Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MAZYCK v. LONG ISLAND R.R. CO.

May 24, 1996

MARSHALL MAZYCK, Plaintiff, against LONG ISLAND RAILROAD COMPANY (LIRR), GREGORY STAFF, RICHARD STAFF and ALAN SCOTT, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SEYBERT

 SEYBERT, District Judge:

 In the instant action brought by plaintiff Marshall Mazyck under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. §§ 51-60, two post-verdict motions are pending before the Court. First, defendant Long Island Railroad Company (LIRR) moves for reargument of the Court's Memorandum and Order dated August 21, 1995 insofar as it seeks to discount to present value the jury's award for future pain and suffering, as modified by this Court upon remittitur. Second, the Court having raised this issue sua sponte, individual defendants Richard Staff and Alan Scott move pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint against them for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

 The reader is referred to the Court's prior written decisions in this action dated April 28, 1995 and August 21, 1995 respectively, familiarity with which is assumed. *fn1"

 DISCUSSION

 I. Defendant LIRR's Motion for Reargument

 In its Memorandum and Order dated August 21, 1995, this Court held that the maximum sustainable award for future pain and suffering is $ 130,500.00, and ordered the plaintiff to remit $ 306,432.80 or face a new trial on the issue of his future pain and suffering. *fn2" See Mem. and Order dated Aug. 21, 1995, slip. op. at 22. The amount of the remittitur represents the difference between the discounted present value of the jury's award for future pain and suffering, as per a stipulation entered into by counsel ($ 436,932.80), see id. at 2-3, and the maximum sustainable award for future pain and suffering as determined by the Court ($ 436,932.80 - $ 130,500.00 = $ 306,432.80). See id. at 22. The Court arrived at the $ 130,500.00 figure for future pain and suffering upon concluding that the evidence presented at trial was unable to sustain an award for future pain and suffering in excess of 60% of the amount awarded by the jury for plaintiff's pain and suffering through the date of the verdict ($ 217,500.00). See id. ($ 217,500.00 * 60% = $ 130,500.00). The $ 217,500.00 figure constitutes a present value amount.

 Defendant LIRR argues that the award of $ 130,500.00 for future pain and suffering is undiscounted for present value, and that this amount now must be discounted at a rate of 2% over the next 36 years. The defendant's argument is without merit, because, as demonstrated above, this award was computed by the Court solely on the basis of present value amounts. To the extent that the Court's language and expression as set forth in its Memorandum and Order may be construed to be ambiguous, the Court hereby states for the record that the maximum sustainable award of $ 130,500.00 for future pain and suffering, as set forth in its Memorandum and Order dated August 21, 1995, is a present value sum employing a 2% discount rate and a term of 36 years (the number of years determined by the jury). Accordingly, defendant LIRR's motion for reargument is denied. *fn3"

 II. Pendent-Party Jurisdiction under the FELA

 In its Memorandum and Order dated August 21, 1995, the Court raised sua sponte the issue of whether it possesses subject matter jurisdiction in this FELA action over the plaintiff's state-law claims against individual defendants Gregory Staff, Richard Staff and Alan Scott, and instructed the parties to brief this issue. In accordance with the Court's instructions, individual defendants Richard Staff and Alan Scott have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, to which responses have been submitted by plaintiff Marshall Mazyck and defendant LIRR. *fn4"

 Upon consideration of the parties' briefs and the applicable law, the Court concludes that the assertion of pendent-party jurisdiction over plaintiff's claims against the individual defendants is precluded by the Supreme Court's decision in Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545, 109 S. Ct. 2003, 104 L. Ed. 2d 593 (1989). In Finley, the Supreme Court held that in order for subject matter jurisdiction to obtain over defendants with respect to which there is no independent basis for federal jurisdiction (i.e., pendent-party defendants), such jurisdiction must "be explicitly conferred" by the federal jurisdictional statute at issue. Finley, 490 U.S. at 556, 109 S. Ct. at 2010. The fact that a cause of action against a non-federal defendant arises from a nucleus of operative fact common to the plaintiff's claims against a federal defendant is insufficient of itself to confer pendent-party jurisdiction. This result obtains because, although such circumstances satisfy the constitutional requirements of Article III, see U.S. Const. art. III, for determining when a non-federal claim may be heard by a federal court as part of the same case in controversy, Finley holds that absent an explicit jurisdictional authorization by Congress, Article III's empowerment of pendent-party jurisdiction remains dormant, and therefore may not be exercised. See Finley, 490 U.S. at 549, 109 S. Ct. at 2006-07 (distinguishing United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 86 S. Ct. 1130, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218 (1966), which did not involve the assertion of jurisdiction over pendent parties) Because the language of the Federal Tort Claims Act does not contain an affirmative jurisdictional grant in respect of claims asserted by a plaintiff against a defendant other than the United States, the Finley Court concluded that Congress never authorized the assertion of pendent-party jurisdiction. See Finley, 490 U.S. at 547, 109 S. Ct. at 2005; id. at 556, 109 S. Ct. at 2010-11. The Supreme Court further held that pendent-party jurisdiction is an inflexible doctrine that may not be varied out of convenience to the parties, or for purposes of achieving judicial efficiency. See id. at 555-56, 109 S. Ct. at 2010.

 The FELA likewise fails to set forth an affirmative jurisdictional grant authorizing a federal court to exercise pendent-party jurisdiction over a non-federal defendant. Specifically, the FELA's jurisdictional statute, 45 U.S.C. § 56, provides in pertinent part:

 
Under this chapter an action may be brought in a district court of the United States, in the district of the residence of the defendant, or in which the cause of action arose, or in which the defendant shall be doing business at the time of commencing such action. The jurisdiction of the courts of the United States under ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.