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Horton v. City of Detroit

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 2, 2020

ANGELA HORTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF DETROIT and CLAUDINE PARKER-SMITH, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S ASSAULT AND BATTERY CLAIM

          ROBERT H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Angela Horton filed a complaint alleging the following counts against Defendants City of Detroit and Detroit police officer Claudine Parker-Smith:

(1) Count I: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against Defendant Parker-Smith for excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
(2) Count II: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 municipal liability claim against Defendant City of Detroit;
(3) Count III: state law claim for assault and battery.[1]

         Counts I and II allege federal claims over which the court has original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Count III is a state law claim. Since Plaintiff's federal and state law claims arise out of the same incident and share common operative facts, the court is permitted to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367. However, for the reasons explained below, exercising supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claim would not promote judicial economy, the convenience of the parties, fairness, or comity. Therefore, the court will dismiss the state law claim without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that May 3, 2018, while walking home, she stopped to rest on the porch of an abandoned house near Palmer Street in Detroit, Michigan. (ECF No. 1, PageID.7.) While she was resting, she claims that Defendant Parker-Smith exited a nearby house, identified herself as a police officer, and told Plaintiff to leave the property. (Id. at PageID.8.) Plaintiff asserts that when she began to leave the property, Defendant Parker-Smith attempted to run her over with her vehicle multiple times and fired a gunshot in her direction in attempts to frighten Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff attempted to flee but alleges that Defendant Parker-Smith followed her and ultimately shot her in the left leg, resulting in a fracture to Plaintiff's tibia and fibula. (Id. at PageID.9.)

         Plaintiff brings this action against Defendant Parker-Smith in her individual and official capacity. Defendant City of Detroit removed this action from state court and indicates in its answer its intent to raise, among other defenses, the doctrines of absolute, qualified, and governmental immunity. (ECF No. 2, PageID.25-26.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A federal court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over each claim in an action that shares a common nucleus of operative facts with a claim that invokes the court's original jurisdiction. See United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715 (1966). However, the federal court need not exercise its authority to invoke supplemental jurisdiction in every case in which it is possible to do so. Id. at 726. Supplemental jurisdiction “is a doctrine of discretion, not of plaintiff's right.” Id. Justification for this doctrine “lies in considerations of judicial economy, convenience, and fairness to litigants.” Id. Therefore, “[i]n deciding whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction . . . a judge must take into account concerns of comity, judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and the like.” Senra v. Smithfield, 715 F.3d 34, 41 (1st Cir. 2013). If these considerations are not present, “a federal court should hesitate to exercise jurisdiction over state claims.” Gibbs, 383 U.S. at 726. Additionally, supplemental jurisdiction may be denied “if the federal claims are dismissed before trial, ” if “it appears that the state issues subsequently predominate, ” or “if the likelihood of jury confusion” would be strong without separation of the claims. Id. at 726-27.

         28 U.S.C. § 1367 authorizes the federal court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. A court has the discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) if:

(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 ...

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