ProfessorBrittany L. Raposa
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. This case arises from a dispute between the United Mine Workers and the Southern Labor Union over representation of workers in the southern Appalachian coal fields. Gibbs (Respondent) was awarded compensatory and punitive damages in this action against the United Mine Workers (Petitioner) for violations of Section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act and the common law of Tennessee.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In cases where a plaintiff has both federal and state claims against the defendant, although there may be no diversity jurisdiction, the federal court has discretion to exercise pendent jurisdiction over the state claim based upon state law if the state-created claim and the federal claim derive from a common nucleus of operative fact, and are such that a plaintiff would ordinarily be expected to try them all in one judicial proceeding.
Issue. Whether the relationship between the existing state-created claim and the federal claim were close enough to permit the conclusion that the entire action before the court comprises but one constitutional case?
Held. Yes. Pendent jurisdiction of a court is discretionary; it is not a right of the plaintiff. In determining whether pendent jurisdiction is appropriate, the court should consider judicial economy, convenience, and fairness to the litigants. Although it is possible in this case, that the court could have decided to dismiss the state claim, the circumstances show no error in refusing to do so. Therefore, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the decision of the court of appeals.
Yet because the Hurn question involves issues of jurisdiction as well as convenience, there has been some tendency to limit its application to cases in which the state and federal claims are, as in Hurn, little more than the equivalent of different epithets to characterize the same group of circumstances.View Full Point of Law