We do not suggest that financial gain is a separate and distinct test. It is an important element in the mix of information to be considered in determining whether a mutually dependent relationship exists between two parties so that the behavior of one may be attributed to the other. Long's amended complaint falls short of stating a claim for constitutional violations under the symbiotic relationship test because it does not set forth sufficient facts which would allow us to fairly attribute the conduct of the NFL and the Steelers to the state. The business association alleged between the parties is simply too attenuated to attribute the conduct of which plaintiff complains to the state. Further, we disagree that the Steelers' use of the stadium establishes such a relationship. In Burton, the restaurant was the sole occupant of the space provided in the public parking facility. Here, the stadium hosts a variety of events, including baseball games and musical concerts.
The Supreme Court has also considered whether the state has exerted control or influence over the private entity in determining whether a symbiotic relationship exists. In Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991 (1982), the petitioners argued that the state's subsidization of nursing home costs, the payment of the medical expenses of more than 90% of the patients, and the licensing of the nursing homes made the state a virtual joint participant with the nursing homes within the meaning of Burton. The Supreme Court looked to the state's lack of "responsibility" over the decision of the nursing home authorities to transfer the petitioners to a lower level of care and concluded that no "state action" had occurred. Plaintiff here has also failed to allege facts which would support a cause of action based on the state's influence over the policy or decisions of the NFL or the Steelers. The facts alleged do not support such an inference. Again, even if plaintiff proves the allegations in the amended complaint, they do not meet the standard set forth in Burton.
The Supreme Court has created a second test to determine whether conduct may fairly be attributed to the state. Unlike the symbiotic relationship test which looks at the overall relationship among the parties, the close nexus test attempts to determine whether the state may be deemed responsible for the specific conduct of which the plaintiff complains. Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. at 1004. Under this test, the complaining party must show a sufficiently close nexus between the state and the challenged action to establish state action. See Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345 (1974). A state normally is not responsible for a private decision unless it has exercised coercive power or has provided such significant encouragement, either overt or covert, that the choice must be deemed that of the state. Id. at 1004.
Plaintiff alleges that the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Masloff and the Stadium Authority each "acquiesced and/or consented to, supported and upheld the conduct of the other defendants complained of herein." Defendants correctly assert that acquiescence or indirect involvement is not enough to show the requisite state action. See Community Medical Center, 712 F.2d at 881. We hold that plaintiff's allegations do not meet the standard of the nexus test. Nothing in the amended complaint suggests that either the City, the Mayor or the Stadium Authority formulated the standards or controlled the decisions of the NFL or the Steelers. A close review of the amended complaint reveals that plaintiff was suspended based on independent medical conclusions and policy objectives of the National Football League, neither of which were influenced by the state. See e.g. Blum, 457 U.S. at 1005. Plaintiff fails to allege that the state in any way influenced or implemented the substance abuse policies adopted by the NFL by which plaintiff was suspended. We will dismiss Counts I and II of plaintiff's amended complaint alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments because plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts which would allow us to fairly attribute the conduct of the private parties to the state.
Next, defendants contend that plaintiff's state law claims should be dismissed because this court lacks independent subject matter jurisdiction. A court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. A district court may decline to exercise jurisdiction if it has dismissed all other claims over which it had original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c); Growth Horizons, Inc. v. Delaware County, 983 F.2d 1277, 1284 (1993). "In making its determination, the district court should take into account generally accepted principles of 'judicial economy, convenience, and fairness to the litigants'." Id., quoting United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966). Where, as here, the federal claims have been dismissed on the pleadings, the factors delineated in Gibbs favor dismissal. For example, since we have dismissed the federal claims early in the proceedings, we have not invested a great deal of time in the case and, therefore, judicial economy warrants dismissing the state law claims. See e.g. Carnegie-Mellon University v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 n.7. (1988). Further, according to the amended complaint, plaintiff and many of the defendants are in Pennsylvania, and it would not be more convenient for either party to litigate in federal court.
Plaintiff argues that principles of fairness dictate that we should retain jurisdiction because his claims may be barred in state court by the statute of limitations. However, Pennsylvania law provides a plaintiff may effect transfer of an action that has been dismissed by a federal court for lack of jurisdiction. 42 Pa.C.S.A § 5103(b). The statute of limitations for state law claims is tolled if a timely action has been filed in a federal court and dismissed. See, Weaver v. Marine Bank, 683 F.2d 744 (3rd Cir. 1982). Because we will dismiss plaintiff's federal claims at an early stage in the litigation, the parties are not inconvenienced by litigating in state court and fairness weighs in favor of transferring jurisdiction to state court. Plaintiff's state law claims will be dismissed without prejudice. An appropriate order will follow.
Dated: November 22, 1994
Donald E. Ziegler
AND NOW, this 22nd of November, 1994, after consideration of the submissions of the parties,
IT IS ORDERED that the motions of defendants, The National Football League, Paul Tagliabue, Pittsburgh Steelers Sports, Inc., The City of Pittsburgh, Sophie Masloff and the Stadium Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, to dismiss Counts I and II of the Amended Complaint (document numbers 13, 15 and 16), be and hereby are granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Counts III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX of plaintiff's amended complaint be and hereby are dismissed without prejudice.
Donald E. Ziegler