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Patterson v. Maricopa County

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 23, 2013

Maurice Patterson, Plaintiff,
v.
Maricopa County, Defendant.

ORDER

G. MURRAY SNOW, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Maurice Patterson's Motion to Amend the Pleading, (Doc. 14). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the Motion.

Patterson filed an action against Defendant Maricopa County (the "County") in the Maricopa County Superior Court on July 1, 2013, alleging a state law negligence claim and violations of his federal constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1-1 (State Court Complaint) at 17.) On July 12, the County removed the action to this Court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441(a) and 1446(b) based on federal question jurisdiction. (Doc. 1 at 2.)

After removing the case to this Court, the County moved to dismiss the Complaint with prejudice and without leave to amend. (Doc. 11.) In response, Patterson first moved to amend his Complaint to remove the federal claims on July 29. (Doc. 9.) But the Court denied Patterson's Motion for failure to comply with Local Rule 15.1 which required him to include a redlined version of the amended pleading with the Motion. (Doc. 12.)

Patterson again moves to amend the Complaint. (Doc. 14). The proposed amendments delete the federal law claims and allege additional state law claims arising under the Arizona Constitution. ( See Doc. 14 at 3-4.) Along with his Motion to Amend, Patterson requests the Court to remand the action back to state court or, in the alternative, allow him to voluntarily dismiss it without prejudice so that he may refile the action in state court. ( Id. at 1.)

A plaintiff may amend a complaint once as a matter of course within 21 days of serving it. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(A). After 21 days, a plaintiff may only amend a complaint with the court's permission. The court "should freely give leave when justice so requires." Id. 15(a)(2). Patterson first moved to amend within 21 days of the action's removal to this Court but did not provide a redlined version of the Complaint. Because Patterson has not yet amended his Complaint and provides his proposed amendments with the current Motion, the Court will grant leave to amend.

The County contends that the Court had federal question jurisdiction over the action at the time of removal; therefore, it requests the Court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims and consider their merits even if the federal law claims are now discarded. "In determining the existence of removal jurisdiction, based upon a federal question, the court must look to the complaint as of the time the removal petition was filed. Jurisdiction is based on the complaint as originally filed and not as amended." Abada v. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., 300 F.3d 1112, 1117 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting O'Halloran v. Univ. of Wash., 856 F.2d 1375, 1379 (9th Cir. 1988)) (emphasis in original).

Because Patterson alleged violations of his federal constitutional rights in his original Complaint, the Court had jurisdiction at the time of removal. The Complaint as amended, however, does not state such claims. A district court may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim if it has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). It is also in the interest of "economy, convenience, fairness, and comity, " Brady v. Brown, 51 F.3d 810, 816 (9th Cir. 1995), that Patterson's state law claims arising under the Arizona Constitution be adjudicated in state court.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff Maurice Patterson's Motion to Amend the Pleading, (Doc. 14), is granted.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is remanded to state court. The Clerk of Court is directed to remand this action back to the Maricopa County Superior Court.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Maricopa County's Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. 11), is denied as moot.


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