Conley v. Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc.
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: Pla's claim is preempted by Section 301 and is removable. For these reasons, the Court hereby ORDERS that the Pla's Motion to Remand (DE 5 ) is DENIED. Signed by Judge Karen K. Caldwell on 4/20/12.(MJY)cc: COR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
SOUTHERN DIVISION at PIKEVILLE
CIVIL ACTION NO. 7:11-CV-00148-KKC
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
APPALACHAIN REGIONAL HEALTHCARE,
* * * * * * * * *
This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Remand (DE 5) filed by the
Plaintiff. For the following reasons, the motion will be denied.
The Plaintiff filed this action in Pike County Circuit Court. In his Complaint, he
alleges that he was employed by the Defendant as a Licensed Practical Nurse and that he
was also an official with the United Steel Workers, Local Union 14398 (the "Union").
He asserts that the Defendant fired him on or about September 9, 2008 and that he
filed a grievance regarding the termination which was arbitrated pursuant to the
Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between the Union and the Defendant. He
asserts that the arbitrator ordered that the Defendant reinstate him with full seniority but
that the Defendant failed to do so. He seeks past and future wages and punitive damages.
The Defendant removed the Plaintiff's action to this Court stating that this Court
has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the Labor Management
Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C.§ 141, et seq.
Section 301 of the LMRA provides that "[s]uits for violation of contracts between
an employer and a labor organization . . . 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." 29 U.S.C. 185(a).
The Supreme Court has determined that "the preemptive force of § 301 is so
powerful as to displace entirely any state cause of action ‘for violation of contracts
between an employer and a labor organization.’ Any such suit is purely a creature of
federal law, notwithstanding the fact that state law would provide a cause of action in the
absence of § 301.” Franchise Tax Board of Cal. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust
for Southern Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 23 (1983)(footnote omitted). Section 301 not only preempts state claims but also authorizes removal of actions that seek relief under state law.
Beneficial Nat. Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 7 (2003).
Thus, an action alleging a violation of a contract between an employer and a labor
organization as addressed in Section 301 is removable under this Court's federal-question
The Plaintiff claims that the Defendant has failed to abide by the arbitration
award. This is actually a claim that the Defendant breached the CBA. This is because it
is the CBA that obligates the Defendant to comply with the arbitrator's award. The CBA
provides that the award is "final, conclusive and binding" upon the parties. (DE 1, Notice
of Removal, Att. 2, CBA, p. 77, Art. 33, § J.) See City of Saginaw v. Service Employees
Intern. Union, Local 446-M, 720 F.2d 459, 461-62 (6th Cir. 1983)(action to enforce an
arbitration award "rendered pursuant to a collective bargaining-agreement 'arises under' §
301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185, and thus falls
within original federal-question jurisdiction. . . .")
Accordingly, the Plaintiff's claim is preempted by Section 301 and is removable.
For these reasons, the Court hereby ORDERS that the Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (DE
5) is DENIED.
Dated this 20th day of April, 2012.
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