United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
WILLIAM B. CLARK, Plaintiff,
FRANCISCAN ALLIANCE, INC., d/b/a St. Margaret Mercy Hospital, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY JUDGE
4, 2018, plaintiff William B. Clark filed a notice of
settlement with defendants Matthew Djukic and the Town of
Schererville. (DE # 73.) Following the notice, the court
issued an order dismissing those defendants. (DE # 74.) Now,
Franciscan Alliance, Inc. (“Franciscan”) is the
only defendant remaining in the case. The case is set for
trial on August 20, 2018. (DE # 71.)
matter is now before the court on Franciscan's motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. (DE # 75.) A motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(1) asserts that the court lacks jurisdiction over the
subject matter. A party may challenge the court's
subject-matter jurisdiction at any time. City of
Milwaukee v. Saxbe, 546 F.2d 693, 699 (7th Cir. 1976).
“If the court determines at any time that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
this court's jurisdiction was based on a federal
question. Plaintiff stated federal claims against defendants
Matthew Djukic, Damian Murks, and the Town of Schererville,
giving this court subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. (See DE # 1.) Additionally, plaintiff
brought state-law claims against Franciscan for assault,
battery, and failure to properly train its employees.
(Id. at 15-16.) The court had supplement
jurisdiction over those state-law claims pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1367(a).
the recent dismissal, however, all of the defendants subject
to the federal claims have been dismissed from the case. With
the federal claims resolved, only the state law claims
against Franciscan remain. In its motion, Franciscan asks the
court to “relinquish jurisdiction and dismiss [the]
state law claims.” (DE # 76 at 3.)
supplemental jurisdiction statute provides that the district
court “may decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction” over state-law claims if the court
“has dismissed all claims over which it has original
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). The court
has broad discretion in making this decision. RWJ Mgmt.
Co., Inc. v. BP Prods. N. Am., Inc., 672 F.3d 476, 478
(7th Cir. 2012) (“When federal claims drop out of the
case, leaving only state-law claims, the district court has
broad discretion to decide whether to keep the case or
relinquish supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law
claims.”). Furthermore, there is a
“presumption” that courts will relinquish
jurisdiction over supplemental state-law claims where the
federal claims drop out of the case. Id. at 479.
“The presumption is rebuttable, but it should not be
lightly abandoned, as it is based on a legitimate and
substantial concern with minimizing federal intrusion into
areas of purely state law.” Id.
Seventh Circuit has identified three situations that may
displace the presumption, namely:
(1) the statute of limitations has run on the pendent claim,
precluding the filing of a separate suit in state court; (2)
substantial judicial resources have already been committed,
so that sending the case to another court will cause a
substantial duplication of effort; or (3) when it is
absolutely clear how the pendent claims can be decided.
Sharp Elecs. Corp v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 578 F.3d
505, 514-15 (7th Cir. 2009). Neither party argues that either
the first or third exceptions should apply here.
Nevertheless, regarding the first exception, defendant
correctly points out that plaintiff may refile this action in
state court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d) and Indiana
Code § 34-11-8-1.
the third exception, the court notes that it has not yet
addressed the merits of the state-law claims. Other than
discovery rulings, the court has entered two orders
pertaining to the state-law claims: (1) an order denying
summary judgment based solely on the court's finding that
the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act does not apply (DE # 64),
and (2) an order excluding an expert opinion as unreliable
(DE # 65). The court did not reach the underlying substance
of the state-law claims, and, therefore, it is not absolutely
clear how those claims will be decided.
argument focuses on the second exception, pertaining to
judicial resources and the potential for duplication of
judicial effort. As stated above, the court has issued only
two non-discovery orders on the state-law claims. Plaintiff
argues that the court did invest substantial
judicial efforts in issuing those orders, specifically the
order excluding expert testimony. (DE # 77 at 3.) But, in
reality, they were relatively short orders. The expert order
was only six pages in length (DE # 65), and even
Franciscan's motion for summary judgment was disposed of
by the court in only two pages (DE # 64 at 1-2). The amount
of resources devoted to those orders is unlike the efforts
expended in Miller Aviation v. Milwaukee County Board of
Supervisors, 273 F.3d 722 (7th Cir. 2001), in which the
Seventh Circuit reversed a district court's decision to
relinquish jurisdiction where the lower court had held 9
hearings and issued 19 orders, including a 71-page decision.
Furthermore, as noted above, none of the orders in the case
at hand delve into the merits of the state-law claims.
See RWJ Mgmt. Co., Inc., 672 F.3d at 481 (affirming
relinquishment of jurisdiction where “the extensive
pretrial activity was largely attributable to discovery
disputes, not the merits of the state-law claims”).
Accordingly, the court finds that it has not committed
substantial judicial resources to resolving the state-law
also argues that the court should retain jurisdiction because
the trial date is less than a month away. (DE # 77 at 3-4.)
But this relative proximity to trial is not enough to rebut
the presumption of relinquishment. RWJ Mgmt. Co.,
Inc., 672 F.3d at 481 (affirming a district court's
decision to relinquish jurisdiction two business days before
a two-week trial was set to begin).
the court is not required to retain jurisdiction due to the
length of time this case has been under its jurisdiction.
Although this case was filed over four years ago, the Seventh
Circuit has upheld an order relinquishing jurisdiction
“just before trial after five years of
discovery.” Olive Can Co., Inc. v. Martin, 906
F.2d 1147, 1153 (7th Cir. 1990). Moreover, the question of
whether or not to retain supplemental jurisdiction did not
arise until the other defendants were dismissed less than two
these reasons, the court concludes that the second exception
to the presumption does not apply. This is not a
relinquishment that would “clearly disserve”
judicial economy. See Williams ...