Patterson v. Two Fingers LLC et al

Filing 53

ORDER that Plaintiff Amy Patterson's Motion to Decline Supplemental Jurisdiction Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (Doc. 46 ) is denied. See order for details. Signed by Judge Neil V. Wake on 5/22/15. (NKS)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Amy Patterson, No. CV-15-00494-PHX-NVW Plaintiff, 10 11 v. 12 ORDER Two Fingers LLC, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 15 Before the court is Plaintiff Amy Patterson’s Motion to Decline Supplemental 16 Jurisdiction Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (Doc. 46). In “any civil action of which the 17 district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental 18 jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such 19 original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III 20 of the United States Constitution.” 21 supplemental jurisdiction even over state law counterclaims brought by defendants. See 22 Smith v. Lenches, 263 F.3d 972, 977 (9th Cir. 2001) (analyzing district court’s decision to 23 dismiss state law counterclaim for abuse of discretion); Danner v. Himmelfarb, 858 F.2d 24 515, 522 (9th Cir. 1988). “A state law claim is part of the same case or controversy when 25 it shares a ‘common nucleus of operative fact’ with the federal claims and the state and 26 federal claims would normally be tried together.” Bahrampour v. Lampert, 356 F.3d 969, 27 978 (9th Cir. 2004). 28 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). District courts have 1 In this case, Patterson sued Defendants for Title VII sexual harassment, intentional 2 infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault, and defamation. 3 counterclaimed for business disparagement, wrongful interference with business 4 relationships, libel per se, trade libel, public disclosure of private facts, false light, 5 intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and 6 civil conspiracy. The essence of Defendants’ allegations is that, in retaliation for her 7 forced resignation from Defendants’ restaurants, Patterson and her former attorney, Peter 8 K. Strojnik, distributed leaflets and posted websites that suggested Defendant Joseph 9 Popo had sexually harassed numerous women, including Patterson. In addition, Patterson 10 and Strojnik allegedly reported these and other allegations to Defendants’ landlord and 11 “conspired . . . to extort money from Popo by threatening the disclosure of work related 12 communications, potential criminal activity, and alleged affairs to the public at large.” 13 (Doc. 45 at 5.) Defendants 14 Determining the parties’ liability on both sets of claims will require understanding 15 the nature of Patterson’s employment with Defendants and her reasons for leaving, 16 whether severe sexual harassment or unsatisfactory performance. Trying Defendants’ 17 counterclaims will involve much of the same evidence that Patterson might use to prove 18 her Title VII, battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. 19 Indeed, if Patterson’s allegations are true, Defendants’ claims for defamation, and 20 perhaps some of their other claims, must fail as a matter of law. 21 counterclaims will also necessitate other evidence that, strictly speaking, is irrelevant to 22 Patterson’s claims. But § 1367(a) does not require a perfect fit between those claims over 23 which a federal court has original jurisdiction and those claims over which it exercises 24 supplemental jurisdiction. Rather, as long as the two sets of claims share a “common 25 nucleus of operative facts,” supplemental jurisdiction is appropriate. 26 nucleus is present in this case. Defendants’ That common 27 Patterson argues that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the 28 counterclaims because the “nucleus of Plaintiff’s allegations relates to Plaintiff’s -2- 1 mistreatment prior to the commencement of litigation,” whereas Defendants’ 2 counterclaims “relate to events occurring after Plaintiff made her claims against 3 Defendants.” (Doc. 46 at 2 (emphasis in original).) This characterization appears to 4 misstate the record: Defendants allege Patterson and Strojnik began making threats no 5 later than January 12, 2015 (Doc. 45 at 5-6), but Patterson did not “commence” this 6 litigation until March 18, 2015 (Doc. 1). Regardless, Patterson offers no citation to 7 support her theory that the “common nucleus” test for § 1367(a) is governed by such 8 artificial cutoffs. The court can exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Defendants’ 9 counterclaims. 10 11 12 13 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff Amy Patterson’s Motion to Decline Supplemental Jurisdiction Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (Doc. 46) is denied. Dated this 22nd day of May, 2015. 14 15 Neil V. Wake United States District Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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