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Federal Court Refuses to Maintain Supplemental Jurisdiction After Plaintiff Amends Complaint U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, August 18, 2015

In this federal court case, the decedent, Thomas Maguire alleged exposure to asbestos while he served as a metalsmith in the Navy between 1958 and 1961, and then again while working as a steamfitter aboard Navy ships between 1962 and 1963. The defendant, Crane Co. removed the case to federal court based on the federal officer statute 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). The plaintiff’s original motion to remand was denied, but they were granted leave to amend the complaint to remove all federal claims and defenses. The plaintiff followed the court’s instruction and moved again to remand the case. Crane opposed, arguing that the plaintiff had not fully abandoned the claims giving rise to the defense and, alternatively, the court should retain supplemental jurisdiction based on the analysis in Payne v. Parkchester North Condominiums (Payne), 134 F. Supp. 2d 582 (S.D.N.Y. 2001), where supplemental jurisdiction was maintained.
 
The court found that the plaintiff had abandoned all claims that could give rise to a federal contractor defense and in remanding the case, held: “Unlike the plaintiffs in Payne, Maguire never brought any federal constitutional claims in state court. Also unlike the plaintiffs in Payne, Maguire filed her motion to remand promptly, before any discovery had been conducted and indeed before an initial pretrial conference had been held. Maguire thus did not ‘postpone the litigation, waste judicial resources, and perhaps cause inconsistencies in discovery procedure,’ the factors which led the Payne court to retain supplemental jurisdiction.”

Read the full decision here.

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