Dismissed Civil RICO with State Court Claims Must Be Without Prejudice To Allow Refiling in State Court

Vibe-Macro v. Shabanets, 878 F.3d 1291 (11th Cir., 2018)

The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing with prejudice federal civil RICO claims in amended complaint on shotgun pleading grounds, but in dismissing amended complaint on shotgun pleading grounds, District Court should have dismissed state law claims without prejudice as to refiling in state court.

The Court held that when all federal claims are dismissed before trial, a district court should typically dismiss the pendant state claims as well. Id., at 1296, citing cases stating “that in the usual case in which all federal-law claims are eliminated before trial, the balance of factors to be considered under the pendant jurisdiction doctrine—judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity—will point toward declining to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims.”

Although it is possible for the district court to continue to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these pendant claims, if the district court instead chooses to dismiss the state law claims, it usually should do so without prejudice as to refiling in state court, particularly where, as here, the dismissal occurs without any analysis of the merits of the state claims. Therefore, the Court remanded for the limited purpose of clarifying the order in this respect.

The Court further held that the Plaintiff was not entitled to another chance to replead. The district court sua sponte gave him an opportunity to correct the shotgun pleading issues in his complaint, and provided him with specific instructions on how to properly do so. Therefore, although the Court remanded for the limited purpose of clarifying that the dismissal of the state law claims is without prejudice as to refiling in state court, the Court affirmed on all other issues. Id., at 1297.

Ed Note: This is consistent with the law regarding tolling- the Supreme Court has held that to prevent the limitations period on those claims from expiring while they are pending in federal court, section 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. Jinks v. Richland County, S.C., 538 U.S. 456 (2003).

David J. Stander is a RICO Attorney who focuses on civil RICO litigation.

 

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