United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
TIFFANY E. THORNTON Plaintiff,
SOUTHERN MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
C. BURKE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
August 9, 2019, the Plaintiff and her husband, Shane
Thornton, filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Limestone
County, Alabama, jointly alleging invasion of privacy,
intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass.
Additionally, Shane Thornton alleged a violation of the Truth
in Lending Act (“TILA”), 15 U.S.C. §§
1601, et seq. On September 13, 2019, the Defendants, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, removed the case to federal court
based on their assertion that this Court had original
jurisdiction of the TILA claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
The Defendants also asserted that this Court had supplemental
jurisdiction over the state-law claims. See 28
U.S.C. § 1337.
Plaintiffs did not file a motion to remand. Rather, on
September 24, 2019, Shane Thornton voluntarily dismissed all
of his claims, and Tiffany Thornton filed an amended
complaint asserting only state-law causes of
action. (Doc. 22). Because this Court does not
have original jurisdiction over the Plaintiff's state-law
claims, the Court entered an order sua sponte for
the Defendants to show cause as to why this case should not
be remanded to the Limestone County Circuit Court.
their response, the Defendants correctly pointed out that
this Court could retain jurisdiction over the case because a
district court determines whether it has subject-matter
jurisdiction at the time of removal, and later changes to the
pleadings do not affect the court's exercise of that
jurisdiction. See Pintando v. Miami-Dade Hous.
Agency, 501 F.3d 1241, 1244 n. 2 (11th Cir.
2007)(“the district court must look at the case at the
time of removal to determine whether it has subject-matter
jurisdiction. Later changes to the pleadings do not impact
the court's exercise of supplemental
jurisdiction.”). However, the Defendants also noted
that whether to retain supplemental jurisdiction after
dismissing the claim giving rise to federal jurisdiction is a
discretionary call. See Carlsbad Tech., Inc. v. HIF Bio,
Inc., 556 U.S. 635, 639, 129 S.Ct. 1862, 1866, 173
L.Ed.2d 843 (2009)(“With respect to supplemental
jurisdiction in particular, a federal court has
subject-matter jurisdiction over specified state-law claims,
which it may (or may not) choose to exercise. See
§§ 1367(a), (c). A district court's decision
whether to exercise that jurisdiction after dismissing every
claim over which it had original jurisdiction is purely
Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, the Supreme Court
[A] federal court should consider and weigh in each case, and
at every stage of the litigation, the values of judicial
economy, convenience, fairness, and comity in order to decide
whether to exercise jurisdiction over a case brought in that
court involving pendent state-law claims. When the balance of
these factors indicates that a case properly belongs in state
court, as when the federal-law claims have dropped out of the
lawsuit in its early stages and only state-law claims remain,
the federal court should decline the exercise of jurisdiction
by dismissing the case without prejudice.
484 U.S. 343, 350, 108 S.Ct. 614, 619, 98 L.Ed.2d 720
(1988)(footnote omitted). The Defendants have alleged that
this Court should retain jurisdiction over the state-law
claims because, it says, the Thorntons appear to be engaging
in forum shopping by dismissing Mr. Thornton's claims.
This allegation is not well taken. As noted, the Plaintiff
has not sought to have this case remanded. Rather, this Court
inquired about subject-matter jurisdiction because of its
obligation to ensure that such jurisdiction does in fact
exist. Accordingly, the Court finds that the values of
judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity weigh in
favor of remanding this case to the Limestone County Circuit
Defendants have also asked this Court to enter an order
barring the Plaintiff and Shane Thornton from pursuing any
federal-law claims on remand. The Court declines to enter
such an order.
foregoing reasons, this case is due to be DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE and REMANDED to
the Limestone County Circuit Court. A separate order will be
 Mr. Thornton filed a notice of
voluntary dismissal on September 24, 2019 (Doc. 9), and this
Court entered an order dismissing Mr. Thornton on ...