Upon McCann's return to work on August 6, 1990, her supervisor, Vern Organ, ordered her to leave the premises and not to return until she was treated by a psychiatrist. Much of this exchange was observed by McCann's coworkers.
To date, McCann remains employed by Alaska in the same position.
On October 22, 1990, McCann commenced this action in Alameda County Superior Court, naming Alaska, Partridge, and 20 Does as defendants, and alleging state law claims for: (1) false imprisonment; (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (3) assault; (4) slander; and (5) conspiracy.
On November 6, 1990, Alaska removed to federal court, claiming that the state law claims are preempted by the RLA.
The defendant now moves for dismissal of the action, on the ground that even if the above facts are true, the plaintiff's state law claims are preempted by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). The defendant argues that the RLA establishes an elaborate arbitration scheme which is to be the sole mechanism for the resolution of all employer-employee disputes, with a small number of narrowly-defined exceptions. In the alternative, the defendant argues that the matters raised by the plaintiff are at least "arguably" governed by the collective bargaining agreement. In either case, the defendant argues that the plaintiff's only recourse is to the RLA arbitration procedures, and that this Court is therefore without jurisdiction to hear the case, and must consequently grant the motion to dismiss.
The plaintiff has moved for remand on the ground that the state law claims are not preempted by the RLA, and that the action was therefore improperly removed. The plaintiff argues that the RLA preempts only those matters which are governed by the CBA, and that there is nothing in the CBA which even arguably governs the type of behavior here at issue. In the alternative, the plaintiff argues that even if the action involves conduct arguably governed by the RLA, the conduct at issue falls into the "outrageous conduct" exception to RLA preemption.
The plaintiff moves also for attorney fees in the case that we grant the motion for remand.
A motion to remand is granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) "if at any time before final judgment it appears that the case was removed improvidently and without jurisdiction . . . ."
The leading case in this jurisdiction on RLA preemption of state law claims is Magnuson v. Burlington Northern, Inc., 576 F.2d 1367 (9th Cir. 1978). Under the Magnuson rule, a state law claim is preempted if it "is based on a matrix of facts which are inextricably intertwined with the grievance machinery of the collective bargaining agreement and of the R.L.A." Id. at 1369.
The Court is without jurisdiction over a preempted matter, and the plaintiff must resort to the RLA arbitration procedures.
The Magnuson court states that a dispute is "minor," and is therefore preempted if it is "'arguably' governed by the collective bargaining agreement or has a 'not obviously insubstantial' relationship to the labor contract." Id. at 1369-70. This standard has been repeatedly followed in our Circuit. See, DeTomaso v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 43 Cal. 3d 517, 527-529, 235 Cal. Rptr. 292, 298-99, 733 P.2d 614 (1987) and cases cited. "Minor dispute" is a legal term of art which has no relation to the triviality of a disagreement. A dispute between an employee and an RLA employer is "minor" if it can be resolved solely on the basis of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Consolidated Rail Corp. v. Railway Labor Execs'., 491 U.S. 299, 109 S. Ct. 2477, 105 L. Ed. 2d 250 (1989). A minor dispute is always completely preempted, and is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the arbitration machinery established under the RLA. Air Line Pilots Ass'n v. Eastern Air Lines, 274 U.S. App. D.C. 202, 863 F.2d 891 (D.C.Cir. 1988).
An exception to RLA preemption which derives from NLRA preemption doctrine is recognized in this Circuit. The Magnuson court relied on the NLRA case of Farmer v. United Broth. of C. & J. of America, Local 25, 430 U.S. 290, 97 S. Ct. 1056, 51 L. Ed. 2d 338 (1977), to hold that an exception to federal preemption exists for "outrageous conduct," especially when the "conduct was a merely peripheral concern of federal law," and when the conduct affects "interests which were deeply rooted in local feelings and responsibility." Magnuson at 1369; see also, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. Buell, 480 U.S. 557, 566, n. 13, 94 L. Ed. 2d 563, 107 S. Ct. 1410 (1987). This exception was applied by this court in Balzeit v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co., 569 F. Supp. 986 (N.D.Cal. 1983).
Section 1447(d) provides that "an order remanding a case to the State court from which it was removed is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise." See, Kunzi v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 833 F.2d 1291 (9th Cir. 1987).
We find that the state claims are not preempted and therefore order the case remanded back to state court on two independent grounds: (1) the resolution of the state law claims is not "inextricably intertwined" with the grievance machinery of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA); (2) the state claims are based upon "outrageous conduct" of "merely peripheral concern to federal law," and the conduct affects "interests which were deeply rooted in local feelings and responsibility."
1. State law claims are not inextricably intertwined with the CBA.
Federal law preemption of state law claims is a delicate matter, giving "rise to difficult problems of federal-state relations." San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 239, 79 S. Ct. 773, 776, 3 L. Ed. 2d 775 (1959). Preemption forecloses to the plaintiff remedies which the state legislature and courts have decided to make available to citizens of the state, and forces "state regulation [to] yield to subordinating federal authority . . . ." Id. at 241. Federal courts take such extraordinary action only for the compelling purpose of safeguarding federal policies from potential interference or conflict with state action. The Supreme Court stated in the leading case involving the closely related issue of federal labor law preemption of state claims under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA):
When it is clear or may fairly be assumed that the activities which a State purports to regulate are protected by § 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, or constitute an unfair labor practice under § 8, due regard for the federal enactment requires that state jurisdiction must yield. To leave the States free to regulate conduct so plainly within the central aim of federal regulation involves too great a danger of conflict between power asserted by Congress and requirements imposed by state law. San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S. Ct. 773, 779, 3 L. Ed. 2d 775 (1959).