499 F.2d 1202 (8th Cir. 1974), 74-1018, Home Indem. Co. v. Moore

Docket Nº:74-1018.
Citation:499 F.2d 1202
Party Name:The HOME INDEMNITY COMPANY, Appellant, v. Claude MOORE et al., Appellees.
Case Date:June 13, 1974
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 1202

499 F.2d 1202 (8th Cir. 1974)

The HOME INDEMNITY COMPANY, Appellant,

v.

Claude MOORE et al., Appellees.

No. 74-1018.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

June 13, 1974

Submitted April 18, 1974.

Page 1203

Charles M. Bleil, Texarkana, Ark., for appellant.

Winford L. Dunn, Jr., Texarkana, Ark., for appellees.

Page 1204

Before MATTHES, Senior Circuit Judge, ROSS, Circuit Judge, and VAN PELT, [*] Senior District Judge.

MATTHES, Senior Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas dismissing an interpleader action filed by the Home Indemnity Company pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 22.

On July 9, 1971, Laurene Maxwell Moore, a citizen and resident of Miller County, Arkansas, was fatally injured in an automobile accident in Cass County, Texas, while engaged in the furtherance of the business of her employer, also a citizen of Arkansas. Subsequent to Mrs. Moore's death, workmen's compensation claims were filed with both the Arkansas and Texas workmen's compensation commissions.

On March 14, 1973, the Texas Industrial Accident Board entered a final award granting full death benefits to the survivors of Mrs. Moore; specifically, a lump sum of $8,187.67 to her husband, Claude Moore, and a lump sum for the same amount to the three minor children of Mrs. Moore, David, Michael, and Cynthia Maxwell. In addition, funeral expenses not to exceed $500 were approved. On April 4, 1973, the Arkansas Workmen's Compensation Commission awarded Cynthia and Michael Maxwell $19.50 per week, apparently until majority. Although funeral expenses in the amount of $750 were awarded also, neither Claude Moore nor David Maxwell received any benefits under the Arkansas award.

After initiating steps in the courts of the two states to appeal each award, Home Indemnity filed this interpleader suit, alleging that it was threatened with multiple liability and asking the district court to determine which of the two awards was enforceable against it. 1 The gist of the complaint by Home Indemnity was that due process and the full faith and credit clause protected Home Indemnity from liability on more than one of the state awards.

In response to a motion by the claimant-defendants, the district court dismissed the interpleader action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, citing the provision in 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c) barring removal from a state court to a federal court of a civil action arising under the workmen's compensation laws of that state. As an alternative ground for dismissal, the court observed that the parties could raise the very issues underlying the interpleader complaint in the respective state courts in the course of appealing the two workmen's compensation commission awards. Home Indemnity appeals the dismissal of the suit.

Initially, we consider whether the district court was correct in holding that it was without jurisdiction because of 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c). The Supreme Court in Horton v. Liberty...

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