United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS OF FACT
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter was referred to the undersigned by U.S. District Judge
Kimberly J. Mueller for an evidentiary hearing to determine
facts related to jurisdiction. ECF No. 118. The
jurisdictional question is “whether the claims giving
rise to this suit occurred on a federal enclave.”
See ECF No. 110 at 5.
Napoleon Andrews, filed this employment discrimination and
hostile work environment action against his former employer,
PRIDE Industries, Inc. and supervisor, Jean Zurbuchen, in the
Superior Court of Sonoma County on April 22, 2014. ECF No. 2.
All claims arise from plaintiff's employment with PRIDE,
a non-profit corporation that employs disabled individuals,
as a grounds maintenance worker at Travis Air Force Base. On
September 16, 2014, defendants removed the action to federal
court on the basis of federal enclave jurisdiction. ECF No.
September 23, 2014, defendants moved to dismiss on grounds
that all six of plaintiff's state law claims were barred
by the federal enclave doctrine. ECF No. 6. Plaintiff
contended in opposition that there was a significant question
as to whether Travis Air Force Base is a federal enclave in
its entirety, and that if the employment decisions on which
plaintiff's claims are based arose outside the area
designated as Travis AFB, this court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. ECF No. 12. The court denied defendants'
motion to dismiss, without prejudice. ECF No. 18. Judge
Mueller accepted that “the land designated officially
as Travis Air Force Base qualifies for federal enclave
status, ” but found that this did not resolve the
jurisdictional question. Id. at 7:14-16. Because it
appeared that some tracts of land at or around Travis may be
subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction, while others may
not be, Judge Mueller denied defendants' motion, ordered
discovery limited to the jurisdictional issue, and granted
plaintiff leave to amend the complaint. Id. at 10.
discovery and the filing of a Second Amended Complaint (ECF
No. 25), defendants moved for summary judgment on April 8,
2016. ECF No. 65. Defendants again asserted, among other
things, that plaintiff's state law claims were not viable
because of the federal enclave doctrine. Id. The
motion was granted in part on other grounds, and denied as to
application of the federal enclave doctrine. ECF Nos. 95,
On that issue, Judge Mueller found that neither party had
presented new evidence despite full discovery, and that
defendants' “mere recitation of their previously
unsupported argument does not assist the court or make their
case.” ECF No. 95 at 12. On reconsideration, Judge
Mueller corrected a single factual error in the original
order,  but reaffirmed her previous finding that
defendants had failed to establish the applicability of the
federal enclave doctrine:
Defendants have submitted no real evidence establishing one
way or another where the events underlying this suit
occurred, and accordingly, whether such events occurred on
federal enclave land. At hearing, defense counsel conceded
that his position was based solely on plaintiff's counsel
recordation of the word “Admit” in response to
defendants' first two undisputed facts. Given the
totality of the record, the court is not prepared to resolve
a critical legal question based on this bare appearance of an
admission. Accordingly, the record supports the court's
prior conclusion that the federal enclave question is
unresolved. Defendants' motion in this respect is DENIED.
ECF No. 110 at 5.
district judge ordered an evidentiary hearing to
“determine whether the claims giving rise to this suit
occurred on a federal enclave.” ECF No. 110 at 5. That
hearing was subsequently referred to the undersigned, ECF No.
118, and took place on August 22, 2017. ECF No. 128. The
parties having filed their post-hearing briefs and proposed
or stipulated findings of fact (ECF Nos. 137, 138, 140), the
undersigned submits the following report and findings of
SCOPE OF REFERRAL
federal enclave doctrine provides that only federal law
applies on a federal enclave. See Paul v. United
States, 371 U.S. 245, 263-64 (1963) (interpreting Art.
I, § 8, cl. 17 of the U.S. Constitution). Defendants'
invocation of this doctrine has twice been rejected by the
district judge because it was unclear “where exactly at
or around Travis the events underlying this action occurred
and whether those locations are areas over which the United
States has exclusive jurisdiction.” ECF No. 18 at 8-9
(ordering discovery directed to federal enclave issue).
Precision regarding location matters because military
installations can be acquired for federal use on a
tract-by-tract basis, and both the dates of acquisition and
the status of jurisdiction may vary accordingly for different
areas within a single base and its environs. See
Paul, 371 U.S. at 269- 70. As both the U.S. Supreme
Court and the Ninth Circuit have indicated, application of
the federal enclave doctrine requires particularized findings
as to where the events at issue occurred and whether those
specific tracts are areas over which the United States has
exclusive jurisdiction. Id. (remanding for such
findings in case about application of state price regulations
to milk sold at California military installations);
Willis v.Craig, 555 F.2d 724, 726 (9th
Cir. 1977) (remanding for such findings in negligence case
brought by civilian employee of Naval Weapons Station
regarding on-the-job injury).
evidentiary hearing ordered by Judge Mueller, and
subsequently assigned to the undersigned, was intended to
make the particularized factual findings required under
Paul and Willis. ECF No. 110 at 5. The
question of how the federal enclave doctrine applies to
plaintiff's claims was not referred to the magistrate
judge, and the undersigned has disregarded any legal
arguments on that matter. To the extent that the relevance of
any evidence proffered at the hearing was disputed by the
parties on grounds related to the scope and proper
application of the doctrine, the undersigned admitted the
evidence subject to the district judge's ultimate
determination of relevance.
THE EVIDENTIARY HEARING
evidentiary hearing was held on August 22, 2017. The
transcript of proceedings (“Transcript”) is found
at ECF No. 132.
Napoleon Andrews testified about his employment with PRIDE at
Travis AFB, and the physical locations where he performed his
duties and where various events related to the case occurred.
Buchanan was the grounds maintenance supervisor for PRIDE at
Travis AFB during the period of plaintiff's employment.
He testified about the locations of various buildings,
landmarks, and work assignments.
Frey testified as an expert witness, pursuant to the
stipulation of the parties. Mr. Frey is an attorney who has
spent his entire legal career (from 1982 to present) at the
California State Lands Commission. The Commission is
responsible, among other things, for effectuating and
documenting transfers of the state's legislative
jurisdiction over specific lands to the United States
(cession of jurisdiction) and returns of legislative
jurisdiction by the United States to California
(retrocession). As former Senior Staff Counsel for the
Commission, now serving the Commission as a retired
annuitant, Mr. Frey is an expert in determining the
jurisdictional status of federal lands within the State of
following exhibits were admitted into evidence:
Plaintiff's Exhibits 1 and 5 through 19; Defendants'
Exhibits A (including A-1 and A-2) and F through T. The two
sets of exhibits are largely duplicative; citations below are
to Defendants' Exhibits unless otherwise specified.
enlarged map of Travis Air Force Base and its environs, the
accuracy of which is stipulated, was marked both as
Plaintiff's Exhibit 1 and Defendants' Exhibit A.
Defendants' Exhibits A-1 and A-2 are transparent overlays
to the map. All three witnesses referred to the map during
their testimony, and Mr. Andrews and Mr. Buchanan marked
various locations directly on the map. References below to
“the Map, ” or to Defendants' Exhibit A,
include A-1 and A-2 as marked by the witnesses. The
underlying Map is divided into square Sections by a grid
printed in red; the Sections are identified by number. For
ease of reference, the court will use these Section numbers
in its findings of fact regarding the location of
FINDINGS OF FACT
court fully credits the testimony and expert opinion of James
Frey regarding the jurisdictional status of land comprising
Travis Air Force Base. Mr. Frey's testimony was based on
his personal and comprehensive review of property records,
legislative history, and official communications between the
United States and California governments regarding cession
and retrocession of jurisdiction over lands at Travis. Mr.
Frey is fully qualified to evaluate those materials and
determine the status of the tracts at issue. Accordingly,
based on Mr. Freys's testimony and the supporting
exhibits,  the court finds as follows:
cession is a transfer of some or all of a state's
legislative jurisdiction to the United States. Cession is
effectuated and governed by state law, as state consent is
required for the United States to obtain jurisdiction over
property it acquires from the states.
There are four categories of federal jurisdiction over
property acquired from states:
a. Where a state cedes exclusive jurisdiction to the United
States, the state retains only the power to serve criminal
and civil process. Transcript at 51:3-7.
b. Where a state cedes partial legislative jurisdiction, the
United State has all jurisdiction except that specifically
reserved by the state. In California this is the most common
form of cession, and California chooses to retain only the
state's right to tax (in addition to the authority to
serve process). Transcript at 51:21-52:5.
c. Where a state cedes concurrent jurisdiction, it cedes all
legislative jurisdiction to the United States and
simultaneously reserves back the right to exercise the same
jurisdiction. In that case jurisdiction is co-extensive.
Transcript at 52:14-18. In California, cession of concurrent
jurisdiction is limited by statute to concurrent criminal
jurisdiction. Transcript at 53:5-13.
d. Where the United States has proprietorial jurisdiction, it
has none of the state's legislative jurisdiction.
California retains all of it. In such cases the United States
has proprietorial rights to use of the land, but the state
has exclusive legislative jurisdiction. Transcript at 51:3-7;
California statutes enacted in 1852 and 1872 ceded exclusive
jurisdiction to the United States over lands it had purchased
and used for military purposes pursuant to Article I, §
8, cl. 17 of the Constitution. The state statutory scheme was
modified in 1939 to reserve back to California the power to
tax. Accordingly, since 1939 the state has ceded at most
partial legislative jurisdiction rather than exclusive
legislative jurisdiction over such lands to the United
States. Transcript at 57:4-9; Defendants' Exhibits J
Travis AFB (“Travis”) was established in 1942 as
the Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Field. In 1942 and 1943 the
United States acquired approximately 2, 500 acres by purchase
or condemnation. Also in 1942 and 1943, California ceded
partial legislative jurisdiction over these lands to the
United States pursuant to California Government Code §
111, the cession statute in effect at that time.
Defendants' Exhibit S (Frey Decl.) at ¶¶ 4, 5.
Pursuant to 40 U.S.C. § 255 (since repealed and
recodified as 40 U.S.C. § 3112) a cession is only valid
if affirmatively accepted by the United States.
Defendants' Exhibits O, P. There is a conclusive
presumption that California's cession was not accepted,
and therefore is a nullity, unless the United States notified
California of its acceptance of cession. 40 U.S.C. §
3112(c). Two 1944 letters from the U.S. Secretary of War
accepted California's cession of jurisdiction over lands
previously acquired for military purposes, expressly
including the Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Field. A third
letter, dated May 23, 1945, accepted California's
cessions of jurisdiction over all lands previously acquired
for military purposes within the state, title to which had
already vested in the United States. Defendants' Exhibit
S (Frey Decl.) at ¶¶ 6, 7; Defendants' Exhibit
T. Accordingly, all lands acquired for what is now Travis AFB
from 1942 to May 23, 1945 are subject to partial federal
legislative jurisdiction. Legislative jurisdiction over these
tracts rests with the United States, with the sole exceptions
of state taxation and service of process. Id.
1947, California Government Code § 111 was repealed and
replaced by § 126, which is still in force.
Defendants' Exhibits M, N. There is no record of any
United States request for cession of legislative
jurisdiction, or acceptance of such cession, regarding any
lands at Travis under this statute. Accordingly, any tracts
acquired by the United States for military use at Travis
after May 23, 1945, are not subject to partial federal
legislative jurisdiction. ...