Jurisdiction over the Subject Matter of the Action (Subject Matter Jurisdiction) – Supplemental Jurisdiction
Supplemental jurisdiction is the means through which one can bring into federal court claims over which a federal court would normally not have subject matter jurisdiction. Essentially, a claim over which the court does not have original subject matter jurisdiction is attached to a claim over which the court has original subject matter jurisdiction.
A petition or complaint brought in a lawsuit by a plaintiff or defendant against a third party who may be liable to that plaintiff or defendant.
Supplemental jurisdiction is the means through which one can bring into federal court claims over which a federal court would normally not have subject matter jurisdiction. It is a way, for example, that one can bring state claims into federal court even though there is no diversity jurisdiction. What must exist, however, as the base upon which to build supplemental jurisdiction: a valid, independent claim over which the court has federal subject matter jurisdiction. Supplemental jurisdiction is governed by , which was enacted in 1990. Because statutes usually trump earlier judicial decisions, decisions addressing supplemental jurisdiction released before 1990 should only be used cautiously, if used at all.
provides in relevant part:
“(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) or as expressly provided otherwise by Federal statute, in any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other 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. Such supplemental jurisdiction shall include claims that involve joinder or intervention of additional parties.
(b) In any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction founded solely on section 1332 of this title, the district courts shall not have supplemental jurisdiction under subsection (a) over claims by plaintiffs against persons made parties under Rule 14, 19, 20, or 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; or over claims by personal proposed to be joined as plaintiffs under Rule 19 of such rules, or seeking to intervene as plaintiffs under Rule 24 of such rules, when exercising supplemental jurisdiction over such claims would be inconsistent with the jurisdictional requirements of section 1332.
(c) The district courts may decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection (a)
Under subsection (a), the additional claims to be attached through supplemental jurisdiction must “form part of the same case or controversy” as the count which properly invokes the court’s subject matter jurisdiction. In other words, there must be some sort of relationship between the count(s) over which the court has original subject matter jurisdiction and the count(s) over which the court will need supplemental jurisdiction. For example:
Adam, a citizen of Michigan, files a complaint against Mary, a citizen of Michigan, in federal court. The complaint consists of two counts: violation of Adam's patent and negligence. Adam's patent claim involves his allegation that Mary marketed and sold a product that Adam claims he holds a patent for. This claim is based on federal law and the court will have federal question jurisdiction to entertain that claim. Adam's negligence claim involves the injuries Adam sustained when he slipped on an icy path on Mary’s property. This count is based on state law. Even though the court has subject matter jurisdiction over the patent count (in fact, the court actually has exclusive jurisdiction over that count), the court will not have supplemental jurisdiction over the negligence claim because the two claims are completely unrelated.
Supplemental jurisdiction does not only apply to claims against original parties. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), “claims that involve the joinder or intervention of additional parties” are also included.
It should be noted that courts are not settled regarding whether a plaintiff who does not have different citizenship from a defendant (i.e., they are a non-diverse plaintiff) may have his claim attached to a claim over which the federal court has jurisdiction. Some courts have, however, held that 28 U.S.C. § 1367 allows the court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over such a claim.
In actions where the claim on which supplemental jurisdiction will be based (the claim over which the federal court has independent subject matter jurisdiction) is a federal question, supplemental jurisdiction is easier to exercise. However, if the court has original jurisdiction over the original claim based on diversity jurisdiction (diversity of parties plus amount in controversy), not every other claim may qualify under supplemental jurisdiction. Where the original claim is a diversity claim, there are limitations to the ways in which supplemental jurisdiction may be exercised.
Where the original claim is based in diversity jurisdiction, supplemental jurisdiction applies only to the following claims:
1. Compulsory counterclaims
(counterclaims that must be filed in that particular action) made pursuant
to FRCP 13(a)
As provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(b), supplemental jurisdiction does not extend (where the original claim is based on diversity jurisdiction) to “claims by plaintiffs against persons made parties under Rule 14, 19, 20, or 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; or over claims by persons proposed to be joined as plaintiffs under Rule 19, or seeking to intervene as plaintiffs under Rule 24” when original diversity jurisdiction does not exist.
Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1367(c), the district court has discretion to “decline
to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection
(a) if –
It is important to note that under , if a claim
is dismissed for lack of supplemental jurisdiction, the statute of limitations
is tolled for 30 days, leaving the claimant the option to re-file in
state court. The claimant also has the option to voluntarily dismiss
other claims and re-file them in state court.