Kenworthy v. Old Republic Title & Escrow et al

Filing 83

ORDER signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 10/31/2017 GRANTING 78 Motion to Dismiss without prejudice. The Court further declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Defendant Sittners counterclaim, and DISMISSES the counterclaim without prejudice. CASE CLOSED. (Hunt, G)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 11 TIM KENWORTHY, Executor of the Estate of Donald Kenworthy, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 No. 2:17-cv-00856-JAM-AC ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO DISMISS v. OLD REPUBLIC TITLE & ESCROW, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Tim Kenworthy’s 17 18 Motion to Dismiss. Mot., ECF No. 78. Defendant Nationstar 19 Mortgage filed a Statement of Non-Opposition, ECF No. 81, and 20 Defendants Violet Blakeney and Elisabeth Sittner have not filed 21 oppositions to Plaintiff’s motion. 22 parties’ briefing on the motion and relevant legal authority, the 23 Court will grant Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss and dismiss 24 Defendant Sittner’s state law counterclaim without prejudice, 25 closing this case. 1 After consideration of the 26 27 28 1 This motion was determined to be suitable for decision without oral argument. E.D. Cal. L.R. 230(g). The hearing was scheduled for November 7, 2017. 1 1 I. 2 BACKGROUND On April 24, 2017, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed suit 3 alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt 4 Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq., and nine 5 other state and common law claims. 6 alleged that twelve named defendants and other unnamed defendants 7 engaged in financial elder abuse, pressuring his deceased father 8 into purchasing a home in Maui, Hawaii. Compl., ECF No. 1. Plaintiff Id. at ¶¶ 19–63. 9 Defendants Old Republic Title & Escrow, Deni Kawauchi, 10 Homestreet Bank, Academy Mortgage, Kara Beltran, American Green 11 Realty, Coldwell Banker Island Properties, and Melanie Vitale 12 moved to dismiss. 13 Defendant Faith Armanini filed a joinder to the motions. 14 Joinder, ECF No. 54. 15 against Plaintiff for $28,000, which she alleges is owed for 16 renovations performed at the Maui home. 17 pp. 5–7. 18 Mots. Dismiss, ECF Nos. 18, 23, 29, 30, 40. Defendant Sittner filed a counterclaim Answer, ECF No. 22, After Plaintiff retained counsel, pursuant to the magistrate 19 judge’s order, the case was reassigned to this Court. 20 No. 63; Min. Order, ECF No. 71. 21 dismissed Defendants Old Republic Title & Escrow, Deni Kawauchi, 22 Homestreet Bank, Academy Mortgage, Kara Beltran, American Green 23 Realty, Coldwell Banker Island Properties, Melanie Vitale, and 24 Faith Armanini without prejudice. 25 Plaintiff now moves to dismiss the remaining defendants without 26 prejudice and dismiss Defendant’s Sittner’s counterclaim. 27 pp. 4–6. 28 /// Mins., ECF Plaintiff then voluntarily 2 Vol. Dismiss, ECF No. 77. Mot., 1 2 3 4 II. A. OPINION Legal Standard 1. Voluntary Dismissal After An Answer Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) governs the voluntary 5 dismissal of an action in federal court. Rule 41(a) provides 6 that “an action may be dismissed at the plaintiff’s request only 7 by court order, on terms that the court considers proper,” unless 8 a plaintiff files a notice of dismissal before the opposing party 9 serves either an answer or a motion for summary judgment, or the 10 parties stipulate to the dismissal. 11 Whether to grant a Rule 41(a)(2) motion lies within the district 12 court’s discretion. 13 277 (9th Cir. 1980). 14 unless a defendant can show it will suffer “some plain legal 15 prejudice” as a result of dismissal. 16 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2001). 17 2. Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1–2). Sams v. Beech Aircraft Corp., 625 F.2d 273, A Rule 41(a)(2) motion should be granted Smith v. Lenches, 263 F.3d Exercise of Supplemental Jurisdiction 18 Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, a federal court may retain 19 supplemental jurisdiction over claims over which no original 20 jurisdiction exists. 21 jurisdiction over all claims “that are so related to claims in 22 the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part 23 of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United 24 States Constitution.” 25 brought by a plaintiff and counterclaims brought by a defendant. 26 Sparrow v. Mazda Am. Credit, 385 F. Supp. 2d 1063, 1066 (E.D. 27 Cal. 2005). 28 Section 1367(a) grants supplemental This section applies to state law claims Section 1367(c) lists reasons that a district court may 3 1 2 decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, including: (1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue of State law, (2) the claim substantially predominates over the claim or claims over which the district court has original jurisdiction, (3) the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction, or (4) in exceptional circumstances, there are other compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). “[I]n the usual case in which all federal- 10 law claims are eliminated before trial, the balance of factors 11 . . . will point toward declining to exercise jurisdiction over 12 the remaining state-law claims.” 13 114 F.3d 999, 1001 (9th Cir.), supplemented, 121 F.3d 714 (9th 14 Cir. 1997), as amended (Oct. 1, 1997) (quoting Carnegie-Mellon 15 Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 n.7 (1988)). 16 17 18 B. Acri v. Varian Assocs., Inc., Analysis 1. Plaintiff’s Claims In this case, Plaintiff moves to dismiss his claims against 19 the three remaining defendants without prejudice. 20 Defendant Nationstar Mortgage has submitted that it does not 21 oppose Plaintiff’s motion and Defendants Blakeley and Sittner 22 have not filed oppositions to the motion. 23 that Defendants have not shown that they will suffer any 24 prejudice as a result of dismissal, and grants Plaintiff’s motion 25 to dismiss. 26 Mot. at 6. The Court thus finds 2. Defendant Sittner’s Counterclaim 27 After dismissing Plaintiff’s claims, only Defendant 28 4 1 Sittner’s counterclaim remains. 2 enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c), as well as the values of 3 “economy, convenience, fairness, and comity,” the Court declines 4 jurisdiction over Sittner’s state law counterclaim. 5 114 F.3d at 1001. 6 it had original jurisdiction, so Sittner’s claim is more 7 appropriately addressed in state court. Here, considering the factors See Acri, The Court has dismissed all claims over which 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). 8 9 10 III. ORDER For the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS the 11 Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss without prejudice. 12 further declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over 13 Defendant Sittner’s counterclaim, and DISMISSES the counterclaim 14 without prejudice. 15 within this case, the Court directs the Clerk of Court to close 16 the case. 17 18 The Court Because the Court has dismissed all claims IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 31, 2017 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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