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GRIFFIN v. CITY OF CHICAGO

September 27, 1990

MARRION GRIFFIN, by his Mother and Next of Friend, SHEILA GRIFFIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation, B. DOYAL, B. BECTON, and UNKNOWN CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS all individually and as agents of CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendants


Brian Barnett Duff, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUFF

BRIAN BARNETT DUFF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Mr. Griffin, through his mother, claims that he was mistreated by various Chicago police officers. He filed a complaint against them and the city alleging various state and federal claims. This court dismissed Mr. Griffin's " Monell " claim against the city earlier this year, because he failed to allege any facts supporting it. Mr. Griffin filed an amended complaint, which named the city only in those counts alleging state law violations (the city is sued in those counts on a respondeat superior theory). The city now moves to dismiss those counts, arguing that pendent party jurisdiction is inappropriate. This court agrees, and grants the city's motion.

 The Seventh Circuit has instructed courts deciding whether to exercise pendent party jurisdiction to consider two factors:

 First, the requirements of Article III of the Constitution for the exercise of federal judicial power must be fulfilled. Second, relevant statutory limitations on the exercise of pendent jurisdiction must be examined. Aldinger v. Howard, 427 U.S. 1, 18, [49 L. Ed. 2d 276, 96 S. Ct. 2413, 2422]. . . . (1976). . . .

 Zabkowicz v. West Bend Co., 789 F.2d 540, 546 (7th Cir. 1986). There is no constitutional bar to this court's exercise of jurisdiction in this case, *fn1" the question is whether there is a Congressional one. The Supreme Court, in Aldinger, (decided before Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978)), decided that since Congress had not permitted counties to be sued under § 1983, neither were they to be joined to such an action as pendent parties.

 There is some considerable disagreement on the question whether municipalities are amenable to pendent party claims on § 1983 actions post-Monell. *fn2" In this Circuit, however, while the court has not decided the precise question, it has offered sufficient guidance for this court to decide the question before it.

 In 1984, the court opined that "pendent party jurisdiction is an embattled concept these days. . . ." Bernstein v. Lind-Waldock & Co., 738 F.2d 179, 187 (7th Cir. 1984). (Citations omitted). The court noted that it had already held that a pendent diversity claim for less than the statutory minimum amount, was not within the court's pendent party jurisdiction in an action in which the main claim is also a diversity claim. Id. Nonetheless, the court continued, "where the main claim is a federal-question claim, there is still considerable support for allowing pendent party jurisdiction to be exercised over a related state-law claim against a different party." Id. (citations omitted). The court concluded that pendent party jurisdiction is more appropriately exercised "as a convenience to a party who has a substantive federal claim . . . rather than as a service to the cause of judicial economy." Id. (citations omitted).

 Addressing a question similar to the one presented here, that is, whether a county may be brought in as a pendent party where § 1983 claims are pending against individuals, the court held in Moore v. Marketplace Restaurant, Inc., 754 F.2d 1336 (7th Cir. 1985) that:

 
The positions of a county and of a private individual are not symmetrical. Although most local government is not within the protection of the Eleventh Amendment as it has been interpreted . . . there is a natural reluctance to assume that Congress would want local government to be suable in federal court under a jurisdictional concept ("pendent parties" jurisdiction) not mentioned in the Constitution, when Congress had decided not to make the conduct for which the local government had been haled into federal court a violation of federal law.

 Id. at 1359 (Posner, J. concurring, expressing majority view). Nonetheless, the court noted that "there is substantial authority . . . for retaining the doctrine where the main claim is, as in this case, a federal claim. . . ." Id. at 1360.

 In Citizens Marine National Bank v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 854 F.2d 223, 226 (7th Cir. 1988), the court opined that:

 
The best generalization about the current status and scope of pendent-party jurisdiction may be that no generalization is possible; the second best may be that, unsatisfactory as it is to have a sliding scale for jurisdiction, the existence of pendent-party jurisdiction depends on the pros and cons of exercising such jurisdiction in particular circumstances. However, if it appears as in Aldinger that Congress would not have wanted the federal courts to exercise jurisdiction over the pendent claim, then there is no pendent-party jurisdiction. . . .

 There, the plaintiff was suing the U.S. Dept. of Commerce under a statute which extended federal jurisdiction to certain limited cases brought against the government. The Seventh Circuit refused to allow a plaintiff, in federal court pursuant to that narrow jurisdictional grant, to ...


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