United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
D. ENGELHARDT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1) (Rec. Doc. 71) filed by Defendants Frank Ford and
Frank Ford, LLC d/b/a Frank Ford Tennis
(“Defendants”). In response, Plaintiff Thomas
D'Aquin (“D'Aquin”) filed a memorandum in
opposition (Rec. Doc. 73), to which Defendants have replied.
See Rec. Doc. 79. Having carefully considered the
supporting and opposing submissions, the record, and the
applicable law, IT IS ORDERED that the
motion is DENIED for the reasons stated
Defendants argue that to the extent that Defendants'
motion for partial summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 45) is
granted, this Court should not exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over D'Aquin's breach of contract claim.
However, this Court will first address Defendants' second
argument relevant to whether this Court has original
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 over the
remaining breach of contract claim. See Rec. Doc. 71-1
at p. 8.
this Court granted the Defendants' motion for partial
summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 45) on January 18, 2018,
dismissing D'Aquin's federal discrimination claim
under Title VII and/or 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Defendants
conceded in the instant motion that D'Aquin and
Defendants are citizens of different states, and D'Aquin
has alleged that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
Id. However, Defendants argue that D'Aquin has
not met his burden of proof to demonstrate that his breach of
contract claim exceeds the jurisdictional threshold.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), district courts have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive
of interest and costs, and is between citizens of different
States. With regard to the amount in controversy,
The burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction in
federal court rests on the party seeking to invoke it. It has
long been recognized that “unless the law gives a
different rule, the sum claimed by the plaintiff controls if
the claim is apparently made in good faith.” To justify
dismissal, “it must appear to a legal certainty that
the claim is really for less than the jurisdictional
amount.” We have previously indicated, however, that
this “legal certainty” test has limited
utility-in fact is inapplicable-when the plaintiff has
alleged an indeterminate amount of damages. Furthermore,
“bare allegations [of jurisdictional facts] have been
held insufficient to invest a federal court with
jurisdiction.”. . . when a complaint does not allege a
specific amount of damages, the party invoking federal
jurisdiction must prove by a preponderance of the evidence
that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional
amount. The district court must first examine the complaint
to determine whether it is “facially apparent”
that the claims exceed the jurisdictional amount. If it is
not thus apparent, the court may rely on “summary
judgment-type” evidence to ascertain the amount in
controversy. Importantly, the jurisdictional facts must be
judged as of the time the complaint is filed; subsequent
events cannot serve to deprive the court of jurisdiction once
it has attached.
St. Paul Reinsurance Co. v. Greenberg, 134 F.3d
1250, 1253-54 (5th Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted).
With regard to a claim for a specific amount of damages,
“[w]hen the defendant has challenged the amount in
controversy in the proper manner, the plaintiff must support
his allegations of jurisdictional amount with competent proof
. . . [T]he plaintiff, must show ‘that it does not
appear to a legal certainty that its claim is for less than
the jurisdictional amount.'” Bloom v.
Depository Tr. Co., 136 F.3d 1328, 1998 WL 44542, at *1
(5th Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted).
upon allegations in D'Aquin's Amended Complaint (Rec.
Doc. 12), it appears that he is claiming a specific amount of
monetary damages. In his Amended Complaint, D'Aquin
seeks “damages from the breaking of ties and teaching
agreements to teach tennis that was costing 75, 000 in lost
revenue a year.” See Rec. Doc. 12 at p.
that D'Aquin is claiming a specific amount of damages, it
does not appear as though he has made his claim for damages
with sufficient detail. D'Aquin's Amended Complaint
fails to give any basis for which he claims a loss of $75,
000 in revenue per year. D'Aquin's unsupported and
conclusory claims for lost revenue in excess of the
jurisdictional amount does not vest this Court with original
jurisdiction. Moreover, as Defendants point out in their
(i) does not allege that he actually performed any services
under the alleged verbal contract, (ii) does not allege that
Defendants failed to pay him for any services under the
alleged verbal contract, (iii) fails to set forth adequate
allegations that would permit the Court or Defendants to
understand the financial terms of the alleged verbal
contract, and (iv) fails to adequately set forth any moving
expenses that were incurred by Mr. D'Aquin in his move.
(Rec. Doc. 71-1 at p. 9). Thus, such bare allegations
regarding the amount in controversy are insufficient. This
Court finds that it appears, on the showing made, to a legal
certainty that D'Aquin's claim is for less than the
jurisdictional amount. Thus, this Court lacks original
subject matter jurisdiction over the breach of contract
claim, as D'Aquin has not satisfied his burden in
establishing that the amount in controversy exceeds the $75,
000 jurisdictional threshold.
the Court will exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining breach of contract claim. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(a), “in any civil action of which the
district courts have original jurisdiction, the district
courts shall 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.” Thus, the question under this section is
“whether the supplemental claims are so related to the
original claims that they form part of the same case or
controversy, or in other words, they ‘derive from a
common nucleus of operative fact.'” Mendoza v.
Murphy, 532 F .3d 342, 346 (5th Cir.2008) (quoting
United Mine Workers of Amer. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715,
725 (1966)). In the instant matter, D'Aquin's
allegations regarding his federal discrimination claim and
the breach of a verbal contract derive from a common nucleus
of operative fact, as D'Aquin relates the breach of the
verbal contract to Defendants' alleged discrimination
against him. See Rec. Doc. 12; see also
Rec. Doc. 1.
in determining whether the Court should retain jurisdiction
over the state law claims, this Court must examine the
factors set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) as well as the
common law factors of judicial economy, convenience,
fairness, and comity. Enochs v. Lampasas Cty., 641
F.3d 155, 159 (5th Cir. 2011). Specifically, the statutory
factors the Court must consider are: (1) whether the state
claims raise novel or complex issues of state law; (2)
whether the state claims substantially predominate over the
federal claims; (3) whether the federal claims have been
dismissed; and (4) whether there are exceptional
circumstances or other compelling reasons for declining
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). Moreover,
“[t]he general rule is that a court should decline to
exercise jurisdiction over remaining state-law claims when
all federal-law claims are eliminated ...