaintiff's motion requesting that the Court
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state
law claims. (Plf.'s Mot., Dkt. No. 81.)
Court deems the matter suitable for disposition without
hearing pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b) and VACATES the
hearing set for November 16, 2017. Having considered the
papers filed by the parties and the relevant legal authority,
the Court DENIES the motion, for the reasons set forth below.
February 6, 2014, Plaintiff delivered heavy equipment to a
United States Department of Agriculture
("USDA")/Agricultural Research Service
("ARS") in Albany ("Subject Premises").
(FAC ¶ 15.) Plaintiff was assisted by Doe 1, who was
either an employee of USDA and/or ARS, or the government
contractor responsible for facility operations at the ARS
facility. (FAC ¶ 16.) Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant is the government contractor. (FAC ¶ 17.) The
equipment was to be lowered from the truck to a lift gate,
but while lowering the lift gate, Doe 1 suddenly and abruptly
stopped the lift gate. (FAC ¶ 20.) The sudden stop
caused the equipment to become unstable and fall onto
Plaintiff, who was unable to get out of the way in time. (FAC
¶¶ 20-21.) As a result, Plaintiff suffered serious
bodily injuries. (FAC ¶ 21.)
then brought this suit against the USDA and ARS, as well as
Doe defendants. (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) On August
12, 2016, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint,
substituting Defendant in place of Doe Defendant 2. (FAC
¶ 2.) Plaintiff asserted federal question jurisdiction
based on the Federal Torts Claim Act. (FAC ¶ 12.)
Plaintiff brought claims of: (1) negligence as to Doe 1; (2)
vicarious liability as to the federal entities; (3) negligent
hiring, training, and/or retention of unfit employee as to
the federal entities; (4) vicarious liability as to
Defendant; (5) negligent hiring, training, and/or retention
of unfit employee as to Defendant; and (6) premises liability
as to the federal entities and Defendant. Defendant was
served on September 12, 2016. (Dkt. No. 37.)
October 11, 2016, the USDA and ARS filed a motion to dismiss.
(Dkt. No. 38.) The USDA and ARS filed a declaration
identifying Mr. Willard Davis as Doe 1. (Dixson Decl. ¶
11, Dkt. No. 38-1.) On October 28, 2016, Plaintiff and the
USDA and ARS stipulated to dismissal of the federal
defendants. (Dkt. Nos. 40, 41.) Plaintiff then moved for
entry of default as to Defendant Akima, and entry of default
was entered on November 22, 2016. (Dkt. Nos. 44, 46.) On
December 12, 2016, Plaintiff moved for default judgment.
(Dkt. Nos. 47, 50.)
December 29, 2016, Defendant filed a motion to set aside the
entry of default, explaining that its failure to respond to
the first amended complaint was a result of an operating
system upgrade. (Dkt. No. 55 at 4.) On March 1, 2017, the
Court granted Defendant's motion to set aside default and
denied Plaintiff's motion for default judgment as moot.
(Dkt. No. 70 at 1-2.)
March 21, 2017, the parties filed a joint case management
conference statement, identifying the basis of jurisdiction
as diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 72 at 1.) On March 28,
2017, the Court conducted a case management conference,
setting deadlines for initial disclosures and the amendment
of the complaint. (Dkt. No. 74.) On September 5, 2017, the
parties filed a second joint case management conference
statement, again asserting diversity jurisdiction. (Dkt. No.
79 at 1.) Plaintiff also asserted that he did not anticipate
amending the pleadings. (Id. at 3.) On September 12,
2017, the Court conducted a further case management
conference, in which the Court discussed jurisdiction, and
was informed that it was no longer an issue. The Court also
raised Plaintiff's statement that he did not anticipate
amending the pleadings, but stated that it would set an
amendment deadline of November 13, 2017 as a control date.
Defendant also stated that the parties were scheduling
depositions for both Plaintiff and Mr. Davis.
September 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant motion
requesting that the court decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the state law claims, so that Plaintiff
could re-file the instant case in state court. On October 9,
2017, Defendant filed its opposition, on the ground that
diversity jurisdiction existed in the case. (Def.'s
Opp'n, Dkt. No. 85.) On October 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed
his reply, arguing that although he could have alleged
diversity jurisdiction, he had not. (Plf.'s Reply, Dkt.
No. 86.) On October 13, 2017, the Court ordered the parties
to file a joint supplemental brief on whether Defendant Akima
would be prevented from removing the case on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction if the Court was to decline exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. (Dkt.
No. 87.) On October 26, 2017, the parties filed a joint
supplemental brief, in which Plaintiff raised the possibility
of actually naming Mr. Davis in the place of Doe 1, which
would potentially destroy diversity jurisdiction because
Plaintiff believed Mr. Davis was a California citizen. (Dkt.
No. 88 at 3.) As of the date of this order, Plaintiff has not
moved to substitute Mr. Davis into the case, and the deadline
for amendment has passed.
general, a federal court must have federal question or
diversity jurisdiction over a case. Per 28 U.S.C. §
1367(a), "in any civil action of which the district
courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall
have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are
so related to claims in the action within such original
jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or
controversy . . . ." 28 U.S.C. §1367(c)(3),
however, permits a district court to decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction if "the district court has
dismissed all claims over which it has original
jurisdiction." While 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) permits
dismissal of state law claims when federal claims are
dismissed before trial, it does not mandate dismissal.
Acri v. Varian Assocs., 114 F.3d 999, 1000 (9th Cir.
1997). In determining whether to dismiss supplemental claims,
the district court considers the following Gibbs
factors: judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity.
Acri, 114 F.3d at 1001; see also United Mine
Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966).