Bultena v. Washington State Department of Agriculture

Filing 133

ORDER DISMISSING STATE LAW CLAIMS. Plaintiff's state law claims brought under the WLAD and WFLA are DISMISSED without prejudice. GRANTING 130 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's State Law Claims; and granting 131 Motion to Expedite. File CLOSED. Signed by Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. (SK, Case Administrator)

Download PDF
FILED IN THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON 1 Apr 09, 2018 2 SEAN F. MCAVOY, CLERK UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON 3 4 TRENA BULTENA, No. 1:15-CV-03076-SMJ 5 Plaintiff, ORDER DISMISSING STATE LAW CLAIMS 6 v. 7 8 WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Defendant. 9 10 Before the Court, without oral argument, is Defendant Washington State 11 Department of Agriculture (the Department)’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s State 12 Law Claims, ECF No. 130. Defendant moves to dismiss the claims on the grounds 13 that the Court has dismissed or granted summary judgment on all claims over which 14 it had original jurisdiction. Because all federal-law claims have been eliminated, the 15 balance of factors weighs against this Court’s continued exercise of jurisdiction 16 over the remaining state-law claims. Accordingly, the Court grants the motion and 17 dismisses the remaining state law claims. 18 A federal court has supplemental jurisdiction over pendent state law claims 19 to the extent they are “so related to claims in the action within [the court’s] original 20 jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy . . . .” 28 U.S.C. ORDER - 1 1 § 1376. “A state law claim is part of the same case or controversy when it shares a 2 ‘common nucleus of operative fact’ with the federal claims and the state and federal 3 claims would normally be tried together.” See Bahrampour v. Lampert, 356 F.3d 4 969, 978 (9th Cir. 2004). However, after acquiring supplemental jurisdiction of a 5 state law claim, a court may decline to exercise jurisdiction if 6 7 8 (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. 9 28 U.S.C. § 1376(c). Indeed, “[i[n the usual case in which all federal-law claims are 10 eliminated before trial, the balance of the factors . . . will point toward declining to 11 exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims.” Carnegie-Mellon Univ. 12 v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 n.7 (1988), superseded by statute on other grounds as 13 stated in Stanford v. MemberWorks, Inc., 625 F.3d 550, 561 (9th Cir. 2010). 14 Here, Bultena originally brought eleven claims. The Court exercised 15 supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims because they arose from a 16 common nucleus of operative facts. In response to Defendant’s motion for summary 17 judgment, Bultena abandoned six claims, including all of her federal claims. In an 18 order ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment, the Court granted summary 19 judgment on all but two claims: a claim for disability discrimination under the 20 Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), and a claim for interference ORDER - 2 1 with the Washington Family Leave Act (WFLA). Accordingly, no federal claims 2 remain. 3 The values of judicial economy, convenience to the parties, fairness and 4 comity are best advanced by dismissing the remaining state law claims for 5 resolution in the Washington State courts. First, state court is the most appropriate 6 forum to address Bultena’s remaining state law claims under the WLAD and the 7 WFLA. Moreover, the parties will not be greatly inconvenienced by the Court’s 8 decision to decline jurisdiction. This case is still in the summary judgment stage, 9 and the Court has not yet held a pretrial conference or ruled on any pretrial motions. 10 If Bultena chooses to refile in state court, the parties’ discovery, briefing, and 11 pretrial motions can be easily transferred and utilized in that forum. Additionally, 12 the period of limitation for Bultena’s state law claims is tolled for thirty days after 13 the claims are dismissed unless Washington law provides for a longer tolling period. 14 See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(d); Artis v. Dist. of Columbia, 138 S. Ct. 594, 603 (2018) 15 (holding that the period of limitations for refiling in state court a state claim 16 dismissed along with related federal claims by a federal district court exercising 17 supplemental jurisdiction, “shall be tolled while the claim is pending [in federal 18 court] and for a period of 30 days after it is dismissed unless state law provides for 19 a longer tolling period). Finally, there is no independent basis to retain jurisdiction 20 ORDER - 3 1 over the claims. Plaintiff and defendant are both citizens of Washington, making 2 the Washington state courts a suitable venue for resolution of the remaining claims. 3 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 4 1. 130, and related motion to expedite, ECF No. 131, are GRANTED. 5 6 Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's State Law Claims, ECF No. 2. Plaintiff’s state law claims brought under the WLAD and WFLA are DISMISSED without prejudice. 7 8 3. All pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT. 9 4. All hearings and other deadlines are STRICKEN. 10 5. The Clerk’s Office is directed to CLOSE this file. 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. The Clerk’s Office is directed to enter this Order and 12 13 provide copies to all counsel. DATED this 9th day of April 2018. 14 __________________________ SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. United States District Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 ORDER - 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?