United States District Court, S.D. California
DECLINING SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION OVER STATE LAW
CATHY ANN BENCIVENGO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
complaint in this action asserts one claim under federal law
for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), along with a claim for violation of
California's Unruh Act. The complaint asserts
jurisdiction based on the existence of a federal question
(the ADA claim), and supplemental jurisdiction over the state
courts have the discretion to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over all claims that are “so related to
claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that
they form part of the same case or controversy under Article
III of the United States Constitution.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(a). Even if supplemental jurisdiction exists,
however, district courts may decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over a claim if: (1) it raises a novel or
complex issue of state law; (2) it substantially predominates
over the claim(s) over which the court has original
jurisdiction; (3) the court has dismissed all claims over
which it has original jurisdiction; or (4) there are other
compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(c). The Supreme Court has identified additional
factors that district courts should consider when deciding
whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction,
“including the circumstances of the particular case,
the nature of the state law claims, the character of the
governing state law, and the relationship between the state
and federal claims.” City of Chicago v. Int'l
Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 173 (1997).
discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over state law claims is triggered by the presence of one of
the conditions in § 1367(c), it is informed by the
Gibbs values ‘of economy, convenience,
fairness, and comity.'” Acri v. Varian Assocs.,
Inc., 114 F.3d 999, 1001 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc)
(citations omitted). A district court need not
“articulate why the circumstances of [the] case are
exceptional” to dismiss state-law claims pursuant to 28
U.S.C. section 1367(c)(1)-(3). San Pedro Hotel Co., Inc.
v. City of L.A., 159 F.3d 470, 478-79 (9th Cir. 1998)
the complaint states a federal claim, for violation of the
ADA, along with a state law claim for violation of the Unruh
Act. As a result, while the ADA does not entitle a plaintiff
to recover damages, the complaint seeks statutory damages
under the Unruh Act. Meanwhile, the same injunctive relief
available under the ADA is also available under the Unruh
Act. See Schutza v. Cuddeback, 262 F.Supp.3d 1025,
1031 (S.D. Cal. 2017) (noting that “[i]t is unclear
what advantage-other than avoiding state-imposed pleading
requirements-Plaintiff gains by being in federal court since
his sole remedy under the ADA is injunctive relief, which is
also available under the Unruh Act.”). Thus, the state
claim and the issues related thereto substantially
predominate over the ADA claim, which appears to be a
secondary claim included to justify filing the complaint in
this Court, rather than a necessary (let alone predominant)
claim in this lawsuit. See Rutherford v. Ara Lebanese
Grill, No. 18-CV-01497-AJB-WVG, 2019 WL 1057919, at *3
(S.D. Cal. Mar. 6, 2019) (declining supplemental jurisdiction
over Unruh Act claim because Unruh Act claim substantially
predominated over ADA claim).
addition, the important interest of comity supports declining
jurisdiction. See United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383
U.S. 715, 726 (1966) (holding that comity is a factor to be
considered before exercising supplemental jurisdiction).
California has a strong interest in protecting its citizens
and businesses from abusive litigation and also in preventing
its own laws from being misused for unjust purposes. In 2012,
in an attempt to deter baseless claims and vexatious
litigation, California adopted heightened pleading
requirements for disability discrimination lawsuits under the
Unruh Act. See Cal. Civ. Pro Code §
425.50; SB 1186, Chapter 383 § 24 (Ca.
2012). Mr. Schutza has filed more than fifteen disability
discrimination cases in this court over the past year, and an
online search of cases filed by “Scott Schutza”
in San Diego County Superior Court reveals more cases filed
over the past several years. Accordingly, the need for
California's procedural protections appears particularly
“federal courts may properly take measures to
discourage forum shopping.” Rutherford v.
Econolodge, No. 18CV1471-LAB (JMA), 2019 WL 950329, at
*3 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 27, 2019) (citing Hanna v.
Plumer, 380 U.S. 460, 467-68 (1965)); Schutza v.
Cuddeback, 262 F.Supp.3d at 1031 (holding that plaintiff
who had filed numerous ADA actions in federal court was
engaging in forum shopping “to avoid California's
heightened pleading requirements for disability
discrimination claims.”). “[I]t would be improper
to allow Plaintiff to use the federal court system as a
loophole to evade California's pleading
requirements.” Rutherford v. Ara Lebanese
Grill, 2019 WL 1057919, at *5. “Therefore, as a
matter of comity, and in deference to California's
substantial interest in discouraging unverified disability
discrimination claims, the Court declines supplemental
jurisdiction over Plaintiffs [state law claims].”
Schutza v. Cuddleback, 262 F.Supp.3d at 1031.
because (1) Plaintiffs state law claim predominates over his
federal claim under the ADA, and (2) the interests of comity
and discouraging forum shopping constitute exceptional
circumstances, the Court sua sponte declines supplemental
jurisdiction over claim two in the complaint. Claim two is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling in
 United Mine Workers of Am. v.
Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715 (1966).
 Under the Unruh Act a plaintiff
alleging disability discrimination must include in his
complaint: (1) an explanation of the specific access barrier
or barriers encountered; (2) the way in which the barrier
denied the individual full and equal access, or in which it
deterred the individual on each particular occasion. (3) the
date/s when the claimant encountered the specific barriers.
The section also contains ...