Those arguments considerably overstate reality. Yes, these cases have been pending for an alarmingly long time. But they were transferred to my docket only in 1994. The judicial investment in them before 1994 is irretrievably lost. There have not been numerous conferences and hearings in this case since 1994. Whatever familiarity I have with the legal and factual issues is derived from papers and is revealed in the opinions filed since 1994, which are available to be read by any judicial officer. The voluminous discovery taken in these cases would not be wasted if the cases were refiled in state court; it would be available for use there.
A survey of the cases in which courts have retained jurisdiction over pendent state-law claims after the dismissal of federal claims, and on which plaintiffs rely to support their request that the court retain jurisdiction here, discloses telling distinctions between those cases and these. Thus, taking plaintiffs' strongest case first, in Newport Ltd. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 941 F.2d 302 (5th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1096, 117 L. Ed. 2d 420, 112 S. Ct. 1175 (1992), a district court had dismissed federal claims on the eve of trial, after submission of a pretrial order, and then simply dismissed the state-law claims based on the following one-sentence analysis: "Where federal claims are dismissed before trial, pendent state claims should be dismissed as well." Newport Ltd. v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 739 F. Supp. 1078, 1083, 1084 (E.D. La. 1990). The Fifth Circuit reversed, noting particularly that the refusal "to hear this case on the eve of trial constituted an abuse of the trial court's discretion." 941 F.2d at 307-08. In Raucci v. Town of Rotterdam, 902 F.2d 1050 (2d Cir. 1990), and Enercomp, Inc. v. McCorhill Publ'g, Inc., 873 F.2d 536 (2d Cir. 1989), the Court of Appeals for this Circuit upheld as reasonable the decisions of two trial courts to retain jurisdiction of state-law claims after federal claims were dismissed. In Raucci, the Court cited the "readiness of the case for trial," 902 F.2d at 1055; in Enercomp, the Court stressed that dispositive motions "were not filed until the very eve of trial" and that the case had been "scheduled for trial within days." 873 F.2d at 546.
District court cases in which jurisdiction over state-law claims was retained after dismissal of federal claims show principally the same pattern. In Ryan v. New York State Thruway Auth., 889 F. Supp. 70 (N.D.N.Y. 1995), the case was "trial ready." Id. at 80. The decision in Philan Ins. Ltd. v. Frank B. Hall & Co., Inc., 786 F. Supp. 345 (S.D.N.Y. 1992), was rendered on February 28, 1992; the case was scheduled for trial on March 23, 1992. Id. at 345, 349. In Estate of Detwiler v. Offenbecher, 728 F. Supp. 103, 147 (S.D.N.Y. 1989), it is not clear how close to trial the case stood at the time of decision, but neither is it relevant; the court retained jurisdiction over the state-law claims that overlapped federal claims in that case, 728 F. Supp. at 147, and then granted summary judgment dismissing the state-law claims as well. Id. at 156. In Philatelic Found. v. Kaplan, 647 F. Supp. 1344 (S.D.N.Y. 1986), the court appeared to believe that "particular circumstances" including "anticipated completion of discovery in the near future, the familiarity of the court with the issues and all the proceedings heretofore had," which proceedings were not specified, warranted retention of jurisdiction. Id. at 1348.
The cases at bar are not on the eve of trial. They are not on the eve of the eve of trial. It is uncertain what discovery, if any, remains, but even if, as seems likely, there is no further discovery to be taken, it is not discovery that is likely to consume the greatest judicial time and effort. At a minimum, what lies ahead is the winnowing of plaintiffs' factual allegations to what is essential, and the crafting of a pretrial order that will limit and concentrate the proof, both documentary and testimonial. Which is to say, what lies ahead is the arduous task of reducing this case from a miasma of frequently rhetorical and conclusory allegations, see, e.g., Department of Econ. Dev., 924 F. Supp. at 469-70 (table reflecting 15 different permutations of DED's now-dismissed RICO claim), 474-75 (describing DED's reliance on vehemence in place of clarity), and a Niagara of paper, to a manageable and focused dispute. That will be at best a time-consuming process, and one in which DED in particular already has shown itself to be a singularly intractable participant. Id. at 458 (describing DED's 225-page Second Amended Complaint with narrowed line spacing and margins, in simultaneous defiance of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)
and the court's admonition to pare down allegations).
In sum, there is little judicial economy to be achieved by retaining these cases in this court, and little unfairness in compelling plaintiffs to refile in state court and, if appropriate, to file a note of issue within 40 days so that these cases can be promptly scheduled for trial. N.Y. C.P.L.R. 3402 (McKinney 1992).
For the above reasons, defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the remaining federal claim is granted, and the remaining state-law claims are dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, without prejudice to refiling in another forum.
Dated: New York, New York
February 11, 1997
Michael B. Mukasey
U.S. District Judge