United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. (Doc.
3.) Defendant filed suggestions opposing the motion. (Doc.
4.) Plaintiff did not file a reply, and the time for doing so
has now expired. For the reasons stated below,
Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is GRANTED.
filed this case in the Circuit Court of Greene County,
Missouri, alleging that he was unlawfully retaliated against
by Defendant, his employer, because he had complained about
harassment based on his disability. (Doc. 1-1 at 8-9.)
Subsequently, Defendant removed the case to this Court. (Doc.
1.) Defendant's Notice of Removal asserts that this Court
has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331
and 1343(a), because “Plaintiff raises claims of
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 12101, et seq.” (“ADA”), and the
Court has pendent jurisdiction of Plaintiff's state-law
claims because they “arise out of the same acts and
events that give rise to Plaintiff's federal
action may be removed to federal court if it falls within the
original jurisdiction of the district court, and federal
district courts have original jurisdiction over civil cases
arising under federal law. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,
1441(a). If the case does not fall within the district
court's original jurisdiction, the court must remand the
case to the state court from which is was removed. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c). A party seeking removal and opposing remand
carries the burden of establishing federal subject-matter
jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. In re
Prempro Prods. Liab. Litig., 591 F.3d 613, 620 (8th Cir.
2010). Furthermore, any doubts about the propriety of removal
should be resolved in favor of remand. In re Bus.
Men's Assurance Co. of Am., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th
Cir. 1993) (per curiam).
the parties dispute whether Plaintiff asserts a claim under
the ADA. The first paragraph of Plaintiff's two-page
Petition states, “This cause of action is brought
pursuant to R.S.Mo. § 213.111.” This section of
the Revised Statutes of Missouri provides the right to civil
actions for violations of the Missouri Human Rights Act.
Thus, Plaintiff argues “the Petition explicitly states
that Plaintiff's cause of action arises under the
Missouri Human Rights Act and not under any Federal
law.” Defendant argues that despite the initial
paragraph, Plaintiff asserts an ADA claim because (1)
Plaintiff's factual allegations cover the elements of an
ADA claim; (2) the Petition references the ADA; and (3) the
Petition references the fact that Plaintiff's charge of
discrimination was filed with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) in addition to
the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”).
Court finds that Plaintiff's Petition, which begins,
“[t]his cause of action is brought pursuant to R.S.Mo.
§ 213.111, ” does not state a claim that arises
under federal law. See Zampitella v. Walgreens Co.,
2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87224, at *8 (E.D. Mo. July 6, 2016)
(holding that, despite references to federal statutes in the
complaint, plaintiff's claims did not arise under federal
law where the first paragraph of the complaint states that
the case arises under the Missouri Human Rights Act).
Defendant's first argument holds no weight because the
factual allegations, which may lead to a cause of action
under the ADA, also lead to a cause of action under the
Missouri Human Rights Act. Horner v. City of Lee's
Summit, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120890, at *4 (W.D. Mo.
Dec. 29, 2009) (“plaintiff is the master of his claim
and may avoid federal removal jurisdiction by exclusive
reliance on state law”). Next, the Court finds that
Plaintiff's single reference to the ADA -
“[Plaintiff's] condition constitutes a
‘disability' under the Missouri Human Rights Act
and Americans with Disabilities Act” - is insufficient
to establish jurisdiction viewed in light of the whole
Petition. Cross v. Children's Place Retail Stores,
Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67629, at *6 (E.D. Mo. May
26, 2015) (“Mere references to federal statutes do not
amount to asserting a federal claim.”) (citations
omitted). Finally, the reference to the EEOC is not enough to
establish federal jurisdiction. See Cross, 2015 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 67629, at *6-7 (explaining the “worksharing
agreement” between the MCHR and the EEOC under which
“a Missouri plaintiff may satisfy the requirement that
he exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit in
federal or state court by filing a charge of discrimination
with either the MHRC or the EEOC after which one or the other
agency will respond[, ]” and therefore, holding that
“references to the EEOC merely demonstrate that [the
plaintiff] has exhausted his administrative remedies”
and do not assert a federal cause of action).
because Plaintiff's claims do not arise under federal law
and there is no basis for finding jurisdiction based on
diversity of citizenship, the Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction over this action.
IT IS ORDRED that Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (doc. 3)
FURTHER ORDERED that this case is REMANDED
to the Circuit Court of Greene County, Missouri.
 For clarity, the Court notes that the
Petition states a charge and a later amendment were filed
“with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights”
(“MCHR”) (Doc. 1-1 at ¶¶ 17, 20.) The
charge and amendment were attached to the Petition and
incorporated by reference. (Id.) On both the charge
and amendment, Plaintiff had checked a box that said,