Guarino v. Auburn University et al

Filing 38

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER as follows: (1) Guarino's 29 Motion to Amend Complaint is denied; (2) Guarino's 30 Motion to Strike "Out of Residency" claim of defendant Henderson is denied; (3) Guarino's 33 Motion to Amend Joint Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice is denied. Signed by Hon. Chief Judge Mark E. Fuller on 10/20/09. (sl, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA E A S T E R N DIVISION A N T H O N Y J. GUARINO, P la in tif f , v. A U B U R N UNIVERSITY, et al., D e f e n d a n ts. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C A S E NO. 3:09-cv-0080-MEF (W O ) MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER O n August 28, 2009, this Court entered an order (Doc. #23) dismissing all of P la in tif f Anthony J. Guarino's ("Guarino") claims against Defendant Auburn University a n d several of its officers (collectively "Auburn"), leaving only Guarino's claims against D e f e n d a n t Susan Henderson ("Henderson") and Henderson's counterclaims against G u a rin o . Because this Court had seemingly dismissed every federal claim from G u a rin o 's complaint, the Court entered a second order (Doc. #24) on September 3, 2009, re q u irin g both Guarino and Henderson to show cause why this Court should continue to e x e rc ise jurisdiction over the case. T h is jurisdictional inquiry is now before the Court because both Guarino and H e n d e rs o n have timely responded to the order. In addition, this case is also before the C o u rt on three other motions: (1) Guarino's Motion to Amend Complaint (Doc. #29) filed S e p te m b e r 17, 2009; (2) Guarino's Motion to Strike "Out of Residency" Claim of D e f e n d a n t Henderson (Doc. #30) filed September 17, 2009; and (3) Guarino's Motion to Amend Joint Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice (Doc. #33) filed October 2, 2009. For the reasons set out below, this Court will continue to exercise jurisdiction over this c a s e and will deny all of the above motions. 1 . Exercise of Supplemental Jurisdiction U p o n consideration of the arguments of both Guarino and Henderson in their re s p o n s e s , this Court will continue to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over this case. This decision is entirely within the Court's discretion. The statute authorizing s u p p le m e n ta l jurisdiction specifies that a district court "may decline to exercise s u p p le m e n ta l jurisdiction over a claim if . . . the district court has dismissed all claims o v e r which it has original jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. 1367(c)(3) (emphasis added). Therefore, a district court has the discretion to continue to exercise jurisdiction over the re m a in in g state-law claims in a case even after dismissing the federal claims that created th e original jurisdiction. Osborn v. Haley, 549 U.S. 225, 245 (2007) ("Even if only statela w claims remained after resolution of the federal question, the District Court would h a v e discretion, consistent with Article III, to retain jurisdiction."). In light of this broad discretion, the Court's finds that Guarino's argument in favor o f dismissal is not persuasive and that the Court should continue to exercise jurisdiction o v e r this case. It would be unfair to Henderson to dismiss the case. Neither Auburn nor H e n d e rs o n removed the case to federal court. Rather, it was Guarino who chose the f e d e ra l forum, and he is now the only party to this action who urges the Court to dismiss 2 the case. In addition, Guarino's decision to bring this case in federal court has forced H e n d e rs o n to assert her compulsory counterclaims in federal court. As such, this Court s e e s no compelling reason to dismiss the remaining claims, whether they arise under e ith e r federal or state law.1 Because this Court had proper jurisdiction over the case when it was filed, the mere fact that it has dismissed the claims over which it had original ju ris d ic tio n will not divest it of its jurisdiction over the entire case going forward. 2 . Guarino's Motion to Amend Complaint (Doc. #29) G u a rin o moves to amend the portion of his complaint that, according to H e n d e rs o n , supports her argument that the Court should retain jurisdiction over this case b e c a u s e Guarino has made a federal-law claim against Henderson. Even though H e n d e rs o n has not responded to this motion, the Court will deny the motion. On April 2 4 , 2009, this Court entered a Uniform Scheduling Order (Doc. #19) under Federal Rule o f Civil Procedure 16. Section 4 of this scheduling order clearly states that any motions to amend the pleadings must be filed on or before July 10, 2009. Federal Rule of Civil P ro c e d u re 16(b)(4) provides that such a schedule "shall not be modified except upon a B e c a u se this Court chooses to continue to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining c la im s in this case on the basis of supplemental jurisdiction, the Court does not need to in q u ire into whether it would be required to do so, as is argued by Henderson, because of th e possibility that Guarino has made a federal claim against Henderson or that the Court m ig h t have diversity jurisdiction over one or all of Henderson's counterclaims. Nonetheless, the Court does note that the possibility that Henderson might have diversity ju ris d ic tio n over one or all of Henderson's counterclaims weighs in favor of keeping the c a s e for judicial-efficiency reasons, because this Court's dismissal of the case would lik e ly be followed by removal of the case back to federal court. 3 1 showing of good cause" and with leave of court. That is, in making a motion for leave to a m e n d a pleading after the deadline set by this Court's scheduling order, a plaintiff must s h o w that good cause exists for his untimely attempt to amend his complaint. See Sosa v. A ir p r in t Sys., Inc., 133 F.3d 1417, 1419 (11th Cir. 1998) (applying the Rule 16 goodc a u s e standard rather than the more liberal standard of Rule 15). On the record before it, th e plaintiff has not established good cause. In fact, from the face of the motion, this C o u rt believes that Guarino has not shown any cause at all. Therefore, the Court will d e n y the motion. 3 . Guarino's Motion to Strike (Doc. #30) G u a rin o moves to strike from Henderson's counterclaim her assertion of diversity ju ris d ic tio n , and the motion presents evidence showing that there is no diversity of c itiz e n s h ip between Guarino and Henderson. Henderson opposes the motion and presents e v id e n c e that there is diversity of citizenship. Because the Court has already decided to e x e rc ise its jurisdiction over this case as a whole through its discretion under 1367, the e x is te n c e or nonexistence of diversity jurisdiction over Henderson's counterclaims is irre le v a n t, and the Court will deny the motion as moot.2 T h e Court also notes that the motion is procedurally deficient. Under Federal R u le of Civil Procedure 12(f), a motion to strike must be made before responding to the c h a lle n g e d pleading or within twenty days after service of a pleading if no response is a llo w e d . Guarino filed his Answer (Doc. #20) to Henderson's counterclaims on May 21, 2 0 0 9 , but only filed this motion to strike 127 days later on September 17, 2009. Therefore, the motion is untimely under the federal rules. 4 2 4. Guarino's Motion to Amend Joint Stipulation (Doc. #33) T h ird , Guarino moves to amend the stipulation of dismissal he and Auburn jointly f ile d on August 21, 2009 (Doc. #22). But this motion is defective in two respects. First, G u a rin o may not unilaterally amend the joint stipulation, or any other joint filing for that m a tte r, without the express assent of all of the other parties to that joint filing. Second, th e motion does not seek to change the actual text of the joint stipulation itself. It is a m o tio n to amend that requests no amendment, and as such is nothing more than a waste of th is Court's time. Both of these flaws are fatal, and the Court will deny the motion. 5 . Conclusion A c c o rd in g ly, it is hereby ORDERED as follows: (1 ) Guarino's Motion to Amend Complaint (Doc. #29) filed September 17, 2009, is DENIED. (2 ) Guarino's Motion to Strike "Out of Residency" Claim of Defendant Henderson (D o c . #30) filed September 17, 2009, is DENIED. (3 ) Guarino's Motion to Amend Joint Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice (D o c . #33) filed October 2, 2009, is DENIED. D O N E this the 20th day of October, 2009. /s/ Mark E. Fuller CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 5

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