United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
EARL T. LINDSAY, JR. AND JOYCELYN BUTLER, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE DECEDENT, EARL T. LINDSAY
PORTS AMERICA GULFPORT, INC., ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
S. VANCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are three motions: intervenor plaintiffs Reginald
Rivers and Mosi Makori's motion to dismiss intervenor
defendant Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa,
Limited (“IDC”) with prejudice under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 41(a), IDC's motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6),  and plaintiffs Earl T. Lindsay, Jr. and
Joycelyn Butler's motion to remand. For the following
reasons, the Court GRANTS intervenor plaintiffs' motion
to dismiss and plaintiffs' motion to remand. The Court
DENIES IDC's motion to dismiss as moot.
case, now twice removed to this Court, arises out of decedent
Earl T. Lindsay's occupational exposure to asbestos and
contraction of lung cancer. Plaintiffs filed suit in the
Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans against a
number of defendants, including IDC, on February 17,
2016. One day later, plaintiffs filed a motion
to dismiss all claims asserted against IDC with
prejudice. Before the Civil District Court granted
this motion, defendant Cooper/T. Smith Stevedoring Company,
Inc. filed a third-party demand seeking contribution and/or
indemnification from IDC. IDC removed the entire case to this
Court. This Court granted IDC's motion to
dismiss with prejudice and remanded the action to state
court. Lindsay v. Ports Am. Gulfport, Inc., No.
16-3054, 2016 WL 6821958 (E.D. La. Nov. 18, 2016).
remand, Rivers and Makori intervened as plaintiffs and
reasserted all claims against defendants, including IDC,
contained in the original state court
complaint.Intervenor plaintiffs moved to dismiss its
claim for penalties and attorneys' fees against IDC
without prejudice, which the Civil District Court granted on
May 23, 2017. IDC again removed the entire action to
this Court on July 14, 2017. Plaintiffs, intervenor
plaintiffs, and IDC appear to agree that the claims against
IDC should be dismissed with prejudice and that the action
should be remanded.
Dismissal of Claims Against IDC
41(a) permits a plaintiff to dismiss an action “before
the opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for
summary judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i). A
“plaintiff is entitled to a dismissal against one
defendant under Rule 41(a), even though the action against
another defendant would remain pending.” Plains
Growers, Inc. ex rel. Florists' Mut. Ins. Co. v.
Ickes-Braun Glasshouses, Inc., 474 F.2d 250, 253 (5th
Cir. 1973). It is undisputed that IDC has filed neither an
answer nor a motion for summary judgment since being named as
an intervenor defendant. Moreover, IDC also moves for its
dismissal from this action. Thus, intervenor plaintiffs are
entitled to dismiss their claims against IDC with
Court found the first time IDC removed this action, IDC's
status as an agency or instrumentality of South Africa was
the only potential basis for jurisdiction in federal
court. The remainder of this case involves
state law tort claims against various defendants. While the
Court could exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining state law claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), as
before the Court will decline to do so based on the statutory
factors of 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) and common law factors.
28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), district courts have supplemental
jurisdiction over “all other 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.” Section
1367(c) provides that district courts may decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection (a)
if “(1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue of
State law, (2) the claim substantially predominates over the
claim or claims over which the district court has original
jurisdiction, (3) the district court has dismissed all claims
over which it has original jurisdiction, or (4) in
exceptional circumstances, there are other compelling reasons
for declining jurisdiction.” The language of Section
1367(c) and case law makes clear that this is not a balancing
test; any one of the four factors is independently sufficient
to justify declining supplemental jurisdiction. See
13D Wright & Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc.
Juris. § 3567.3 (3d ed.). The Supreme Court has
given further guidance, instructing federal courts to
consider and weigh the values of judicial economy,
convenience, fairness, and comity in order to decide whether
to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over pendent state law
claims. See Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484
U.S. 343, 350 (1988).
courts have “wide discretion” to decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims once
all federal claims have been dismissed. See Guzzino v.
Felterman, 191 F.3d 588, 595 (5th Cir. 1999).
Additionally, the Supreme Court has noted that when the
federal claims are eliminated before trial, the
Carnegie-Mellon factors will normally “point
toward declining to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining
state-law claims.” Carnegie-Mellon, 484 U.S.
at 350 n.7.
the Section 1367(c) and Carnegie-Mellon factors
weigh in favor of declining to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction. As for the Section 1367(c) factors, intervenor
plaintiffs have dismissed their claims against IDC, which
were the only arguable basis for original federal
jurisdiction. Additionally, all of the remaining claims are
state law claims, so state law claims clearly predominate.
Furthermore, the Carnegie-Mellon factors also
suggest that declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
is appropriate. This Court has invested little time or
resources in adjudicating this case, and judicial economy
will not be compromised if the case is remanded. Finally,
none of the parties asserts ...