United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, St. Joseph Division
Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. United States District Judge.
pending before the Court is plaintiff's Motion to Remand
(Doc. No. 10).
plaintiff's Petition (“Petition”), plaintiff
alleges that after suffering from a medical disability,
plaintiff was treated differently from other similarly
situated employees in that he was forced to submit to a more
stringent medical review, was given different work at a
reduced wage, had his insurance terminated, and failed to
receive other monetary awards. Doc. No. 1-3, ¶¶
April 7, 2016, plaintiff filed his Petition in state court.
In that petition, plaintiff asserts one claim for disability
discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act. Doc.
Id. ¶¶ 28-37. Plaintiff seeks compensatory
damages related to lost wages and benefits, emotional pain
and suffering, future lost wages and benefits and punitive
damages. Id. ¶¶ 36-37.
16, 2016, defendants removed the case to this Court, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441 asserting that
plaintiff's claim is preempted by § 301 of the Labor
Management Relations Act (LMRA) and ERISA. Plaintiff filed
the pending motion to remand on June 29, 2016.
motion for remand will be granted if the district court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The
removing defendant bears the burden of showing that federal
subject matter jurisdiction exists. Hale v. Cottrell,
Inc., No. 11-CV-01273-SOW, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189735,
*3 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 17, 2012). Any doubts about federal
jurisdiction should be resolved in favor of state court
jurisdiction. Id. Federal jurisdiction only exists
“when a federal question is presented on the face of
the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint” or when
a federal statute “preempt[s] a field of law so
completely that state law claims are considered to be
converted into federal causes of action.” Id.
at *4 (quoting Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482
U.S. 386, 392 (1997) and Gaming Corp. of Am. v. Dorsey
& Whitney, 88 F.3d 536, 543 (8th Cir.
301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act provides:
Suits for violation of contracts between an employer and a
labor organization representing employees in an industry
affecting commerce as defined in this [Act], or between any
such labor organizations, may be brought in any district
court of the United States having jurisdiction of the
parties, without respect to the amount in controversy or
without regard to the citizenship of the parties.
28 U.S.C. § 185. This section completely preempts state
law claims against employers when the claims are (1) based on
duties created by a collective bargaining agreement or (2)
require interpretation or application of a collective
bargaining agreement. Hale at *5. See also
Williams v. Nat'l Football League, 582 F.3d 863,
881 (8th Cir. 2009), Bogan v. GMC, 500
F.3d 828, 832 (8th Cir. 2007) and
Caterpillar, 482 U.S. 386 at 394. The fact that a
collective bargaining agreement may “have to be
consulted during the course of state law litigation” is
not enough to completely preempt a plaintiff's state law
claim. Hale at *6 (citing Livadas v.
Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 124 (1994)). The claim must be
“substantially dependent upon analysis of the terms of
an agreement made between the parties in a labor
contract.” Dailey v. Southside Mach. Works,
Inc., No. 4:11-CV-1565 CAS, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
143032, *7 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 13, 2011).
argues that this case should be remanded because
plaintiff's claim arises solely under the MHRA.
Additionally, he asserts that his state court Petition does
not reference the collective bargaining agreement and does
not allege any violations of the agreement itself or that
defendants violated ERISA in any way and therefore requires
no interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement.
response, defendants argue that because plaintiff's
complaint under the MHRA references defendant's return to
work policy, the recertification physical, a union grievance,
defendant's seniority system, and the alleged termination
of insurance and employee benefits, plaintiff's claim
requires the interpretation of the collective bargaining
agreement and is therefore preempted by § 301 of the
LMRA. Defendants rely on the Eighth Circuit's decision in
Davis v. Johnson Controls, 21 F.3d 866
(8th Cir. 1994). In Davis, the Court held
that plaintiff's MHRA claim was preempted by § 301
of the LMRA because Davis's failure to accommodate claim
under the MHRA was directly related to his supervisor's
authority under the parties' collective bargaining
agreement to make accommodations. In that way, it can be said
that resolution of ...