United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
RHONDA DOOLEY, INDIVIDUALLY, AND ON BEHALF OF THE WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES OF CARL DOOLEY, III, DECEASED PLAINTIFF
NOXUBEE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI; LOWNDES COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI; NOXUBEE GENERAL HOSPITAL DEFENDANTS
P. Jordan III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
wrongful-death action is before the Court on Defendant
Noxubee General Hospital's Motion to Dismiss . For the
reasons that follow, the Court declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state-law
claim and thus grants Defendant's motion.
Facts and Procedural History
events leading to Carl Dooley III's death in this sad
matter began on December 23, 2015. Starting that evening and
continuing into the next morning, Carl's wife, Plaintiff
Rhonda Dooley, placed multiple 911 calls to report that Carl
was threating to harm her and himself. Compl.  ¶ 7.
Noxubee County, Mississippi law enforcement arrived at the
Dooleys' home around 11:00 a.m. on December 24 and found
Carl with self-inflicted lacerations to both wrists.
Id. ¶ 8.
same day, the Noxubee County Sheriff's Department
transported Carl to Noxubee General Hospital (“Noxubee
General”). Id. ¶ 9. There, Carl told
Noxubee General personnel that he “tried to kill
[him]self” using a razor. Id. A Noxubee
General employee then treated Carl's wounds and
discharged him back to Noxubee County law enforcement a
little over an hour later, with no psychological assessment
or treatment provided. Id. ¶ 10.
County personnel then transported Carl from the hospital and
released him to the custody of the Lowndes County,
Mississippi Sheriff's Department at 3:17 p.m. on December
24. Id. ¶ 11. There was no communication
between the County employees regarding Carl's previous
suicide attempt or subsequent hospital treatment.
Id. Accordingly, he was not placed on suicide watch
at Lowndes County, where he sent Rhonda numerous emails
suggesting that he “was contemplating another suicide
attempt.” Id. ¶¶ 11-12. Then on
December 26, 2015, Carl committed suicide using bedsheets
while in Lowndes County custody. Id. ¶
Dooley (“Dooley”), individually and on behalf of
Carl's beneficiaries, filed suit in this Court on
December 21, 2016. She brings a state-law negligence claim
again Noxubee General, and § 1983 and
deliberate-indifference federal claims as to Noxubee County
and Lowndes County. Noxubee General moved to dismiss the
state-law claim against it pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1), and that motion was fully briefed on May
19, 2017. The Court has personal and subject-matter
jurisdiction and is prepared to rule.
28 U.S.C. § 1367, this Court “shall have
supplemental jurisdiction over” claims that do not
independently come within the jurisdiction of the district
court but “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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (2012).
“The question under section 1367(a) is whether the
supplemental claims are so related to the original claims . .
. that they ‘derive from a common nucleus of operative
fact.'” Mendoza v. Murphy, 532 F.3d 342,
346 (5th Cir. 2008). Stated another way, a state-law claim is
part of the same case or controversy as a federal claim where
a plaintiff “would ordinarily be expected to try them
all in one judicial proceeding.” United Mine
Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966).
“The party which asserts jurisdiction bears the burden
of proof for a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1).” Davis v. United States,
597 F.3d 646, 649 (5th Cir. 2009).
Whether the Court Has Supplemental Jurisdiction Under Section
Court has federal-question subject-matter jurisdiction over
the federal claims asserted against: (1) Noxubee County for
allegedly transferring Carl into custody without informing
the custodian of his suicide attempt and medical treatment
and (2) Lowndes County for allegedly failing to properly
monitor Carl's mental condition and emails once he was in
custody. Compl.  ¶¶ 19-20, 23-24. But Noxubee
General argues that the Court lacks supplemental jurisdiction
over the state-law negligence claim asserted against it.
Dooley is suing Noxubee General under Mississippi law for
failing to appropriately assess and evaluate Carl's
mental status before he was discharged from the hospital
following his suicide attempt. Id. ¶¶
16-17. Citing cases from circuits outside of this one,
Noxubee General says the negligence claim falls outside the
supplemental jurisdiction of this Court because it does not
“derive from the same nucleus of fact as the federal
law claims” against the Counties. Def.'s Mem. 
at 3. The foundation of Noxubee General's argument is
that the state claim involves a different defendant and
entirely dissimilar acts.
the seemingly new allegations she presents in response,
Dooley says the federal and state claims pleaded in her
Complaint are “inextricably intertwined” as each
party's liability “revolves around the failure to
assess the suicide risk suffered by Carl.” Def.'s
Mem.  at 1- 2. It is obvious Dooley attempts to broadly
assess the operative factual issue in this case. On the other
hand, Noxubee General tries to boil down the factual issues
to something more distinct and specific-evaluation while
under hospital treatment versus information transfer and
supervision while in police custody. So the question becomes
how broadly or narrowly the Court should define the
“common nucleus of operative fact.”
a close call based on a difficult standard. To be sure, as
Noxubee General points out, the claims against each defendant
address “distinct alleged wrongs.” Def.'s
Mem.  at 4. But “Section 1367(a) is expansive,
extending supplemental jurisdiction to its constitutional
limit.” Lucarino v. Con-Dive, LLC, No.
H-09-2548, 2010 WL 786546, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 5, 2010)
(Rosenthal, J.). And it “requires only that the
jurisdiction-invoking claim and the supplemental claim have
some loose factual connection.” Charles Alan Wright
& Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 3567.1 (3d ed. 2017); see also
CheckPoint Fluidic Sys. Int'l, Ltd. v. Guccione, No.
10-4505, 2012 WL 195533, at *3 (E.D. La. Jan. 23, 2012)
(“A loose factual connection between the claims is
generally sufficient.”); Lucarino, 2010 WL
786546, at *2 (“[T]his does not mean that all of the
facts applicable to the federal claim must also apply to the
state claim. Section 1367(a) is generally satisfied by a