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Jinks v. Richland County

April 22, 2003

SUSAN JINKS, PETITIONER
v.
RICHLAND COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA



On Writ Of Certiorari To The Supreme Court Of South Carolina Court Below: 349 S. C. 298, 563 S. E. 2d 104,

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Argued March 5, 2003

Decided April 22, 2003

Title 28 U. S. C. §1367 determines whether a federal district court with jurisdiction over a civil action may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over other claims forming part of the same Article III "case or controversy." If the court declines to exercise such jurisdiction, the claims will be dismissed and must be refiled in state court. To prevent the limitations period on those claims from expiring while they are pending in federal court, §1367(d) requires state courts to toll the period while a supplemental claim is pending in federal court and for 30 days after its dismissal unless state law provides for a longer tolling period. Petitioner filed a federal-court action claiming that respondent county and others violated 42 U. S. C. §1983 in connection with her husband's death. She also asserted supplemental claims for wrongful death and survival under South Carolina law. The District Court granted defendants summary judgment on the §1983 claim and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the state-law claims. Petitioner then filed the supplemental claims in state court and won a wrongful-death verdict against respondent. The State Supreme Court reversed, finding the state-law claims time-barred. Although they would not have been barred under §1367(d)'s tolling rule, the court held §1367(d) unconstitutional as applied to claims brought in state court against a State's political subdivisions.

Held: Section 1367(d)'s application to claims brought against a State's political subdivisions is constitutional. Pp. 4-10.

(a) The Court rejects respondent's contention that §1367(d) is facially invalid because it exceeds Congress's enumerated powers. Rather, it is necessary and proper for executing Congress's power "[t]o constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court," Art. I, §8, cl. 9, and assuring that those tribunals may fairly and efficiently exercise "the judicial power of the United States," Art. III, §1. As to "necessity": It suffices that §1367(d) is conducive to the administration of justice in federal court and is plainly adapted to that end. See McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 421. And as to propriety: contrary to respondent's claim, §1367(d) does not violate state-sovereignty principles by regulating state-court procedures. Pp. 4-8.

(b) Also without merit is respondent's contention that §1367(d) should not be interpreted to apply to claims brought against a State's political subdivisions. Congress lacks Article I authority to override a State's immunity from suit in its own courts, see Alden v. Maine, The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Scalia

The Supreme Court of South Carolina dismissed petitioner's lawsuit against respondent as time-barred. In doing so it held that 28 U. S. C. §1367(d), which required the state statute of limitation to be tolled for the period during which petitioner's cause of action had previously been pending in federal court, is unconstitutional as applied to lawsuits brought against a State's political subdivisions. The issue before us is the validity of that constitutional determination.

I.

A.

When a federal district court has original jurisdiction over a civil cause of action, §1367 determines whether it may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over other claims that do not independently come within its jurisdiction, but that form part of the same Article III "case or controversy." Section 1367(a) provides:

"Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) or as expressly provided otherwise by Federal statute, in any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution. Such supplemental jurisdiction shall include claims that involve the joinder or intervention of additional parties."

As the introductory clause suggests, not every claim within the same "case or controversy" as the claim within the federal courts' original jurisdiction will be decided by the federal court; ยงยง1367(b) and (c) describe situations in which a federal court may or must decline to ...


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