Pendent Jurisdiction

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Pendent Jurisdiction

The discretionary power of a federal court to permit the assertion of a related state law claim, along with a federal claim between the same parties, properly before the court, provided that the federal claim and the state law claim derive from the same set of facts.

Generally, in the Civil Law, claims based on federal law are heard in federal court, and claims based on state law are heard in state court. The principle of pendent jurisdiction creates an exception to this general rule by allowing a plaintiff who has filed a claim based on federal law in federal court to add a state law claim to the case. This may be done only if the state law claim arose out of the same transaction or occurrence, or nucleus of facts, that gave rise to the federal claim.

For example, assume that a plaintiff has filed suit in federal court alleging that the respondent has violated her Civil Rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000a et seq.). Assume further that the claim arises from an incident in which the plaintiff was denied service at a public restaurant based on her perceived national origin. If the plaintiff was also physically harmed by the respondent in the incident, she may want to file claims for Assault and Battery. Assault and battery of a private party are state law claims; no federal laws exist under which the plaintiff could bring such claims. Pendent jurisdiction would give the federal court the authority to hear the assault and battery claims because they arose out of the same incident that gave rise to the federal civil rights claims.

Pendent jurisdiction is a rule of judicial convenience and efficiency. If federal courts could not hear state law claims, many plaintiffs would be forced to present two cases in two courts involving essentially the same matter. Such a rule would be unduly expensive for plaintiffs, would increase the number of cases in the court system, and could lead to seemingly inconsistent results from different courts concerning related matters.



West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

pendent jurisdiction

n. in federal procedure, the policy that allows a federal court to decide a legal question normally tried in state courts because it is based on the same facts as a lawsuit which is under federal court jurisdiction. (It also may be spelled: pendant)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This court also declines to exercise discretionary pendent jurisdiction here.
(18) While pendent jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims was generally accepted in federal court, an exercise of ancillary jurisdiction required separate examination.
(45) In reversing these previous cases, the First Circuit properly applied United States Supreme Court decisions like Allapattah, which held "[section] 1367 do[es] not acknowledge any distinction between pendent jurisdiction and ...
(4) In contrast, it has been frequently held that a remand based on district court refusal to exercise pendent jurisdiction over state law claims may not be within the scope of [section] 1447(c) and, therefore, may be reviewable.
The Kroger Court reversed the holding of the court below that extended ancillary jurisdiction to the plaintiff's claim against the third-party defendant, (46) but chose not to resolve whether the lower court had properly analyzed the question as one of ancillary as opposed to pendent jurisdiction. (47) The dissent in Kroger had no difficulty conceiving of the question as one of ancillary jurisdiction and called for the rule of complete diversity to be accommodated on a case-by-case basis through discretionary judicial administration of ancillary jurisdiction.
On the other hand, the plaintiff's claim was asserted in the complaint, albeit by amendment, (54) and this seemed to call for application of principles of pendent jurisdiction. Although permitting district courts to exercise pendent jurisdiction over claims asserted in the complaint (either originally or by amendment) would be subject to district court discretion, this would reduce the rule of complete diversity to a discretionary judicial doctrine rather than a threshold statutory requirement.
In federal-question cases, original jurisdiction attached to any well-pleaded complaint that asserted a substantial federal claim; pendent jurisdiction came quickly into play to govern the plaintiff's initial joinder of additional claims along the lines the Court developed for pendent claims in Gibbs (but rejected for pendent parties in Finley).
[sections] 1332's ("section 1332") provision for the exercise of diverse-party jurisdiction.(80) As a practical matter, the refusal to import pendent jurisdiction concepts into diversity litigation meant that issues of transactional relationship and litigation convenience--the coin of the realm for supplemental jurisdiction--had far less to do with the scope of the claims a plaintiff might permissibly join in a diverse-party proceeding than the established rules of aggregation and complete diversity that the Court had worked out long before Gibbs came down in 1966.
Pendent jurisdiction allowed a plaintiff with a federal question claim and a related(13) nonfederal claim to assert both claims in the original complaint in federal court.
The doctrine of pendent jurisdiction allows a federal court that is considering a federal question to adjudicate related state law claims based on the same facts when judicial economy warrants hearing all the claims together.(26)
Halderman.(47) Emphasizing that the federal interest that underlies the Young fiction -- the interest in enforcing federal law -- does not apply when plaintiffs allege state violations of state law, the Pennhurst Court held that the federal courts cannot entertain, via pendent jurisdiction, state law claims for injunctive relief against state officials.(48)