Ackison v. Detroit Edison Co., No. 90-CV-71503-DT.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
Writing for the CourtFrederic E. Champnella, The Detroit Edison Co., Detroit, Mich., for defendant
Citation751 F. Supp. 1245
PartiesGary ACKISON and Carolyn Ackison, Plaintiffs, v. The DETROIT EDISON COMPANY, Defendant.
Decision Date31 October 1990
Docket NumberNo. 90-CV-71503-DT.

751 F. Supp. 1245

Gary ACKISON and Carolyn Ackison, Plaintiffs,
v.
The DETROIT EDISON COMPANY, Defendant.

No. 90-CV-71503-DT.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, S.D.

October 31, 1990.


Anthony A. Muraski, Ann Arbor, Mich., for plaintiffs.

Frederic E. Champnella, The Detroit Edison Co., Detroit, Mich., for defendant.

OPINION

DUGGAN, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's1 Motion to Remand. Defendant has filed a response to this motion. Plaintiff has filed a reply to defendant's response.

751 F. Supp. 1246
In accordance with Local Rule 17(l)(2), the Court shall decide this motion without hearing

This action was originally filed in Wayne County Circuit Court. Defendant removed this case to federal court on the basis that § 210 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, 92 Stat. 2951, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 5851 ("§ 5851"), pre-empts plaintiff's claim that defendant discharged him from employment in violation of Michigan's Whistleblowers' Protection Act, Mich. Comp.Laws § 15.361 et seq. Plaintiff contends that removal was improper because his complaint alleges only state law causes of action.2

I. Factual Background3

In September of 1978, plaintiff was hired as a mechanic pipefitter by defendant, an electric utility company. By 1982 plaintiff had been promoted to the position of maintenance foreman. In the summer of 1989, plaintiff contacted the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with regard to certain personnel practices of defendant at a nuclear plant it was operating. To wit, plaintiff believed defendant was hiring and employing unqualified personnel at the plant in violation of safety regulations.

In August of 1989, defendant suspended plaintiff from his job. In February of 1990, defendant discharged plaintiff from employment. Plaintiff immediately appealed this action pursuant to an intra-company appeal procedure. On April 30, 1990, defendant denied the appeal, thereby causing plaintiff's discharge from the company to become final.

On April 19, 1990, plaintiff filed a complaint, claiming a violation of § 5851, with the United States Department of Labor with regard to his discharge from employment. This complaint was dismissed by the Department of Labor for not being timely filed.4 Plaintiff's appeal of this dismissal is still pending.

II. Discussion

The removal of cases from state to federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction has been governed for over a century by federal statute. See Act of March 3, 1887, ch. 373, 24 Stat. 552, as amended by Act of Aug. 13, 1888, ch. 866, 25 Stat. 433. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) and (b), a defendant may remove a civil action brought in state court to federal court if the action is based on a claim "arising under" federal law. In other words, removal jurisdiction is limited to those actions over which the federal district courts have original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Correspondingly, the removal statute requires a federal court to remand to state court any action over which it would not have had original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

Generally, "the presence or absence of federal question jurisdiction is governed by the well-pleaded complaint rule, which provides that federal question jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 2429, 96 L.Ed.2d 318 (1987) (internal quotation marks omitted). This rule allows a plaintiff to avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusively relying on state law in his complaint. Id.5 Additionally, "it is settled

751 F. Supp. 1247
law that a case may not be removed to a federal court on the basis of a federal defense, including the defense of pre-emption, even if the defense is anticipated in the plaintiff's complaint...." Id., 482 U.S. at 393, 107 S.Ct. at 2430 (emphasis in original) (citing Franchise Tax Board of Cal. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust for Southern Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 12, 103 S.Ct. 2841, 2847-48, 77 L.Ed.2d 420 (1983))

In the present matter, defendant argues that removal of the case to this Court was proper because plaintiff's claim under the Whistleblowers' Act is pre-empted by § 5851 and, thus, this Court has original, federal question, jurisdiction over the case. Plaintiff, of course, contends that his complaint alleges only claims arising under state law and is, therefore, not pre-empted by § 5851 and must be remanded to state court.

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, Art. VI, cl. 2, provides the foundation for the pre-emption of state law by federal law.6 The Supreme Court has recently outlined three circumstances under which state law will be pre-empted by the Supremacy Clause:

First, Congress can define explicitly the extent to which its enactments pre-empt state law. See Shaw v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 463 U.S. 85, 95-98, 103 S.Ct. 2890, 2898-2900, 77 L.Ed.2d 490 (1983).
Second, in the absence of explicit statutory language, state law is pre-empted where it regulates conduct in a field that Congress intended the Federal Government to occupy exclusively. Such an intent may be inferred from a "scheme of federal regulation ... so pervasive as to make reasonable the inference that Congress left no room for the States to supplement it," or where an Act of Congress "touches a field in which the federal interest is so dominant that the federal system will be assumed to preclude enforcement of state laws on the same subject." Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 230, 67 S.Ct. 1146, 1152, 91 L.Ed. 1447 (1947).
Finally, state law is pre-empted to the extent that it actually
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2 practice notes
  • Adkerson v. MK-Ferguson Co., MK-FERGUSON
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • September 3, 1991
    ...facilities. English v. General Electric Co., 495 U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 2270, 2275, 110 L.Ed.2d 65 (1990); Ackison v. Detroit Edison Co., 751 F.Supp. 1245 (E.D.Mich.1990). Therefore, I concur that the plaintiff's action is not preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, 42 USC Sec. 2011 et seq., or t......
  • Brown v. STP Nuclear Operating Co., CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:18-CV-441
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • March 25, 2020
    ...substantial enough to place petitioner's claim in the pre-empted field." English, 496 U.S. at 85; see also Ackison v. Detroit Edison, 751 F. Supp. 1245, 1248-49 (E.D. Mich. 1990) (granting motion to remand to state court because plaintiff's state whistleblower-act claim did not fall within ......
2 cases
  • Adkerson v. MK-Ferguson Co., MK-FERGUSON
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • September 3, 1991
    ...facilities. English v. General Electric Co., 495 U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 2270, 2275, 110 L.Ed.2d 65 (1990); Ackison v. Detroit Edison Co., 751 F.Supp. 1245 (E.D.Mich.1990). Therefore, I concur that the plaintiff's action is not preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, 42 USC Sec. 2011 et seq., or t......
  • Brown v. STP Nuclear Operating Co., CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:18-CV-441
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • March 25, 2020
    ...substantial enough to place petitioner's claim in the pre-empted field." English, 496 U.S. at 85; see also Ackison v. Detroit Edison, 751 F. Supp. 1245, 1248-49 (E.D. Mich. 1990) (granting motion to remand to state court because plaintiff's state whistleblower-act claim did not fall within ......

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