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Vincent v. Voils

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 6, 2019

Brian M. Vincent, Plaintiff,
v.
Rex A. Voils d/b/a Rex Voils Homes, Defendant.

          ORDER

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE

         Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Brian M. Vincent's Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim, [Filing No. 11]. Mr. Vincent seeks dismissal of Defendant Rex A. Voils's Counterclaim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or, in the alternative, for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Court agrees that Mr. Voils's Counterclaim does not arise out of a common nucleus of operative fact with Mr. Vincent's Complaint and therefore falls outside of the Court's supplemental jurisdiction. Accordingly, as explained below, the Court GRANTS Mr. Vincent's Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim.

         I.

         Legal Standard

         “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) allows a party to move to dismiss a claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). When deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), the Court accepts the allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Long v. Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 1999). The burden is on the plaintiff to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that subject-matter jurisdiction exists for his or her claims. See Lee v. City of Chicago, 330 F.3d 456, 468 (7th Cir. 2003).

         II.

         Background

         On February 6, 2019, Mr. Vincent filed a Complaint against Rex A. Voils d/b/a Rex Voils Homes, asserting a Fair Standards Labor Act (“FLSA”) claim for alleged unpaid regular and overtime wages. [Filing No. 1 at 1.] Mr. Vincent alleges that Mr. Voils was his employer and that Mr. Voils failed to withhold payroll taxes, failed to pay the employer's portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, failed to make unemployment insurance compensation payments, and failed to return Mr. Vincent's personal property. [Filing No. 1 at 1; Filing No. 1 at 3.]

         On March 26, 2019, Mr. Voils filed a Counterclaim asserting claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) and defamation. [Filing No. 10 at 4-5.] Mr. Voils alleges that Mr. Vincent has intentionally and maliciously taunted, ridiculed, and threatened Mr. Voils via text messages, all while Mr. Voils has been suffering from cancer. [Filing No. 10 at 4.] The text messages from Mr. Vincent to Mr. Voils's brother discuss Mr. Voils and include statements such as, “[Mr. Voils's] crooked ways need extinguished. I'm doing that, and won't stop until he's 6 feet under. . . . [Mr. Voils] is about to write the biggest check of his life…..im [sic] out to destroy him. I won't stop. It's a race between me, and cancer.” [Filing No. 14-1 at 2-3.] Mr. Voils also alleges that Mr. Vincent has made defamatory statements about Mr. Voils that were intended to demean Mr. Voils and “impute misconduct by [Mr. Voils] in his course of business.” [Filing No. 10 at 4.]

         On April 2, 2018, Mr. Vincent filed the pending Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim, seeking the dismissal of Mr. Voils's Counterclaim based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction or, in the alternative, failure to state a claim. [Filing No. 11.]

         III.

         Discussion

          In his memorandum in support of his motion, Mr. Vincent acknowledges that this Court has original jurisdiction over his FLSA claim. [Filing No. 12 at 2.] However, Mr. Vincent asserts that this Court does not have supplemental jurisdiction over Mr. Voils's defamation and IIED claims because they do not constitute part of the same case or controversy as Mr. Vincent's FLSA claim, due to those claims having not arisen from a common nucleus of operative fact.[1] [Filing No. 12 at 2-3.] Mr. Vincent argues that, on the face of the Counterclaim, there is no connection between his FLSA claim and Mr. Voils's claims for IIED and defamation. [Filing No. 12 at 3.]

         In response, Mr. Voils argues that the Counterclaim has a “sufficient nexus” to the FLSA claim because Mr. Vincent's statements and conduct forming the basis for the IIED and defamation claims show the nature of the relationship between the parties and the character of Mr. Vincent. [Filing No. 14 at 3.] Mr. Voils attached to his response brief the two text messages sent by Mr. Vincent described above[2], and he argues that the statements in these text messages “relate to why [Mr. Vincent] is no longer working for ...


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