United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Tony Cook's
Motion to Remand. (ECF No. 10) Defendants SAF-Holland, Inc.
and Mary C. Brown filed a Memorandum in Opposition. (ECF No.
13) Plaintiff did not file a reply memorandum within the time
set by this district's local rules, and the time to do so
has since passed. E.D.Mo. L.R. 4.01(C). After careful
consideration, the Court denies the motion.
Tony Cook originally filed this case in the Circuit Court of
Warren County, alleging he was terminated by Defendant
SAF-Holland, Inc. with participation by its human resource
administrator, Mary C. Brown (collectively referred to as
"Defendants"), in violation of the Missouri Human
Rights Act (MHRA). (Pet., ECF No. 2) Plaintiff alleges
Defendants failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for
his disability and that his disability was a contributing
factor in Defendants' decision to terminate him.
(Id. at ¶ 24-25)
December 16, 2018, Defendants removed the case to federal
court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441(a).
(ECF No. 1) During his employment, Plaintiff was represented
by a labor union that had a collective bargaining agreement
("CBA") with SAF-Holland, Inc. (Id. at
¶¶ 7-8) According to Defendants, Plaintiffs 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. Plaintiff disagrees and has filed the instant Motion
to Remand. (ECFNo. 10)
February 4, 2019, the Court granted the parties' Joint
Motion to Stay Rule 16 Conference and stated it would
reschedule the Rule 16 Conference, if necessary, and order
the parties to submit an amended joint proposed scheduling
plan after it ruled on the motion to remand.
may remove an action to federal court only if it could have
been brought in federal court originally. Junk v.
Terminix Int'l Co, 628 F.3d 439, 444 (8th Cir. 2010)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)-(b)). In removal cases, the
Court reviews the state court petition and the notice of
removal in order to determine whether it has jurisdiction.
Branch v. Wheaton Van Lines, Inc., No. 4:14CV01735
AGF, 2014 WL 6461372, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 17, 2014).
"Where the defendant seeks to invoke federal
jurisdiction through removal, ... it bears the burden of
proving that the jurisdictional threshold is satisfied."
Bell v. Hershey Co., 557 F.3d 953, 956 (8th Cir.
2009). "[A] case is ordinarily not removable on federal
question grounds unless the federal question is presented on
the face of the plaintiffs complaint." Kaufman v.
Boone Ctr., Inc., No. 4:11CV286 CDP, 2011 WL 1564052, at
*1 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 25, 2011). A plaintiff may move to remand
the case if the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. Junk, 628 F.3d at 444 (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c)). District courts are to resolve all
doubts regarding federal jurisdiction in favor of remand.
Hubbard v. Federated Mut. Ins. Co., 799 F.3d 1224,
1227 (8th Cir. 2015).
argue Plaintiffs claim is preempted by the LMRA because
resolution of his claim depends on interpretation of the CBA
regarding its provisions on "attendance" and
"leaves of absence." (Notice of Removal ]j 36, ECF
No. 1) To determine whether Plaintiffs 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 F.App'x 525, 526-27 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing
Lingle v. Norge Div. of Magic Chef, Inc., 486 U.S.
399, 405-06 (1988) (holding there is no preemption unless
state-law claim itself is based on, or is dependent on
analysis of, a relevant CBA); Allis-Chalmers Corp. v.
Lueck, 471 U.S. 202, 213 (1985) (holding that if state
law claim is based on CBA or is "inextricably
intertwined" with contents of a CBA, claim is subject to
§ 301 preemption)).
argue this case is similar to Davis v. Johnson Controls,
Inc., 21 F.3d 866 (8th Cir. 1994). In that case, the
plaintiff was terminated after he injured his back and was
unable to work. Id. at 867. After his back improved,
his employer refused to allow him to return. Id. The
plaintiff brought a disability discrimination claim under the
MHRA. Id. The employer argued the MHRA claim was
preempted by the LMRA because his prima facie case involved
interpreting the CBA between the employer and the plaintiffs
union. Id. at 868. The employer contended that its
assessment as to whether it could have reasonably
accommodated the plaintiffs disability required
"reviewing [the employer'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 the plaintiff 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.
argues Davis has been distinguished by a more recent
Eighth Circuit case. In Markham v. Wertin, 861 F.3d
748, 751-52 (8th Cir. 2017), the Eighth Circuit reversed a
district court's determination that a plaintiffs claims
under the MHRA were completely preempted by the
LMRA. The Eighth Circuit explicitly rejected the
defendants' reliance on Davis, noting that
Davis was originally a federal case and, thus, did
not address complete preemption in the context of removed
actions. Id. at 757. Markham, however, is
not as revolutionary as Plaintiff seems to characterize.
reiterated that the Eighth Circuit has repeatedly said
"the claim must require the interpretation of some
specific provision of a CBA; it is not enough that
the events in question took place in the workplace or that a
CBA creates rights and duties similar or identical to those
on which the state-law claim is based." 861 F.3d at 755
(emphasis added) (quoting Meyer v. Schnucks Markets,
Inc.,163 F.3d 1048, 1051 (8th Cir. 1998)). In
Markham, an apprentice sued his union and program
supervisor for discrimination under the MHRA. He alleged he
was removed from the program because he was disabled and in
retaliation for having requested accommodation. Id.
The Eighth Circuit held that the plaintiffs discrimination
claims under the MHRA were not completely preempted by the