Jackson v. Solo Group Managment, Inc. et al

Filing 4

ORDER Declining Supplemental Jurisdiction Over State Law Claim. Signed by Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo on 2/16/2021.(anh)

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Case 3:21-cv-00268-CAB-BLM Document 4 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.62 Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JERRY JACKSON, Case No.: 21-cv-268-CAB-BLM Plaintiff, 12 13 v. 14 SOLO GROUP MANAGEMENT INC. 15 dba MONELLO; JMAN AT THE Q, L.P., 16 ORDER DECLINING SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION OVER STATE LAW CLAIM and DOES 1-10, inclusive, 17 Defendants. 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 The complaint in this action asserts one claim under federal law for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), along with a claim for violation of California’s Unruh Act. The complaint asserts jurisdiction based on the existence of a federal question (the ADA claim), and supplemental jurisdiction over the state claim. Federal courts have the discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over all claims that are “so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). Even if supplemental jurisdiction exists, however, district courts may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim if: (1) it raises 1 21-cv-268-CAB-BLM Case 3:21-cv-00268-CAB-BLM Document 4 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.63 Page 2 of 4 1 a novel or complex issue of state law; (2) it substantially predominates over the claim(s) 2 over which the court has original jurisdiction; (3) the court has dismissed all claims over 3 which it has original jurisdiction; or (4) there are other compelling reasons for declining 4 jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). The Supreme Court has identified additional factors 5 that district courts should consider when deciding whether to exercise supplemental 6 jurisdiction, “including the circumstances of the particular case, the nature of the state law 7 claims, the character of the governing state law, and the relationship between the state and 8 federal claims.” City of Chicago v. Int’l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 173 (1997). 9 “While discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law 10 claims is triggered by the presence of one of the conditions in § 1367(c), it is informed by 11 the Gibbs 1 values ‘of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity.’” Acri v. Varian 12 Assocs., Inc., 114 F.3d 999, 1001 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc) (citations omitted). A district 13 court need not “articulate why the circumstances of [the] case are exceptional” to dismiss 14 state-law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1367(c)(1)-(3). San Pedro Hotel Co., Inc. 15 v. City of L.A., 159 F.3d 470, 478–79 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted). 16 Here, the complaint states a federal claim for violation of the ADA, along with a 17 state law claim for violation of the Unruh Act. As a result, while the ADA does not entitle 18 a plaintiff to recover damages, the complaint seeks statutory damages under the Unruh Act. 19 Meanwhile, the same injunctive relief available under the ADA is also available under the 20 Unruh Act. See Schutza v. Cuddeback, 262 F. Supp. 3d 1025, 1031 (S.D. Cal. 2017) 21 (noting that “[i]t is unclear what advantage—other than avoiding state-imposed pleading 22 requirements—Plaintiff gains by being in federal court since his sole remedy under the 23 ADA is injunctive relief, which is also available under the Unruh Act.”). Thus, the state 24 claim and the issues related thereto substantially predominate over the ADA claim, which 25 appears to be a secondary claim included to justify filing the complaint in this Court, rather 26 27 28 1 United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715 (1966). 2 21-cv-268-CAB-BLM Case 3:21-cv-00268-CAB-BLM Document 4 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.64 Page 3 of 4 1 than a necessary (let alone predominant) claim in this lawsuit. See Rutherford v. Ara 2 Lebanese Grill, No. 18-CV-01497-AJB-WVG, 2019 WL 1057919, at *3 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 3 6, 2019) (declining supplemental jurisdiction over Unruh Act claim because Unruh Act 4 claim substantially predominated over ADA claim). 5 In addition, the important interest of comity supports declining jurisdiction. See 6 United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966) (holding that comity is a factor 7 to be considered before exercising supplemental jurisdiction). California has a strong 8 interest in protecting its citizens and businesses from abusive litigation and also in 9 preventing its own laws from being misused for unjust purposes. In 2012, in an attempt to 10 deter baseless claims and vexatious litigation, California adopted heightened pleading 11 requirements for disability discrimination lawsuits under the Unruh Act. See Cal. Civ. 12 Proc. Code § 425.502; SB 1186, Chapter 383 § 24 (Ca. 2012). Over the last three months, 13 Plaintiff has filed over two dozen disability discrimination cases in this court in the past 14 two years, and currently has five disability discrimination cases pending in this court. 15 Accordingly, the need for California’s procedural protections appears particularly acute. 16 Finally, “federal courts may properly take measures to discourage forum shopping.” 17 Rutherford v. Econolodge, No. 18CV1471-LAB (JMA), 2019 WL 950329, at *3 (S.D. Cal. 18 Feb. 27, 2019) (citing Hanna v. Plumer, 380 U.S. 460, 467–68 (1965)); Schutza v. 19 Cuddeback, 262 F. Supp. 3d at 1031 (holding that plaintiff who had filed numerous ADA 20 actions in federal court was engaging in forum shopping “to avoid California’s heightened 21 pleading requirements for disability discrimination claims.”). “[I]t would be improper to 22 allow Plaintiff to use the federal court system as a loophole to evade California’s pleading 23 requirements.” Rutherford v. Ara Lebanese Grill, 2019 WL 1057919, at *5. “Therefore, 24 25 26 27 28 2 Under the Unruh Act, a plaintiff alleging disability discrimination must include in her complaint: (1) an explanation of the specific access barrier or barriers encountered; (2) the way in which the barrier denied the individual full and equal access, or in which it deterred the individual on each particular occasion. (3) the date/s when the claimant encountered the specific barriers. The section also contains additional requirements for high-frequency litigants. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.50. 3 21-cv-268-CAB-BLM Case 3:21-cv-00268-CAB-BLM Document 4 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.65 Page 4 of 4 1 as a matter of comity, and in deference to California’s substantial interest in discouraging 2 unverified disability discrimination claims, the Court declines supplemental jurisdiction 3 over Plaintiff’s [state law claims].” Schutza v. Cuddeback, 262 F. Supp. 3d at 1031. 4 In sum, because (1) Plaintiff’s state law claim predominates over his federal claim 5 under the ADA, and (2) the interests of comity and discouraging forum shopping constitute 6 exceptional circumstances, the Court sua sponte declines supplemental jurisdiction over 7 the second cause of action in the complaint. Plaintiff’s second claim for violation of the 8 Unruh Civil Rights Act is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling in state 9 court. 10 11 It is SO ORDERED. Dated: February 16, 2021 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 21-cv-268-CAB-BLM

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