Turner et al v. State of Alabama, Department of Youth Services et al
ORDERED that Defendants' 4 motion to dismiss the § 1983 claims is GRANTED and that the § 1983 claims are DISMISSED without prejudice. It is further ORDERED that the state-law claims are REMANDED to the Circuit Court of Montgomery Cou nty, Alabama. To the extent that the 4 motion to dismiss sought dismissal of any state-law claims, it is ORDERED that the motion is DENIED. The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to take appropriate steps to effectuate the remand. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 7/30/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Appeals Checklist)(kh, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
DR. CAROLYN TURNER, et al.,
STATE OF ALABAMA,
DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH
SERVICES, et al.,
CASE NO. 2:15-CV-507-WKW
Four tenured state teachers obtained a temporary restraining order in state
court provisionally halting their one-hundred-mile transfers to out-of-town schools.
Defendants removed this suit to federal court prior to the state-court hearing on the
motion for preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs challenged the removal, but lost.
Removal was proper because this court has original jurisdiction over the
Complaint’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims alleging federal constitutional violations and
supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims.
Defendants now move to dismiss all claims in the Complaint, asserting
immunity under state and federal provisions and failure to state a claim. (Doc.
# 4.) Conceding that McKinney v. Pate, 20 F.3d 1550 (11th Cir. 1994) (en banc),
forecloses their 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims, Plaintiffs ask this court to dismiss the
§ 1983 claims without prejudice and to remand the state-law claims to state court.
The dismissal of the § 1983 claims is required. Plaintiffs have not alleged
that the State of Alabama has “refuse[d] to provide a process sufficient to remedy
the procedural deprivation . . . .” McKinney, 20 F.3d at 1557. Defendants’ motion
to dismiss the § 1983 claims is due to be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Because there remains a possibility that Plaintiffs might be
able to state a claim at a later date, the dismissal will be without prejudice.1
Moreover, a district court may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over state-law claims when it has dismissed all claims over which it has original
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). “Where § 1367(c) applies, considerations of
judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity may influence the court’s
discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.” Baggett v. First Nat’l Bank of
Gainesville, 117 F.3d 1342, 1353 (11th Cir. 1997). While the decision to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction is discretionary, the Eleventh Circuit also “ha[s]
encouraged district courts to dismiss any remaining state claims when . . . the
federal claims have been dismissed prior to trial.” Raney v. Allstate Ins. Co., 370
F.3d 1086, 1089 (11th Cir. 2004); see also Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484
U.S. 343, 350 n.7 (1988) (“When federal law claims have dropped out of the
lawsuit in its early stages and only state-law claims remain, the federal court
Dismissal is not appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41 because neither
Plaintiffs nor the court is “empowered to dismiss only certain claims under Rule 41.” Klay v.
United Healthgroup., Inc., 376 F.3d 1092, 1106 (11th Cir. 2004).
should decline the exercise of jurisdiction by dismissing the case without
prejudice.”); Baggett, 117 F.3d at 1353 (“State courts, not federal courts, should be
the final arbiters of state law.”).
Exercising its discretion, the court declines to retain supplemental
jurisdiction over the state-law claims based upon judicial economy, convenience,
fairness, and comity, as well as the fact that dismissal of the federal-claw claims is
occurring in this lawsuit’s early stages. The state-law claims will be remanded to
the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama, pursuant to § 1367(c)(3). See
Cook ex rel. Estate of Tessier v. Sheriff of Monroe Cnty., Fla., 402 F.3d 1092, 1123
(11th Cir. 2005) (“Because this case was originally filed in state court and removed
to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, if the district court declines to
continue to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, [the] remaining claim[s] should be
remanded to state court.”).
Defendants’ sole argument against remand is that there are no state-law
claims in the Complaint to remand. (See Doc. # 21, at ¶ 2 (“All of Plaintiffs’
claims are premised on federal law.”).) But that argument does not wash. Statelaw claims are interwoven throughout the Complaint’s allegations and counts,2 and
(See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 1 (“This action further seeks to declare the rights and obligations of
the parties pursuant to an interpretation of state statutes and state constitutional provisions
. . . .”); Compl. ¶ 2 (“Plaintiffs seek that relief to which they are entitled pursuant to the
provisions of the Students First Act.”); Compl. ¶ 100 (“Plaintiffs request the Court [to] construe
and issue a ruling regarding state statutes and their application in this given situation.”); Compl.
Defendants provide no grounds or authority for finding that the factual relatedness
of the federal- and state-law claims somehow extinguishes the state-law claims’
existence. Defendants’ argument also is contrary to their reliance on state-agent
immunity. (See Doc. # 4.)
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Defendants’ motion to dismiss the § 1983
claims (Doc. # 4) is GRANTED and that the § 1983 claims are DISMISSED
It is further ORDERED that the state-law claims are REMANDED to the
Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama. To the extent that the motion to
dismiss (Doc. # 4) sought dismissal of any state-law claims, it is ORDERED that
the motion is DENIED. The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to take appropriate
steps to effectuate the remand.
DONE this 30th day of July, 2015.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
¶ 101 (“Plaintiffs seek this Court to construe said state statutes . . . and State constitutional rights
and laws . . . .”); Compl. ¶ 109 (“Plaintiffs were further denied their due process rights under . . .
the Constitution of Alabama . . . .”); Compl. ¶ 116 (“Plaintiffs seek to compel Defendants to
perform their legal and ministerial duty and to comply with the [Students First] Act and all state
. . . laws . . . .”).)
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