United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion to Remand
(ECF No. 14). This matter is fully briefed and ready for
statutes are strictly construed, and any doubts about the
correctness of removal are resolved in favor of state court
jurisdiction and remand. See Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp.
v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941); In re Bus.
Men's Assurance Co. of Am., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th
Cir. 1993); Manning v. Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc.,
304 F.Supp.2d 1146, 1148 (E.D. Mo. 2004) (citing Transit
Cas. Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of
London, 119 F.3d 619, 625 (8th Cir. 1997)). The party
seeking removal and opposing remand has the burden of
establishing jurisdiction. Cent. Iowa Power Coop. v.
Midwest Indep. Transmission Sys. Operator, 561 F.3d 904,
912 (8th Cir. 2009); City of Univ. City, Missouri v. AT
& T Wireless Services, Inc., 229 F.Supp.2d 927, 929
(E.D. Mo. 2002).
action brought in state court may be removed to the proper
district court if the district court has original
jurisdiction of the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal
district courts have original jurisdiction in all civil
actions between citizens of different states if the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.00, exclusive of interest and
costs. Manning, 304 F.Supp.2d at 1148 (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1)).
Derrick Campbell ("Plaintiff or "Campbell")
originally filed this case in the Circuit Court of St. Louis
County, alleging that he was terminated by Defendant
Challenge Manufacturing Company, LLC in violation of Section
287.780, R.S. Mo. in retaliation for exercising his
worker's compensation rights. (Petition, ECF No. 6).
Campbell alleges that he worked as a temporary employee and
then as a full-time, unionized employee (Petition, ¶3).
Campbell asserts he was terminated because he exceeded the
allowed number of absences. (Petition, ¶5). Campbell
claims that his absences were mere pretext for
Challenge's decision to terminate him for filing his
worker's compensation claim. (Petition, ¶6).
January 19, 2018, Challenge removed this action to federal
court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1331, 1367, 1441, and
1446. (ECF No. 1). Challenge claims that Campbell's state
law claims are completely preempted under Section 301 of the
Labor Relations Management Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C.
§ 185(a) and give rise to federal question jurisdiction
in this Court. (ECF No. 1, ¶10).
Preemption under the Labor Management Relations Act
stated, Challenge removed this action, arguing that
Campbell's suit was preempted by the LMRA, because
resolution of Campbell's claim depends on interpretation
of the collective bargaining agreement ("CBA")
regarding attendance. To determine whether Campbell's
claim is preempted, the Court must evaluate whether
interpretation of a specific provision of the CBA is
required, or if the claim is inextricably intertwined with
the CBA. Dunn v. Astaris, LLC, 292 Fed.Appx. 525,
526-27 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Lingle v. Norge Div. of
Magic Chef, Inc., 486 U.S. 399, 405-06, 410, 108 S.Ct.
1877, 100 L.Ed.2d 410 (1988) (there is no preemption unless
state-law claim itself is based on, or is dependent on
analysis of, relevant CBA); Allis-Chalmers Corp. v.
Lueck, 471 U.S. 202, 213, 105 S.Ct. 1904, 85 L.Ed.2d 206
(1985) (if state law claim is based on CBA or is
"inextricably intertwined" with contents of CBA,
claim is subject to § 301 preemption).
Court's analysis begins with what Campbell must prove to
be successful. "[T]o make a submissible case for
retaliatory discharge under section 287.780, an employee must
demonstrate his or her filing of a workers' compensation
claim was a 'contributing factor' to the
employer's discrimination or the employee's
discharge." Templemire v. W & M Welding,
Inc., 433 S.W.3d 371, 373 (Mo. 2014).
claims that Campbell's lawsuit is preempted because
"the fact finder [must] interpret his
collective-bargaining agreement, decide whether [Defendant]
violated or followed the section about absences, and then
conclude whether any deviation from the CBA proves
retaliation." (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1, ¶12).
Challenge argues that this Court must look at the attendance
section of the CBA to determine which absences Challenge was
allowed to count under the contract. Challenge argues that
this case is similar to that Davis v. Johnson Controls,
Inc., 21 F.3d 866 (8th Cir. 1994). (ECF No. 15 at 4). In
that case, plaintiff Larry Davis was terminated for after he
injured his back and was unable to work. Id. at 867.
After Davis's back improved, Johnson refused to allow
Davis to return. Id. Davis brought a disability
discrimination claim under the Missouri Human Rights Act
("MHRA") against Johnson Controls, Inc.
("Johnson"). Id. Johnson argued that
Davis's claim was preempted because his prima facie case
involved interpreting the CBA between Johnson and the union
representing Johnson's employees. Id., at 868.
Johnson contended that its assessment as to whether it could
have reasonably accommodated Davis's disability required
"reviewing Johnson's obligations under the
collective-bargaining agreement and, consequently,
interpreting the provisions of the agreement relating to
seniority rights." Id., at 868. The Eighth
Circuit found that, even if Davis was correct that the CBA
allowed for transfer without alteration of seniority rights,
then his claims would "perforce require interpretation
of the agreement" and, therefore, his claim was
preempted. Id. Thus, in the Davis case,
reasonable accommodation was central to a discrimination
claim under the MHRA.
by the Eighth Circuit, the Court holds that Campbell's
action for wrongful termination based upon a worker's
compensation claim is not completely preempted by the LMRA
and therefore this Court does not have removal jurisdiction.
See Humphrey v. Sequentia, Inc.,58 F.3d 1238, 1244
(8th Cir. 1995). The present controversy primarily concerns
the conduct of the parties and their motivation for
Campbell's termination. Id. Campbell alleges
that Defendant's reason for terminating Campbell's
employment was pretextual to "hide the fact that the
filing of the worker's compensation claim was a
contributing factor in Defendant's decision to retaliate
against Plaintiff by terminating his employment."
(Petition, ECF No. 6, ¶6). "[P]urely factual
questions' about an employee's conduct or an
employer's conduct and motives do not 'requir[e] a
court to interpret any term of a collective ...