United States District Court, D. Nevada
LABORERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA LOCAL 872, AFL-CIO, Plaintiff,
JOHN E. STEVENS, III, Defendant.
M. Nayarro, Chief Judge United States District Judge.
the Court is the Third Party Complaint and Counterclaim, (ECF
No. 9), filed by Counter Plaintiff John Stevens
("Stevens"). For the reasons set forth herein, the
Court hereby dismisses Stevens' Third Party Complaint and
Counterclaim without prejudice for lack of subject matter
March 20, 2015, Plaintiff Laborers' International Union
of North America Local 872, AFL-CIO ("Local 872")
filed its Complaint against Stevens, asserting claims of
breach of fiduciary duty under 29 U.S.C. § 501 and
embezzlement. (Compl. ¶¶ 7-19, ECF No. 1). Local
872 alleges the Court has federal question jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Id. ¶ 4).
April 24, 2015, Stevens filed a Third Party Complaint and
Counterclaim against Local 872 and two supervisory employees,
alleging multiple Nevada state law tort claims against the
parties. (Counter Compl., ECF No. 9). These claims include:
(1) Assault; (2) Battery; (3) False Imprisonment; and (4)
Negligence. (Id.). Stevens alleges the Court has
supplemental jurisdiction over these claims pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1367. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 71).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute."
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am. , 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). Therefore, before a federal court may
consider the merits of a case, it must first determine
whether it has proper subject matter jurisdiction. Scott
v. Pasadena Unified Sch. Dist., 306 F.3d 646, 653-54
(9th Cir. 2002). As a general rule, "[t]he defense of
lack of subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived, and the
court is under a continuing duty to dismiss an action
whenever it appears that the court lacks jurisdiction."
Augustine v. United States, 704 F.2d 1074, 1077 (9th
Cir. 1983); see also Moore v. Maricopa Cnty. Sheriffs
Office, 657 F.3d 890, 894 (9th Cir. 2011) (noting the
court's obligation to determine sua sponte whether it has
subject matter jurisdiction).
issue here is whether the Court has supplemental jurisdiction
over Stevens' state law tort claims based on Local
872's federal breach of fiduciary duty claim. A district
court has jurisdiction to adjudicate a pendent state law
claim if there is a federal claim so related to it that they
form part of the same case or controversy. See 28
U.S.C. § 1367(a). A state law claim is part of the same
case or controversy when it shares a "common nucleus of
operative fact" with the federal claims. Bahrampour
v. Lampert, 356 F.3d 969, 978 (9th Cir. 2004). "[A]
plaintiffs claims [must also be] such that he would
ordinarily be expected to try them all in one judicial
proceeding." UnitedMine Workers of Am. V.
Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966).
Stevens' state law tort claims do not arise out of a
common nucleus of operative facts with Local 872's breach
of fiduciary duty claim. Local 872's breach of fiduciary
duty claim concerns a number of alleged wrongful acts that
occurred throughout the course of Stevens' employment at
Local 872. (See Compl. ¶ 11) ("Stevens
breached [his duties] by using property and funds of Local
872 for his own purposes, i.e., to drive out of State to
purchase lottery tickets during work hours, and by failing to
perform the duties of a field agent and protect the interests
of the Union and its members."). In contrast,
Stevens' state law tort claims arise out of an isolated
confrontation between Stevens and two supervisors.
(See Counter Compl. ¶ 15). This confrontation
occurred shortly after Stevens' employment had
terminated. (See Stevens Dep. 130:9-18, Ex. 1 to
Hillman Decl., ECF No. 48).
state and federal causes of action are therefore based upon
completely different sets of facts. While Stevens' state
claims focus on an isolated post-termination confrontation
between him and two other employees, the federal claim
focuses on a series of unrelated actions by Stevens that
occurred throughout the course of his employment. There
exists no evidentiary overlap whatsoever between these
claims. As these claims do not arise from the same case or
controversy, the Court lacks supplemental jurisdiction to
hear Stevens' state law tort claims.
HEREBY ORDERED that Stevens' Third Party Complaint and
Counterclaim is DISMISSED without prejudice for lack of
federal subject matter jurisdiction.
FURTHER ORDERED that the Motions for Summary Judgment, (ECF