United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Brownsville Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
IGNACIO TORTEYA, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
reasons provided below, it is recommended that the Court
REMAND this civil action back to the 107th
Judicial District Court of Cameron County, Texas.
Court has federal question jurisdiction over this removed
civil action because Plaintiff Leobardo Araguz's Original
Petition asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331
(“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction
of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.”); 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a) (“[A]ny civil action brought in a State court
of which the district courts of the United States have
original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court of the United States for
the district and division embracing the place where such
action is pending.”).
Statement of the Case
Araguz initiated this action by filing suit in the 107th
Judicial District Court of Cameron County, Texas on May 24,
2018. Dkt. No. 1-1 at 1. Araguz's Original Petition named
the City of Harlingen, the City of Harlingen Police
Department, Scott Vega, and Dempsie and Victoria Clinton as
Defendants. Id. The City, the City of Harlingen
Police Department, and Scott Vega (hereinafter, the
“City Defendants”) timely removed Araguz's
action to this Court on September 18, 2018. Dkt. No. 1 at 3.
Dempsie and Victoria Clinton (hereinafter, the
“Clintons”) consented to removal. Id. at
3. Araguz's claims against the City Defendants, including
his § 1983 claims, have all been dismissed. See
Dkt. No. 20 (Report and Recommendation); Dkt. No. 27 (Order
Adopting Report and Recommendation); Dkt. No. 32 (Agreed
Order of Dismissal).
April 11, 2019, Araguz filed a “Brief to the
Court” (hereinafter, Araguz's “Brief”).
Dkt. No. 33. Araguz's Brief clarifies the claims his
Original Petition has asserted against the Clintons.
Id. at 5. In his Original Petition, by making a
general reference to all named “Defendants, ” it
appeared Araguz was attempting to assert a claim against the
Clintons for violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. No.
1-1 at 13. However, his Brief makes no mention of a §
1983 claim against the Clintons. See generally Dkt.
No. 33. Instead, he states that he has asserted the following
claims against the Clintons: libel, slander per se,
defamation per se, negligence, malicious prosecution, abuse
of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and
false imprisonment. Id. at 5.
it is unlikely that a § 1983 claim against the Clintons
would have been viable, it is now clear that Araguz is not
attempting to assert such a claim. With the dismissal of his
§ 1983 claims against the City Defendants, Araguz's
remaining causes of action are limited to his state law
claims against the Clintons. Thus, although the City
Defendants properly removed this civil action pursuant to
this Court's federal question jurisdiction,
is now appropriate for the Court to consider whether to
remand this action back to state court. See Jones v.
Roadway Express, Inc., 936 F.2d 789, 792 (5th Cir. 1991)
(“A federal district court has discretion to remand a
properly removed case to state court when all federal-law
claims have been eliminated and only pendent state-law claims
remain.”); Oliver v. Lewis, 891 F.Supp.2d 839,
843-44 (S.D. Tex. 2012) (explaining that, although
post-removal elimination of federal claims does not divest a
district court of jurisdiction, the court “must
determine whether to remand” the remaining state law
claims back to federal court); Akbar v. Nationstar Mortg.
LLC, No. CV H-13-3625, 2015 WL 12777365, at *1-2 (S.D.
Tex. Feb. 5, 2015) (sua sponte remand of state law claims was
appropriate where federal claims had been eliminated
post-removal); Tile Sol. Servs., Inc. v. Carrington
Mortg. Servs., LLC, No. CV 18-11508, 2019 WL 1469397, at
*3-4 (E.D. La. Apr. 2, 2019) (sua sponte consideration of
remand was appropriate after post-removal elimination of
April 17, 2019, the Court issued a “Notice of Intent to
Recommend Remand” (hereinafter referred to as the
Court's “Notice” or “Notice Regarding
Remand”). Dkt. No. 34. The Court's Notice informed
the parties of the undersigned's intent to recommend
remand and notified them that they could file briefs opposing
or supporting remand, provided they filed such briefs on or
before April 30, 2019. As of the May 1st filing of this
Report and Recommendation, the parties have not filed briefs,
or otherwise argued that this case should not be remanded.
not mandatory or absolute, “[t]he general rule is that
a court should decline to exercise jurisdiction over
remaining state-law claims when all federal-law claims are
eliminated before trial[.]” Brookshire Bros.
Holding v. Dayco Prod., Inc., 554 F.3d 595, 602 (5th
Cir. 2009). See also Beiser v. Weyler, 284 F.3d 665,
675 (5th Cir. 2002) (noting that, when “no other
grounds for federal jurisdiction exist, the court must
ordinarily remand the case back to state court”). As
the Supreme Court has repeatedly cautioned, federal courts
should avoid making “‘[n]eedless decisions of
state law[.]” Enochs v. Lampasas Cty., 641
F.3d 155, 161 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting Mine Workers v.
Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966)). When federal claims
have been eliminated at an early stage in the litigation, the
district court will have “a powerful reason to choose
not to continue to exercise jurisdiction.”
Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 351
(1988); Enochs v. Lampasas County, 641 F.3d 155, 161
determining whether to continue to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over a plaintiff's remaining state law
claims, courts must consider the “common law factors of
judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity[,
]” in addition to “the statutory factors”
set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). Brookshire Bros.
Holding, Inc. v. Dayco Prods., Inc., 554 F.3d 595, 602.
“The statutory factors are: (1) whether the state
claims raise novel or complex issues of state law; (2)
whether the state claims substantially predominate over the
federal claims; (3) whether the federal claims have been
dismissed; and (4) whether there are exceptional
circumstances or other compelling reasons for declining
jurisdiction.” Enochs v. Lampasas Cnty., 641
F.3d 155, 159 (5th Cir. 2011) (citing 28 U.S.C. §
Akbar v. Nationstar Mortg. LLC, No. CV H-13-3625,
2015 WL 12777365, at *1. “[N]o single factor is
dispositive[.]” Brookshire Bros. Holding, 554
F.3d 595, 602 (citing Batiste v. Island Records
Inc., 179 F.3d 217, 227 (5th Cir. 1999)). Courts should
also consider “whether the plaintiff has attempted to
manipulate the forum by eliminating all federal law claims
from the complaint and then requesting ...