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Jaffrey, Town of v. Fitzwilliam, Town of

ELR Citation: 24 ELR 21021
Nos. No. C-93-49-M, 846 F. Supp. 3/(D.N.H., 02/07/1994)

The court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state-law claims in an action brought by a municipal owner of a contaminated landfill asserting two Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) claims and nine state-law claims against waste depositors to recover response costs and related expenses. Although the state-law claims form part of the same case or controversy as the federal claims, the court exercises its discretion, under 28 U.S.C. §1367(c), to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. The court holds that the state-law claims predominate because they substantially broaden the scope of possible liability and open a broad range of defenses that do not apply to the federal claims. The court also holds that several unsettled questions of state law warrant giving the state courts an opportunity to construe the applicable state law. Furthermore, a bench trial on the CERCLA claims alone will prove more expedient, and less likely to cause juror confusion, than a combined bench and jury trial on all federal and state claims. Finally, the court holds that the plaintiff is not entitled to a jury on its CERCLA claims.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Eleanor H. MacLellan
Sulloway & Hollis
Nine Capitol St., P.O. Box 1256, Concord NH 03302
(603) 224-2341

Counsel for Defendants
R. James Steiner
Orr & Reno
One Eagle Sq., P.O. Box 709, Concord NH 03302
(603) 224-2381