Health Act ("OSHA"). Defendant insists that the LMRA, STAA, and
OSHA preempt plaintiff's state law claim, and original
jurisdiction of plaintiff's cause of action therefore lies in
federal court. Plaintiff timely filed this motion to remand.
A. Removal Jurisdiction
A suit can be removed to federal court under
28 U.S.C. § 1441(b) if "the district courts have original jurisdiction
founded on a claim or right arising under the Constitution,
treaties, or laws of the United States." A claim, however, cannot
be removed to federal court if the federal claim is only a
defense. See Harper v. San Diego Transit Corp., 764 F.2d 663,
666 (9th Cir. 1985). "Because preemption is ordinarily raised as
a defense, preemption alone is an insufficient basis for
removal." Id. If, however, federal law displaces state law and
confers a federal remedy on the plaintiff, removal may be
appropriate. See id.
Whether federal law displaces state law implicates the
"well-pleaded complaint rule." "A plaintiff may not . . . avoid
federal jurisdiction simply by omitting from the complaint
federal law essential to his claim, or by casting in state law
terms a claim that can be made only under federal law.
Jurisdiction is determined on the well-pleaded complaint."
Olguin v. Inspiration Consol. Copper Co., 740 F.2d 1468, 1472
(9th Cir. 1984), overruled on other grounds, Allis-Chalmers v.
Lueck, 471 U.S. 202, 105 S.Ct. 1904, 85 L.Ed.2d 206 (1985); see
also Parrino v. FHP, Inc., 146 F.3d 699, 704 (9th Cir.), cert.
denied, 525 U.S. 1001, 119 S.Ct. 510, 142 L.Ed.2d 423 (1998). In
other words, if a federal cause of action completely preempts a
state cause of action, any claim that falls within the scope of
the federal law necessarily implicates federal jurisdiction. See
Franchise Tax Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust,
463 U.S. 1, 24, 103 S.Ct. 2841, 77 L.Ed.2d 420 (1983).
Courts refer to complete preemption in the removal context as
the "artful pleading" doctrine. A plaintiff cannot "artfully
plead" a preemptive federal claim in state law terms to avoid
jurisdiction of the federal court. See Brennan v. Southwest
Airlines, Co., 134 F.3d 1405, 1409 (9th Cir. 1998); Hyles v.
Mensing, 849 F.2d 1213, 1215 (9th Cir. 1988). Claims falling
into the artful pleading category are the exception; plaintiff is
generally free to be the master of his complaint. See Clinton v.
Acequia, 94 F.3d 568, 571 (9th Cir. 1996). In fact, the Supreme
Court has largely limited a finding of complete preemption to two
federal statutes: the LMRA and the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1144(a) ("ERISA"). As Congress has
never exercised the authority to occupy the entire field of labor
law, the touchstone of federal preemption lies with the court's
examination of congressional intent. See Allis-Chalmers, 105
S.Ct. at 1910. If Congress fails to indicate the extent to which
it intends federal law to supplant state involvement, a court
generally will allow regulation by the states. See id. at
1909-10 & n. 4. This Court must therefore determine whether
plaintiff's complaint, alleging a single cause of action under
California tort law, is an artfully pled federal claim preempted
by either the LMRA, STAA, or OSHA.
B. The LMRA
Section 301 of the LMRA provides that "[s]uits for violation of
contracts between an employer and a labor organization
representing employees . . . may be brought in any district court
of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties."
29 U.S.C. § 185(a). The Supreme Court has concluded that in enacting
section 301, Congress intended federal principles of labor law to
prevail over inconsistent state principles. See Local 174,
Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers v. Lucas Flour
Co., 369 U.S. 95, 104, 82 S.Ct.
571, 7 L.Ed.2d 593 (1962) (emphasis added). After a litany of
litigation surrounding the preemptive effect of the LMRA, the
Court has instructed that all common law claims that require
interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement are
completely preempted by section 301 of the LMRA. See Lingle v.
Norge Div. of Magic Chef, Inc., 486 U.S. 399, 408, 410, 108
S.Ct. 1877, 100 L.Ed.2d 410 (1988).
Defendant argues that plaintiff's claim requires interpretation
of the collective bargaining agreement (the "CBA") entered into
between plaintiff, as a member of Teamsters Union Local 36, and
defendant, as the employer. Defendants cite Article IV, paragraph
T of the CBA, which it claims mandates preemption:
Safety: All approved safety orders of federal and
state regulatory agencies, including but not limited
to, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration
(M.S.H.A.) and the state or federal Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.), shall be
observed by the employer and employee. Any employee
found to be violating safety orders may be subject to
disciplinary action including discharge.
Defendant insists that this provision addresses a working
condition subject to bargaining, and the CBA must be interpreted
as part of plaintiff's claim. See Schlacter-Jones v. General