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Borandi v. Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC

United States District Court, D. Colorado

May 21, 2015

TODD BORANDI, individually, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
v.
ALLIANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY, LLC, a Colorado Corporation, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

ORDER

RAYMOND P. MOORE, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the parties' responses to the Court's order to show cause as to whether the Court has diversity jurisdiction. (ECF Nos. 41; 42; 43.)

For the following reasons, the Court does not have diversity jurisdiction and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims, and therefore, dismisses the remaining claims without prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Todd Borandi ("Borandi" or "Plaintiff") brings suit against Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC ("Alliance" or "Defendant") for allegedly violating (1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1) by discriminatorily discharging him on the basis of his gender (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 31-37) and (2) Colorado public policy by discharging him because he engaged in protected conduct when he objected to his employer's alleged unlawful use of federal funds (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 38-42). Plaintiff alleges that the Court has jurisdiction over his claims "pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1367." (ECF No. 1 ¶ 2.) Plaintiff alleges that he is an "individual residing in the State of Colorado." (ECF No. 1 ¶ 5.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant "is a Colorado Corporation" located in Colorado. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 6.) Plaintiff makes no allegation as to the amount due to him as a result of Defendant's alleged actions; rather, Plaintiff "prays for judgment" in his favor "in an amount to be proven at trial." (ECF No. 1 at 12.)

Defendant counterclaimed against Plaintiff for alleged (1) breach of contract (ECF No. 10, Countercl. ¶¶ 12-19) and (2) quantum meruit (ECF No. 10, Countercl. ¶¶ 20-28). Defendant alleges that it is "a Delaware Corporation." (ECF No. 10, Countercl. ¶ 1.) Defendant alleges that Plaintiff breached a contract in "the amount of $17, 263.40." (ECF No. 10, Countercl. ¶¶ 12-19.) Defendant alleges, under its quantum meruit theory, that Plaintiff owes Defendant "approximately $17, 263.40." (ECF No. 10, Countercl. ¶¶ 20-28.)

As detailed in this Court's prior order, Defendant moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's federal Title VII claim, Plaintiff's state-law wrongful discharge in violation of Colorado public policy claim and its state-law counterclaims. ( See ECF No. 40.) The Court granted judgment in Defendant's favor on Plaintiff's federal Title VII claim. (ECF No. 40 at 13-21, 30.) The Court denied judgment in Defendant's favor on Plaintiff's state-law wrongful discharge in violation of Colorado public policy claim and Defendant's state-law counterclaims. (ECF No. 40 at 21-30.)

The matter is currently set for trial in July 2015 on the parties' remaining state-law claims. ( See ECF No. 36.)

Subsequent to the Court's order on Defendant's summary judgment motion (ECF No. 25), the Court, sua sponte, ordered the parties to show cause as to whether the Court has diversity jurisdiction. (ECF No. 41.) Both parties filed a response to the Court's order to show cause. (ECF Nos. 42; 43.) The parties argue, albeit for different reasons, that the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction based upon the parties' diversity of citizenship[1]. ( See ECF Nos. 42; 43.)

II. LEGAL STANDARDS AND ANALYSIS

A. Diversity Jurisdiction

A federal court has an independent obligation to examine its own jurisdiction at every stage of the proceeding. Amazon, Inc. v. Dirt Camp, Inc., 273 F.3d 1271, 1276 (10th Cir. 2001); Citizens Concerned for Separation of Church & State v. City & County of Denver, 628 F.2d 1289, 1301 (10th Cir. 1980). "The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing such jurisdiction as a threshold matter." Radil v. Sanborn W. Camps, Inc., 384 F.3d 1220, 1224 (10th Cir. 2004).

In this matter, the sole basis for federal jurisdiction is that one of Plaintiff's claims arose pursuant to federal law, and thus, jurisdiction was appropriate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (ECF No. 38 at 2.) The Court has granted judgment in Defendant's favor on Plaintiff's federal claim. (ECF No. 40 at 13-21, 30.) The remaining state-law claims are subject to the Court's exercising supplemental jurisdiction which is discretionary. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). Therefore, the Court allowed the parties to show cause as to "whether the Court has diversity jurisdiction" in an attempt to salvage the litigation absent the Court's exercising its discretionary authority. (ECF No. 41 at 4.) The Court's order was not limited only to ascertaining the parties' respective citizenships. (ECF No. 41 at 4.) Unfortunately, the resulting briefs focused only on the parties' respective citizenships and not also on the amount in controversy. (ECF Nos. 42; 43.)

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), "[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and ...


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