United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER comes before the Court on the Court's Order to
Show Cause, [Doc. 83], and Defendants' Response to Order
to Show Cause. [Doc. 84].
November 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint in state court
against Defendant Corrections Corporation of America
(“CoreCivic”), Defendant Transcor America
(“Transcor”), Defendant Corvel Corporation
(“CorVel”), Defendant Chad Miller, Defendant
Brenda Isaacs (sued as “Issacs”), and Defendant
Christopher Fuertes (sued as “Fuertas”). [Doc.
1.1]. The complaint alleged claims of negligence under the
New Mexico Tort Claims Act, violations of the Eight Amendment
of the United States Constitution, and vicarious liability.
December 29, 2017, the case was removed to this Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). [Doc. 1]. Corporate
Defendants CoreCivic, CorVel, and Transcor filed motions to
dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). [Doc. 2 and 19].
On September 18, 2018, this Court filed a Memorandum Opinion
and Order, [Doc. 51 supplemented by Doc. 70], finding that:
(1) Plaintiff failed to state a constitutional claim against
CoreCivic and Transcor and dismissed the claim with prejudice
as to these two defendants; (2) Plaintiff failed to state a
claim for negligence, dismissed the claim without prejudice,
and granted to leave to allow Plaintiff to amend the
negligence claim within 30 days of the filing of the
Memorandum Opinion and Order; and (3) CorVel was not a proper
party to the lawsuit, thus, dismissing it from the case. On
October 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint for
Damages Resulting from Personal Injury against Defendant
Isaacs, Defendant Fuertes, and Transcor alleging negligence,
negligent hiring and training, and vicarious liability
filed an amended complaint that alleges a claim of negligence
against Defendant Isaacs, Defendant Fuertes, and Defendant
Transcor, a claim of vicarious liability and an additional
claim of negligent hiring and training against Defendant
Transcor. The amended complaint did not reference any
constitutional violations that would give this Court
jurisdiction. See Franklin v. Kansas Dep't of
Corr., 160 Fed.Appx. 730, 734 (10th Cir. 2005) (holding
that an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint
and renders the original complaint of no legal effect as to
claims and defendants not included in the amended complaint).
Court then filed an Order to Show Cause sua sponte
to address whether the Court should retain jurisdiction as no
federal claims remained on the complaint. The Court asked
both parties to file responses, if they wished to do so. Only
Defendants' filed a response.
suggest that the Court should retain jurisdiction because
“judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity
weigh in favor of jurisdiction.” [Doc. 84 at 3-4
(citing Carnegie-Mellon University v. Cohill, 484
U.S. 343, 350 (1988))].
28 U.S.C. § 1367 this Court “may decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over [Plaintiff's
pendent state law claims] if . . . the district Court has
dismissed all claims over which it has original
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C., § 1367(a), (c)(1).
“Since pendent jurisdiction is a doctrine of
discretion, United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S.
715 (1966), a district court may decline to exercise
jurisdiction over a state law claim . . .. If the federal
claim is dismissed before trial, even though not
insubstantial in the jurisdictional sense, the state law
claim will generally be dismissed as well.”
Thatcher Enters v. Cache Cnty Corp., 902 F.2d 1472,
1478 (10th Cir. 1990).
federal court should consider and weigh in each case, and at
every stage of the litigation, the values of judicial
economy, convenience, fairness, and comity in order to decide
whether to exercise jurisdiction over a case brought in that
court involving pendent state-law claims. When the balance of
these factors indicates that a case properly belongs in state
court, as when the federal-law claims have dropped out of the
lawsuit in its early stages and only state-law claims remain,
the federal court should decline the exercise of jurisdiction
by dismissing the case without prejudice. Cohill,
484 U.S. at 350 (footnote omitted). “[T]he doctrine of
pendent jurisdiction thus is a doctrine of flexibility,
designed to allow courts to deal with cases involving pendent
claims in the manner that most sensibly accommodates a range
of concerns and values.” Id. Weighing the
factors set forth set forth in Cohill, the Court
will decline to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
pendent state-law claims.
the case has been pending in this Court for about a year and
discovery has been conducted, the Court allowed Plaintiff to
file an amended complaint, no trial has been set, and the
Court has not ruled on the summary judgment motions filed by
Defendants. Therefore, this case is still some distance from
ready for trial and the Court sees no advantage between
either this Court or state court as far as judicial economy.
as to convenience, Defendants do not guide the Court on how
this Court would be more convenient than a state court. The
Court finds that both courts are convenient for the parties.
as comity, Defendants argue that this Court is just as
capable as the state court to resolve the issues of
negligence alleged by Plaintiff. However, the state courts
are better suited to resolve these issues as they are able to
procure for the parties a surer-footed reading of applicable
law. United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726
(1966) (“Needless decisions of state law should be
avoided both as a matter of comity and to promote justice
between the parties, by procuring for them a surer-footed
reading of applicable law.”); see also Brooks v.
Gaenzle, 614 F.3d 1213, 1230 (10th Cir. 2010) (reversing
and remanding the district court's grant of summary
judgment on state tort claim with instructions to dismiss the
claim without prejudice without considering the remaining
Cohill factors because “[n]otions of comity
and federalism demand that a state court try its own
lawsuits, absent compelling reasons to the contrary”
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted)). Therefore,
the factors weigh in favor of remand.
because of Plaintiff s tactical decisions in this Court, the
Court is concerned that Plaintiff will simply file a
state-court complaint with the federal claims once the case
is remanded to state court, and thus, this may give the Court
jurisdiction again. Therefore, the Court will only remand the
case after Plaintiff has dismissed the federal constitutional