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Ye v. Holder

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


November 4, 2009

NING YE, PETITIONER,
v.
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellen Segal Huvelle United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is here again on defendant Maria Amato's motion for dismissal. Plaintiff Ning Ye, an attorney proceeding pro se, has sued defendant, who is the general counsel for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("DOC"), as well as various federal officials for various torts and civil rights violations. The Court's prior Order dismissed all claims against Amato except for one defamation claim based upon an email, written in response to an inquiry by plaintiff's colleague David Zapp, in which defendant stated that plaintiff "lied" about giving his client some candy when visiting him at the D.C. Jail. See Ning Ye v. Holder, No. 09-CV-103, 2009 WL 2475169, at *3-*6, *8 (D.D.C. Aug. 13, 2009). Amato now moves for summary judgment on that remaining defamation claim or, in the alternative, to dismiss that claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (See Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Def. Amato's Mot. for Summ. J. ("Mem.") at 7.) The Court will grant the motion and dismiss the remaining claim against her for lack of jurisdiction.*fn1

A court with original federal jurisdiction over certain claims has supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims "that are so related . . . that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution." 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). "In order for a federal claim and a state-law claim to form part of the 'same case or controversy,' the claims must derive from a 'common nucleus of operative fact.'" Taylor v. District of Columbia, 626 F. Supp. 2d 25, 28 (D.D.C. 2009) (quoting United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966)). "If there is almost no factual or legal overlap between the state and federal claims, a common nucleus of operative fact does not exist." Id. Where the federal law claims that provide the Court with original jurisdiction over the action have been dismissed, the Court "may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction" over the remaining state law claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).

Here, the only remaining federal claims are those against the federal defendants in Counts II, III, IV, and VIII. See Ning Ye, 2009 WL 2475169, at *8. These counts allege discrimination on the basis of race or national origin, false arrest and false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and civil fraud, and they arise from plaintiff's March 18, 2008 altercation with U.S. Marshals following a hearing in this courthouse and his subsequent indictment on October 23, 2008 for assaulting two Marshals. (See Compl. at 13-16, 18.) By contrast, the sole remaining claim against Amato, for common law defamation, arises from two entirely separate events: one incident at the D.C. Jail on February 23, 2008, and an October 3, 2008 email to Zapp, who had written to Amato on plaintiff's behalf. See Ning Ye, 2009 WL 2475169, at *5, *8. "The events that trigger liability for [Amato] and for the [federal defendants] are completely separate . . . ." Taylor, 626 F. Supp. 2d at 29 (dismissing common law tort claims against one defendant for lack of jurisdiction where remaining federal claims only alleged constitutional violations by other defendants); cf. Singh v. George Washington Univ., 368 F. Supp. 2d 58, 72 (D.D.C. 2005) (finding no supplemental jurisdiction over state law defamation claim because facts needed to prove defamation claim "would offer no insight" into facts needed to prove federal discrimination claim), vac'd on other grounds, 508 F.3d 1097 (D.C. Cir. 2007). "Accordingly, the state and federal claims here do not derive from a common nucleus of operative fact and the [C]court concludes that it should not exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims alleged against [Amato]." Taylor, 626 F. Supp. 2d at 29.*fn2

For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that defendant Amato's motion is GRANTED and the remaining claim under Count VII is DISMISSED for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

SO ORDERED.


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