In an opinion Friday, Judge Caproni refused to enforce a disputed settlement of a trademark case that had been pending before her. The case was dismissed when the parties reported they had settled. The alleged settlement was not reflected in any court order. And when apparent settlement fell apart, the plaintiff asked Judge Caproni to re-open the case so as to enforce the settlement. But Judge Caproni found that the request effectively asked her to assert supplemental jurisdiction over a breach of contract claim:
The Court does not have supplemental jurisdiction over the breach of contract claim because the claim does not share a common nucleus of operative fact with the trademark claims . . . .
Here, there is no common nucleus of operative fact between the trademark claims and the breach of contract claim because the two sets of claims are based on fundamentally different facts. With respect to the proposed breach of contract claim, the Court would have to take evidence regarding who said what before and during the mediation. The trademark claims, in contrast, arise from a completely different set of facts . . . .
Judge Caproni nonetheless came up with an elegant solution. She proposed to re-open the case on its merits, and, if the parties were in litigation in a different forum over the disputed settlement (presumably state court), she would stay the federal litigation.