United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
ANDREW LENNETTE, Individually and on behalf of C.L., O.L. and S.L., Minors, Plaintiffs,
MELODY SIVER et al., Defendants.
R. READER JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matters before the court are Plaintiff Andrew Lennette's
“Motion to Amend Complaint to Withdraw Claim Pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. [§] 1983” (“Motion to
Amend”) (docket no. 21) and Motion to Remand (docket
no. 22) (collectively, “Motions”).
January 2, 2017, Lennette filed a “Petition at Law and
Jury Demand” (“Petition”) (docket no. 3) in
the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Iowa (“Iowa
District Court”). In the Petition, Lennette asserts
that Melody Siver, Amy Howell and Valerie Lovaglia
(collectively “DHS Investigators”) violated his
rights and he seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Petition at 15-16. The Petition also asserts
various claims under Iowa law against St. Luke's
Methodist Hospital (“St. Luke's”) and the
Grace C. Mae Advocate Center, Inc. (“Center”).
February 10, 2017, the DHS Investigators filed a Notice of
Removal (docket no. 2), bringing the case before the court.
On February 17, 2017, the DHS Investigators filed a Motion to
Dismiss (docket no. 6). On August 7, 2017, Lennette filed the
Motions. The Motion to Amend states that the DHS
Investigators do not resist the motion. See Motion
to Amend at 3. On August 9, 2017, St. Luke's filed a
Resistance (docket no. 23) to the Motion to Remand. The
Center, which is not implicated by the § 1983 claim, has
not yet responded. However, in the interest of judicial
efficiency, and because the Motions appear noncontroversial,
the court will proceed to consider the Motions. See
LR 7(e) (“If a motion appears to be noncontroversial,
or if circumstances otherwise warrant, the court may elect to
rule on a motion without waiting for a resistance or
SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
court has original jurisdiction over the § 1983 claims
because they arise under the United States Code. See
28 U.S.C. § 1331 (“The district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States.”). The court has supplemental jurisdiction over
the remaining claims because they are so related to the
claims within the court's original jurisdiction that they
form part of the same case or controversy. See 28
U.S.C. § 1367(a) (“[T]he 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 . . . .”). In other words, “the
federal-law claims and state-law claims in the case
‘derive from a common nucleus of operative fact'
and are ‘such that [a plaintiff] would ordinarily be
expected to try them all in one judicial
proceeding.'” Kan. Pub. Emps. Ret. Sys. v.
Reimer & Koger Assocs., Inc., 77 F.3d 1063, 1067
(8th Cir. 1996) (quoting Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v.
Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 349 (1988)) (alteration in
MOTION TO AMEND
Motion to Amend, Lennette “seeks to withdraw his cause
of action against the [DHS Investigators] based on 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, ” which would result in their dismissal
from this action. Motion to Amend at 2. Lennette explains
that a recent Iowa Supreme Court Case, Godfrey v.
State, N.W.2d, 2017 WL 2825878 (Iowa 2017), recognizes
“claims against the State and its employees under the
Iowa Constitution.” Motion to Amend at 2. Lennette
intends to “file suit in state court on all tort claims
including the Iowa Constitutional claims.” Id.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that a party may
amend a pleading once as a matter of course within twenty-one
days after service of a Rule 12(b) motion. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(1)(B). However, Lennette did not seek to amend the
Petition within the necessary time period. As such, pursuant
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Lennette may only
amend the Petition “with the opposing party's
written consent or the court's leave.” Id.
15(a)(2). “The court should freely give leave when
justice so requires.” Id. “[D]enial of
leave to amend may be justified by undue delay, bad faith on
the part of the moving party, futility of the amendment or
unfair prejudice to the opposing party.” Crest
Constr. II, Inc. v. Doe, 660 F.3d 346, 358-59 (8th Cir.
2011) (quoting United States ex rel. Joshi v. St.
Luke's Hosp., Inc., 441 F.3d 552, 557-58 (8th Cir.
court shall grant the Motion to Amend. Lennette did not
unduly delay filing the Motion to Amend because it was filed
approximately a month after the Iowa Supreme Court issued the
Godfrey opinion, which permitted Lennette to file
his claims in state court. See Godfrey, 2017 WL
2825878. There is no evidence that the Motion to Amend is
brought in bad faith. Nor is the Motion to Amend prejudicial,
as it results in dismissal of the DHS Investigators from the
suit and leaves the status of the other Defendants
substantially unchanged. Additionally, the DHS
Investigators-the only Defendants implicated in the §
1983 claims-do not resist the Motion to Amend. See
Motion to Amend at 3. Accordingly, the court shall grant the
Motion to Amend to allow Lennette to withdraw his § 1983
claims and dismiss the DHS Investigators.
MOTION TO REMAND
Motion to Remand, Lennette states that “[w]ithdrawal of
[his] [§] 1983 claims removes all claims over which
th[e] [c]ourt has original jurisdiction.” Motion to
Remand at 2. He further contends that remand to the Iowa
District Court is appropriate. Id. at 3. Lennette
points to the relatively brief time that the case has been in
federal court, the limited involvement of the court, the
length of time before trial is set to begin and the
efficiency and convenience of trying all cases together in
state court. Id. In its Resistance, St. Luke's
argues that the court should retain jurisdiction over the
state law claims because the issues presented in its Motion
to Dismiss (“St. Luke's Motion to Dismiss”)
(docket no. 10) “are governed by well-established law
and are routinely addressed by th[e] [c]ourt.”
Resistance at ...