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Clemens v. Moody's Analytics, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 3, 2020

GREGORY CLEMENS, Plaintiff,
v.
MOODY'S ANALYTICS, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          HONORABLE PAUL A. CROTTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is on remand from the Second Circuit to determine whether the District Court properly exercised supplemental jurisdiction to dismiss the state law claims, or whether the District Court should have declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, and should now dismiss the state law claims without prejudice to be adjudicated in the state courts. The Court finds that it properly exercised supplemental jurisdiction in the first instance when it granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant Moody's Analytics, Inc. ("Defendant," "Moody's") on the state law claims.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Gregory Clemens ("Plaintiff," "Clemens") sued the Defendant, his former employer, for alleged violations of: (1) the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. ("FMLA"); (2) the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 etseq. ("NYCHRL"); (3) breach of contract; and (4) the New York Labor Law § 191 et seq. ("NYLL"). Clemens v. Moody's Analytics, 17-cv-410 (PAC), 2018 WL 1750586 (S.D.N.Y.Apr. 9, 2018), off din part, vacated in part, and remanded 770 Fed.Appx. 10 (2d Cir. 2019) (summary order), The Complaint in this case was filed nearly three years ago on January 19, 2017, and the Answer filed a little less than two months later. Dkts. 1, 9. The Parties agreed in their Civil Case Management Plan that all initial requests for document production and service of interrogatories would be completed by May 25, 2017, all depositions would be taken by September 13, 2017, and fact discovery would be completed no later than September 15, 2017. Dkt. 14, at 3. An Initial Pre-Trial Conference was held before this Court on May 18, 2017. Minute Entry dated May 18, 2017.

         The Plaintiff, writing on behalf of both Parties, filed a letter motion on September 13, 2017 seeking a one-month extension of discovery. Dkt. 15, at 1. As of that time, the Parties had exchanged approximately 5, 000 pages of documents and electronically stored information, and taken the Plaintiffs deposition. Id. The Court granted the request, extending the discovery deadline to October 17, 2017. Dkt, 16. In a letter dated November 14, 2017, the Plaintiff, consistent with this Court's Individual Practices, wrote that he might move to compel the Defendant to produce certain documents. Dkt. 19, at 1. The Plaintiff contended that these documents, divided into three categories, might substantiate the Plaintiffs allegations that his former manager, as a cover-up for the alleged FMLA violations, had devised the compliance investigation that led to the Plaintiffs termination. Id. As of that time, the Defendant had already produced 4, 000 pages of documents, and six current and former Moody's employees had been deposed. Dkt. 20, at 2. At a Pre-Motion Conference held on November 20, 2017, the Court denied the Plaintiffs motion to compel as to contribution unit reports for three other members of the Plaintiffs team, granted it as to emails between the Plaintiff and a former co-worker with whom he claimed to have done work relevant to claimed contribution units, and held that the request as to handwritten notes Clemens had left on his desk before being terminated was moot. Minute Entry dated Nov. 20, 2017.

         The Defendant moved for summary judgment on December 21, 2017. Dkt. 22. This Court granted summary judgment for the Defendant on the FMLA claims, and the state law claims as well. Id. at *9.

         The Second Circuit affirmed this Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Defendant on the FMLA claims, and vacated and remanded as to this Court's exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Clemens, 11$ Fed. App'x at 12. The Court held that it was "not able on review to determine [the District Court's] reasons" for exercising supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard

         28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) grants federal courts "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 Constitution. 28 U.S.C, § 1367(a). "The state and federal claims must derive from a common nucleus of operative fact." United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966). "[O]nce it is determined that a supplemental claim is related to the claim within the court's original jurisdiction such that they form the same case or controversy, supplemental jurisdiction over the related claim is mandatory." Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc., 140 F.3d 442, 447 (2d Cir. 1998); Catzin v, Thank You & Good Luck Corp., 899 F.3d 77, 85 (2d Cir. 2018).

         A court may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction where "(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 original jurisdiction, (3) the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction, or (4) in exceptional circumstances, there are other compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c); Shahriar v. Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Grp., 659 F.3d 234, 245 (2d Cir. 2011).

         A federal court's exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims has its "justification ... in considerations of judicial economy, convenience and fairness to litigants; if these are not present a federal court should hesitate to exercise jurisdiction over state claims, even though bound to apply state law to them." Gibbs, 383 U.S. at 726. "Gibbs emphasized that 'pendent jurisdiction is a doctrine of discretion, not of plaintiff s right, '" and "articulated ... a doctrine of flexibility, designed to allow courts to deal with cases involving pendent claims in the manner that most sensibly accommodates a range of concerns and values." Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 (1988) (quoting Gibbs, 383 U.S. at 726).

         Where a statutory basis for declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction may be found among 28 U.S.C. § l367(c)'s four factors, a district court may still exercise supplemental jurisdiction after "balancing] the supplemental jurisdiction factors." Catzin, 899 F.3d at 86. "[T]he discretion to decline supplemental jurisdiction is available only if founded upon an enumerated category of subsection 1367(c)." Itar-Tass, 140 F.3d at 448. Where one of the categories in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) applies, a court has discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction '"unless it also determines that doing so would not promote the values articulated in Gibbs: economy, convenience, fairness, and comity.'" Catzin ...


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