Gary D. Simpson

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In Aldinger v. Howard, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a party not already in federal court under a federal claim may not be brought into federal court under a state claim, even though the plaintiff's state claim has a "common nucleus of operative fact" with the plaintiff's federal claim against another party. This limitation on "pendant party" jurisdiction, however, was restricted to state claims asserted to be "pendent" to 42 U.S.C.A. § 19832 and its jurisdictional corollary, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1343(3).

Petitioner Aldinger had a civil-rights claim under § 1983 against Respondent Howard, the treasurer of Spokane County, who had fired Aldinger for "living with [her] boy friend." She also sued the county itself, not under § 1983, which she admitted did not apply to governments, but under a state law. Aldinger contended that the U.S. District Court had pendent jurisdiction over her state claim against the county, because that claim and her § 1983 claim against Howard had a "common nucleus of operative fact."' The district judge dismissed the action against the county, since the county was not a "person" under § 1983 and since there was no other independent basis of federal jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed