United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the court sua sponte on the issue
of subject matter jurisdiction. “Jurisdiction is the
power to declare law, and without it the federal courts
cannot proceed.” Hay v. Indiana State Bd. of Tax
Com'rs, 312 F.3d 876 (7th Cir. 2002) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “Accordingly, not only may
the federal courts police subject matter jurisdiction sua
sponte, they must.” Id.
case was originally filed by plaintiff in the Circuit Court
of Lake County, Indiana. (DE # 4.) Defendants removed the
case to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, the
federal question jurisdiction statute. (DE # 1.) However,
following the court's order on the parties' motions
for summary judgment (DE # 64), no federal claims remain in
the case. Plaintiff's breach of contract claim is the
sole remaining claim.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), the court originally had
supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law breach of
contract claim. But, the 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).
the first exception, this suit was originally filed in state
court, and was removed, so the statute of limitations is not
an issue. (See DE # 4.)
the second exception, the court has devoted few judicial
resources to resolving the breach of contract claim. The
court examined the claim for the first time in its recent
order, devoting two pages to the discussion of the claim. (DE
# 64 at 15-16.) As the court discussed in that order, the
parties did not submit a signed employment contract for the
court to examine, and they disputed which clauses were part
of the contract. (See id.) Since the contract itself
is in dispute, the court has spent no time addressing the
merits of whether defendants breached the contract.
other than the court's recent order (DE # 64), the orders
issued in this case pertain to discovery and procedural
matters. 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”). The resources devoted to this case are 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. The court has expended
relatively few judicial resources, and therefore, there will
be no substantial duplication of efforts.
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 two 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 summary judgment was entered on the federal
claims, on September 28, 2018.
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 Elecs. Games, Inc. v.
Garrity, 479 F.3d 904, 906 (7th Cir. 2007).
the third exception, the court notes, again, that it has not
thoroughly examined the merits of the state-law claim, and
therefore it is not absolutely clear to this court how the
claim will be decided. Therefore, the third exception to the
presumption does not apply.
foregoing reasons, the court DECLINES to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's
remaining state-law claim. Plaintiff's remaining claim is
REMANDED back to state court. The Clerk is