Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bolinder v. Emery County

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

December 18, 2017

LESLIE BOLINDER, Plaintiff,
v.
EMERY COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Utah, and the EMERY COUNTY CAREER SERVICES COUNCIL, Defendants.

          ORDER

          ROBERT J. SHELBY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On February 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed her Petition for Judicial Review of the Emery County Career Services Council's decision in the Seventh Judicial District in Emery County, Utah.[1]Defendants Emery County and Emery County Career Services Council (CSC) removed this action from the Seventh District Court on May 9, 2017.[2] Defendants then filed this Motion to Remand Plaintiff's Petition of Review of the CSC's decision back to the Seventh District Court arguing this court lacks jurisdiction to review state administrative agency decisions.[3]

         For the reasons discussed below, the court concludes Plaintiff's first cause of action-the review of the CSC's decision-is within its supplemental jurisdiction. The court declines to sever and remand the claim to state court. Defendants' Motion is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         This action arises from the termination of Leslie Bolinder's employment with Emery County, Utah. She was employed by the County as an Executive Administrative Assistant.[4] In that role, Ms. Bolinder assisted the three Emery County Commissioners.[5] On June 2, 2016, after approximately 27 years of employment with the County, Ms. Bolinder was informed that her position had been “restructured” into three part-time positions “effective immediately.”[6] The Commissioners did not hold a public meeting to discuss their decision to restructure Ms. Bolinder's position.[7]

         Ms. Bolinder filed a grievance in accordance with the County's policies and procedures.[8]That grievance eventually led to a hearing before the CSC.[9] On January 4, 2017, the CSC ruled against Ms. Bolinder, finding that she “failed to meet her burden of proof in demonstrating by substantial evidence that the Commission's decision to reclassify her position was done ‘primarily for the purpose of dismissing or otherwise disciplining the employee.'”[10]

         Ms. Bolinder was a career service employee.[11] Accordingly, she was subject to the provisions of the Utah County Personnel Management Act.[12] On February 1, 2017 pursuant to her rights under this Act, Ms. Bolinder filed her petition for judicial review of the CSC's ruling in the Seventh Judicial District Court in Emery County, Utah.[13] On April 24, 2017, Ms. Bolinder filed an Amended Complaint asserting two more causes of action in addition to her petition for judicial review.[14] The additional claims include a state law claim for wrongful termination in violation of clear and substantial public policy and a federal law claim for deprivation of due process rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983.[15]

         Defendants removed the action to this court based on Plaintiff's due process claim.[16]Defendants subsequently filed the current Motion to Remand Ms. Bolinder's first cause of action-that is, her petition for judicial review of the CSC's decision.[17] Plaintiff opposed Defendant's Motion.[18]

         ANALYSIS

         Under to 28 U.S.C. §1441(c), “(1) If a civil action includes-(A) a claim arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States . . ., and (B) a claim not within the original or supplemental jurisdiction of the district court or a claim that has been made nonremovable by statute, the entire action may be removed….”[19] The statute continues, “ (2) Upon removal of an action described in paragraph (1), the district court shall sever from the action all claims described in paragraph (1)(B) and shall remand the severed claims to the State court from which the action was removed.”[20]

         Defendants contend the court must sever and remand Plaintiff's first cause of action because it lacks jurisdiction to hear the claim. The court finds Defendant's argument unpersuasive and concludes Plaintiff's claim is within its supplemental jurisdiction.

         I. Plaintiff's First Cause of Action Is Within the Courts Jurisdiction

         Defendants argue Utah's statute prohibits the federal district court from exercising jurisdiction over Plaintiff's first cause of action. Defendants also argue this court cannot exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over state administrative appeals. The court considers each argument in turn.

         A. Utah County Personnel Management Act

         Defendants argue the Utah County Personnel Management Act prohibits this court from exercising jurisdiction over Plaintiff's appeal.[21] Defendants assert the language of the Act requires adverse decisions by the CSC to be appealed to the state district court. The statute states, “a person adversely affected by a decision of the career service council may appeal the decision to the district court.”[22] Thus, Defendants argue the statute does not give the federal district court subject matter jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's appeal.

         This court agrees that “district court” as used in the statute refers to the state district court.[23] Defendants' contention that such an interpretation also means this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, however, is without support. The plain language of the Act does not purport to limit federal jurisdiction.[24] The Act does not include language stating that federal district courts may not hear CSC appeals, nor is there language mandating that appeals of adverse CSC decisions are non-removable.[25] Here, Plaintiff followed the very procedure Defendants argue the statute requires-that is, she appealed the CSC's decision to the Seventh Judicial District Court in Emery County.

         The court concludes the Utah statute does limit its subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's first cause of action.

         B. Supplemental Jurisdiction Over Review of State Administrative Agency Decisions

         Defendants also argue this court cannot exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state administrative appeals. Defendants assert this court is “NOT vested…with appellate jurisdiction over state administrative appeals.”[26] Further, Defendants contend 28 U.S.C. §1367 does not vest the court with supplemental jurisdiction to review the CSC's ruling in Plaintiff's case.[27]

         The Supreme Court has instructed otherwise, explaining that state court actions involving claims challenging the decisions of state or local agencies may be removed to federal court when removal jurisdiction has been established.[28] Once removed to federal court, the Supreme Court clarified, “[t]here is nothing in the text of §1367(a) that indicates an exception to supplemental jurisdiction for claims that require on-the-record review of a state or local administrative determination.”[29] Instead, the Court continued, “the statute generally confers supplemental jurisdiction over ‘all other claims' in the same case or controversy as a federal question.”[30]

         In City of Chicago v. International College of Surgeons, the plaintiff brought an action in state court including claims that local administrative actions violated federal laws and state law claims for on-the-record review of state administrative findings, similar to Plaintiff here.[31] The defendant then removed the action to federal court.[32] On appeal to the Supreme Court, the plaintiff argued the federal district court could not exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the review of state administrative findings.[33] Ultimately, the Court concluded it was proper for the federal court to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over the review of the state administrative findings.[34] This court finds International College of Surgeons controlling.

         Notwithstanding the holding in International College of Surgeons, Defendants cite to several other cases for the proposition that this court cannot exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state administrative appeals. Upon close review, the court concludes these cases, all of which preceded the Supreme Court's In ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.