Chapman v. Washington University in St. Louis
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff Robert G. Chapmans motion to remand the cause to the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri is DENIED. [Doc. 25]. Signed by District Judge Charles A. Shaw on 2/19/2013. (KSM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ROBERT G. CHAPMAN,
THE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY,
KENNETH KELLER and MARCIA
No. 4:12-CV-1892 CAS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This removed matter is before the Court on plaintiff Robert G. Chapman’s motion to remand
this action to the Circuit Court for the County of St. Louis, Missouri. Defendants oppose the motion.
For the following reasons, the Court will deny plaintiff’s motion.
As alleged in his original petition, plaintiff brings this employment action against defendant
The Washington University (“Washington University”) in five counts: constructive discharge (Count
I); wrongful discharge (Count II); retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201
et seq., (“FLSA”) (Count III); failure to pay overtime wages under state law (Count IV); and failure
to pay overtime wages under the FLSA (Count V).1
Washington University removed the action, stating in its notice of removal that the Court has
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441 because of the two counts arising
On December 14, 2012, while the motion to remand was pending in this Court, plaintiff
amended his complaint to add defendants Kenneth Keller and Marcia Mannen and to add Counts
VI and VII. The amended complaint realleges Counts III and V under the FLSA. It does not
change the original basis for federal jurisdiction. In removal cases, the district court reviews the
complaint or petition pending at the time of removal to determine the existence of jurisdiction.
St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283 (1938).
under federal law, namely the FLSA. Plaintiff moves to remand, stating that his state law claims
predominate this action. Plaintiff asks the Court to “exercise its discretion to decline supplemental
jurisdiction on [the state law] claims and to remand this entire action to state court.” Pl.’s Mot. to
Remand at 4.
The party invoking jurisdiction bears the burden of proof that all prerequisites to jurisdiction
are satisfied. Hatridge v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 415 F.2d 809, 814 (8th Cir. 1969). Removal
statutes are strictly construed, and any doubts about the propriety of removal are resolved in favor
of state court jurisdiction and remand. Transit Cas. Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of
London, 119 F.3d 619, 625 (8th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 1075 (1998).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, the district courts “have original jurisdiction of all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Under 28
U.S.C. § 1441, the removal statute, any civil action “brought in a State court of which the district
courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant . . ., to the
district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action
is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The propriety of removal to federal court depends on whether
the claim comes within the scope of the federal court’s subject matter jurisdiction. Id. “So the
question becomes whether the action as originally brought would have been within the District
Court’s federal-question jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, if it had been filed in a federal district
court in the first place.” Country Club Estates, L.L.C. v. Town of Loma Linda, 213 F.3d 1001, 1003
(8th Cir. 2000). Here the answer is yes, and the Court will deny plaintiff’s motion to remand.
Counts III and V of plaintiff’s complaint allege claims under the FLSA. These claims
expressly invoke the federal question jurisdiction of the Court by asserting claims for retaliation and
overtime pay under federal law. Where one federal claim is present in an action, the “entire case
was properly removed, and the district court was therefore without discretion to remand it.”
Williams v. Ragnone, 147 F.3d 700, 703 (8th Cir. 1998) (emphasis added).
The Supreme Court has held that FLSA claims are properly removed because the district
courts have original jurisdiction over FLSA claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. See Breuer v. Jim’s
Concrete of Brevard, Inc., 538 U.S. 691, 693-94 (2003). Eighth Circuit law is also settled. “[T]he
presence of even one federal claim gives the defendant the right to remove the entire case to federal
court.” Williams, 147 F.3d at 703 (quoting Gaming Corp. of Am. v. Dorsey & Whitney, 88 F.3d
536, 543 (8th Cir.1996)).
By raising claims that arise under federal law, plaintiff subjected himself to the possibility
that the defendant would remove the case to federal court. Williams, 147 F.3d at 703. Defendant
properly removed this case under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, and plaintiff’s motion to remand will be denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff Robert G. Chapman’s motion to remand the cause
to the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri is DENIED. [Doc. 25]
CHARLES A. SHAW
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 19th day of February, 2013.
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