United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Denny, Esq., Halunen Law, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of
R. Kjellberg-Nelson, Esq., and Dyan J. Ebert, Esq., Quinlivan
& Hughes, PA, St. Cloud, MN, on behalf of Defendant
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
August 1, 2019, the undersigned United States District Judge
heard oral argument on Defendant Wabasha County's (the
“County”) Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket No.
24]. For the reasons stated below, the County's Motion is
granted in part.
Amanda Ferguson (“Ferguson”) and Janet Sandwick
“Plaintiffs”) allege the County discriminated
against them based on their sexual orientation. Compl.
[Docket No. 1]. Plaintiffs assert federal claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I) and state law claims under the
Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minn. Stat., § 363A.01
et seq. (“MHRA”) (Count II). During oral
argument on the County's summary judgment motion,
Plaintiffs conceded that their federal claims under §
1983 should be dismissed. At the Court's request, the
parties filed post-hearing letter briefs [Docket Nos. 41, 42]
addressing whether the Court should exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims.
federal district court has the discretionary power to decline
jurisdiction where it has ‘dismissed all claims over
which it has original jurisdiction.'” Johnson
v. City of Shorewood, 360 F.3d 810, 819 (8th Cir. 2004)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3)). In determining whether
to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, courts should consider
judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity.
Wilson v. Miller, 821 F.3d 963, 970 (8th Cir. 2016)
(citing Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S.
343, 350 (1988)). “[I]n the usual case in which all
federal-law claims are eliminated before trial, the balance
of factors to be considered under the pendent jurisdiction
doctrine . . . will point toward declining to exercise
jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims.”
Carnegie-Mellon, 484 U.S. at 350, n.7.
judicial economy is best served by declining to exercise
jurisdiction over the MHRA claims. The Court has not yet
expended significant judicial resources or issued a
substantive order in this case, which remains in the early
stages of litigation. The Court's involvement has been
limited to the magistrate judge's issuing of a stipulated
protective order and a pretrial scheduling order, and the
magistrate judge's resolution of an issue concerning the
disclosure of private data. See Docket Nos. 12, 14,
20, 23. This summary judgment motion is the district
judge's first “hands on” involvement with the
also weighs in favor of declining to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction. Plaintiffs conceded the dismissal of their
federal claims without explanation or argument and focused
entirely on their state law claims. Exercising supplemental
jurisdiction under these circumstances would essentially
condone forum shopping, because a plaintiff wishing to
litigate their state claims in federal court could do so by
merely including a federal claim in their complaint and then
immediately conceding the federal claim after the case is
filed. Under these circumstances, the Court declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction and the state claims will
be dismissed without prejudice to bringing them in state
court. The briefing and effort the parties have expended to
bring this case to the summary judgment stage in federal
court will assist the parties as they proceed in state court.
upon the foregoing, and all the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
Defendant Wabasha County's Motion for Summary Judgment
[Docket No. 24] is GRANTED IN PART;
Plaintiffs concede the dismissal of Count I of the Complaint
[Docket No. 1], and Count I ...