M.D. Alabama Notes Split Re Ancillary Jurisdiction to Determine Matters of Expungement

Per Hall v. Alabama Slip Copy, 2010 WL 582076 (M.D. Ala. Feb. 18, 2010):

[I]n 1994 the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994) and explained the limited reach of ancillary jurisdiction. Tyler, --- F.Supp.2d at ----, 2009 WL 4059156 at *2. The Supreme Court stated that ancillary jurisdiction exists in two separate, but related, premises: “(1) to permit disposition by a single court of claims that are, in varying respects and degrees, factually interdependent; and (2) to enable a court to function successfully, that is, to manage its proceedings, vindicate its authority, and effectuate its decrees.” Id. at 379-80, 114 S.Ct. at 1676 (citations omitted).

After the Kokkonen decision, a split among the circuits has developed with regard to whether a federal district court has ancillary jurisdiction to determine matters of expungement. See United States v. Paxton, 2007 WL 2081483 (M.D.Ala.2007) (unpublished). Several circuits, including the First, Third, Eighth, and Ninth, have concluded that, after Kokkonen, a request for expungement does not serve the limited purposes necessary for invocation of ancillary jurisdiction and that equitable considerations standing alone are not sufficient to support jurisdiction over such a request. See United States v. Coloian, 480 F.3d 47, 52 (1st Cir.2007); United States v. Meyer, 439 F.3d 855, 859-60 (8th Cir.2006); United States v. Dunegan, 251 F.3d 477, 479-80 (3d Cir.2001); United States v. Sumner, 226 F.3d 1005, 1013-15 (9th Cir.2000)

This Court has not found any Eleventh Circuit opinions on expungement in general since the Kokkonen case. See also Tyler, --- F.Supp.2d at ----, 2009 WL 4059156 at *2 (noting the lack of a post- Kokkonen opinion from the Eleventh Circuit); United States v. Carson, 366 F.Supp.2d 1151, 1155 (M.D.Fla.2004) (finding that the Eleventh Circuit has published no opinions on expungement in general outside the realm concerning the now-repealed “Youth Corrections Act”); Paxton, 2007 WL 2081483 at *1 (citing Carson and the proposition that the Eleventh Circuit has not addressed the issue). Absent statutory authority and a post- Kokkonen opinion from the Eleventh Circuit, this Court agrees with the analysis set forth by the First, Third, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits as well as the district courts in Tyler, Carson, and Paxton. Kokkonen effectively narrowed the scope of ancillary jurisdiction. Therefore, the court does not have ancillary jurisdiction to determine the issue of expungement.


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