CARMEN D. BURGOS-YANTÍN, Plaintiff, Appellee,
MUNICIPALITY OF JUANA DÍAZ, et al., Defendants, Appellants.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
PUERTO RICO [Hon. Silvia Carreño-Coll, U.S. Magistrate
Martínez-Luciano, with whom Emil
Rodríguez-Escudero and Martínez-Luciano &
Rodríguez-Escudero Law Office were on brief, for
José R. Olmo-Rodríguez for appellee.
Margarita L. Mercado Echegaray, Solicitor General, and Susana
I. Peñagarícano-Brown, Assistant Solicitor
General, Department of Justice, on brief for the Commonwealth
of Puerto Rico, amicus curiae.
Howard, Chief Judge, Torruella and Lipez, Circuit Judges.
appeal arises from the district court's exercise of
ancillary jurisdiction to enforce a resolution, issued by the
Puerto Rico Secretary of Justice, directing the Municipality
of Juana Díaz to indemnify two municipal police
officers found liable under Puerto Rico tort law after a
federal jury trial for using excessive force resulting in a
death. The Municipality argues that the district court's
order stretched federal ancillary enforcement jurisdiction
beyond its proper bounds. We disagree and therefore affirm.
and other family members filed this action after the shooting
death of their relative, Miguel Ángel-Burgos, at the
hands of the police. They brought federal claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and negligence claims under Puerto
Rico's general tort statute, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 31,
§ 5141. The complaint initially named the Municipality
of Juana Díaz (the "Municipality"), its
mayor, and several municipal police officers as defendants.
In 2009, however, the district court granted summary judgment
on the issue of municipal liability and dismissed the
Municipality from the case. Almost a year later, the court
held a jury trial for the remaining defendants. The jury
rejected plaintiffs' § 1983 claims, as well as most
of their tort law claims. It did, however, return a verdict
for Carmen Burgos-Yantín
("Burgos-Yantín"), the decedent's
mother, with respect to her negligence claims against two
municipal police officers in their personal capacities. The
district court entered judgment against the two officers for
$25, 000 and $5, 000, respectively.
December 2012, Burgos-Yantín filed a Motion for
Execution of Judgment  asserting that the Municipality was
"responsible for the payment of the Judgment"
against its officers by operation of a Puerto Rico statute
commonly referred to as "Law 9." See P.R.
Laws Ann. tit. 32, §§ 3085-3092. Law 9 permits
Commonwealth and municipal officials sued in their personal
capacities for alleged civil rights violations to ask the
Commonwealth to "assume the payment of any
judgment" so long as they acted "in good
faith." Id. § 3085. With respect to
municipal officials, judgments must be "defrayed from
available funds in the corresponding . . .
municipality." Id. § 3092. The Puerto Rico
Secretary of Justice (the "Secretary") is charged
with determining whether payment is due under Law 9.
Id. § 3087. Here, the parties agree that the
Secretary issued a resolution in April 2011 requiring the
Municipality to pay the judgments against the individual
Municipality opposed the Motion for Execution of Judgment,
arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction to
enforce the Secretary's resolution. The district court
rejected this argument, holding that it had "ancillary
enforcement jurisdiction" and inviting
Burgos-Yantín to move for a writ of execution against
the Municipality. Burgos-Yantin v. Municipality of Juana
Diaz, No. 07-1146(JA), 2013 WL 435203, at *2-4 (D.P.R.
Jan. 2, 2013). Burgos-Yantín subsequently filed a
motion requesting "the garnishment, attach[ment], or
restraining of the Municipality of Juana Diaz's assets
and properties." The district court granted that motion.
Burgos-Yantin v. Municipality of Juana Díaz,
No. 07-1146(SCC), 2014 WL 1096016, at *3 (D.P.R. Mar. 19,
2014). The Municipality now appeals the district court's
case turns on the district court's jurisdiction (or lack
thereof) to enforce the Secretary's Law 9 resolution
against the Municipality. A district court may exercise
ancillary jurisdiction for two reasons: "(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." Peacock v. Thomas, 516 U.S. 349, 354
(1996) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.,
511 U.S. 375, 379-80 (1994)). Here, the district court relied
on the second rationale, i.e., ancillary enforcement
jurisdiction is "a creature of necessity," which
grants a federal court the "inherent power to enforce
its judgments." Id. at 356, 359; see also
U.S.I. Props. Corp. v. M.D. Constr. Co., 230 F.3d 489,
496 (1st Cir. 2000) ("The jurisdiction of a Court is not
exhausted by the rendition of its judgment, but continues
until that judgment shall be satisfied." (quoting
Wayman v. Southard, 23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 1, 23 (1825)
(alteration omitted))). But the scope of ancillary
enforcement jurisdiction is limited by its purpose. Such
jurisdiction does not exist "where the relief [sought
is] of a different kind or on a different principle than that
of the prior decree." Peacock, 516 U.S. at 358
(internal quotation marks omitted) (alteration in original).
Likewise, ancillary enforcement jurisdiction is inapt when a
party seeks "to impose an obligation to pay an existing
federal judgment on a person not already liable for that
judgment." Id. at 357.
appeal, the Municipality argues that
Burgos-Yantín's Motion for Execution of Judgment
does not fall within the district court's ancillary
enforcement jurisdiction because the motion seeks to impose a
new obligation on the Municipality to pay the "existing
federal judgment" against the two police officers. The
Municipality also rejects the validity of the Secretary's
Law 9 resolution and, consequently, the indemnification
obligation it purports to impose on the Municipality.
Burgos-Yantín counters that the resolution is valid
and enforceable. Accordingly, she argues, her motion is an
appropriate procedural mechanism for enforcing the ...