sense," as Plaintiffs, after receiving their injunctive relief
in state court and returning back to this Court, could not
receive further injunctive relief here. See id. Accordingly,
it is dismissed.
2. Burford Abstention
The Burford doctrine allows federal courts to abstain from
deciding issues raised when the issue "so clearly involves basic
principles of [state] policy that equitable discretion should be
exercised to give the [state] courts the first opportunity to
consider them." Burford v. Sun Oil Co., 319 U.S. 315, 332, 63
S.Ct. 1098, 87 L.Ed. 1424 (1943). Although it is not entirely
clear whether dismissal is "mandated" when a Court invokes the
Burford abstention doctrine, it is clear that if no claims for
money damages remain dismissal is warranted. Compare Berman
Enters., 793 F. Supp. at 413 (holding that dismissal is
mandatory when Burford is invoked), with 767 Third Ave.
Assocs. v. Consulate Gen. of Socialist Fed. Republic of
Yugoslavia, 218 F.3d 152, 163 (2d Cir. 2000) (noting that when
federal courts apply abstention principles "they may enter a
stay, but are usually not permitted to dismiss the action
altogether if the action is for money damages.") In this case,
Plaintiffs' due process claim against defendants Sovas and Field
turns on the scope and reach of their power. This power is
regulated through a combination of complicated statutes and
regulations including, in part, the Environmental Conservation
Law and the NYSAPA. See Berman Enters., 3 F.3d at 608.
Given this fact, it is quite possible that the issuance of an
injunction against defendants Sovas and Field might disrupt New
York's administrative schemes allocating power between agency
officials and regulating storage of petroleum and oil products
within its borders. This is particularly true in a situation
when, as here, New York's courts have not adjudicated the scope
of the administrative laws establishing this system. As a
result, the Court concludes that, even if dismissal of
Plaintiffs' third cause of action is not warranted under the
Pullman doctrine, because no damages claims remain, it is
warranted under Burford.
G. Plaintiffs' Pendent State Law Claims Against
Plaintiffs' first pendent state law claim seeks a declaratory
judgment that defendants Sovas, Field, and Cahill violated the
NYSAPA by, in part, unlawfully requiring Plaintiff to conduct
sonar testing before issuing them their permit. Plaintiffs'
second state law claim seeks a declaration from this Court that
these defendants also violated the rights secured to them under
the Due Process Clause of New York State's Constitution.
Defendants argue, and this Court agrees, that because these
claims raise novel or complex issues of state law, dismissal is
warranted under 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, a Court may decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over a supplemental claim if "the
claim raises a novel or complex issue of State law."
28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(1). Although, the Court recognizes that, like the
relevant abstention doctrines already discussed,
28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(1) should not be lightly used to dismiss otherwise valid
state law claims, when, as here, those state law claims form the
foundation of the federal law claims which the Court has already
abstained from deciding, not utilizing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(1)
would defeat the very purpose of abstention. In the interests of
comity and federalism, the Court therefore declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' two pendent state law
claims and leaves the task of
adjudicating these unanswered state law questions regarding the
scope of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation's
power where it properly belongs, in New York State court.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration is
GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED that Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED in part
and DENIED in part; and it is further
ORDERED that all claims against defendants State of New York
and the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation
are DISMISSED in their entirety with prejudice; and it is
ORDERED that count 3 is DISMISSED without prejudice to refile;
and it is further
ORDERED that counts 4 and 5 are DISMISSED with prejudice; and
it is further
ORDERED that pendent state law claims 1 and 2 are DISMISSED
without prejudice to refile in state court; and it is further
ORDERED that federal counts 1 and 2 are REINSTATED and the
case is reopened as to these two counts; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court serve a copy of this order
on all parties by regular mail.
IT IS SO ORDERED.