Masters v. Daniel Intern. Corp., No. 88-1345

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore McKAY and TACHA, Circuit Judges, and RUSSELL; PER CURIAM
Citation895 F.2d 1295
Parties, 109 P.U.R.4th 544, 5 Indiv.Empl.Rts.Cas. 171 Ronald MASTERS, Appellant, v. DANIEL INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, Appellee.
Decision Date06 February 1990
Docket NumberNo. 88-1345

Page 1295

895 F.2d 1295
58 USLW 2507, 109 P.U.R.4th 544,
5 Indiv.Empl.Rts.Cas. 171
Ronald MASTERS, Appellant,
v.
DANIEL INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, Appellee.
No. 88-1345.
United States Court of Appeals,
Tenth Circuit.
Feb. 6, 1990.

Page 1296

Dan L. Wulz, Bryan, Lykins, Hejtmanek & Wulz, Topeka, Kan., for appellant.

Leonard J. Spooner, Thompson, Mann and Hutson, Greenville, S.C., Lizabeth Lee Walther, Thompson, Mann and Hutson, Washington, D.C. and Arthur E. Palmer, Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer, Topeka, Kan., for appellee.

Before McKAY and TACHA, Circuit Judges, and RUSSELL, District Judge. *

PER CURIAM.

The appellant Ron Masters brought this action for retaliatory discharge in the district court alleging that his former employer appellee Daniel International Corporation ("Daniel") terminated him for having reported safety related concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC").

This appeal is from a decision of the district court dismissing Masters' claim on the basis that the claim was preempted by Section 210 of the Energy Reorganization Act 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5851.

The facts as alleged by Masters are that on February 2, 1984 he notified the NRC of his safety related concerns about work he was doing at the Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Kansas. Ultimately the NRC's investigation vindicated Masters complaint. In the meantime Masters was terminated by Daniel allegedly for being a whistleblower.

Masters did not file a claim with the Department of Labor within thirty days of his termination as required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5851(b)(1); rather, he later brought this action for retaliatory discharge.

Whether a state law claim for retaliatory discharge in response to an employee making safety related complaints to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is preempted by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5851 is a matter of first impression in this circuit. Other circuits which have ruled on this issue have reached differing conclusions.

In English v. General Electric Co., 871 F.2d 22 (4th Cir.1989) the Court found that the Energy Reorganization Act was intended by Congress to be the exclusive remedy for employees who allege discrimination resulting from safety complaints and that state law claims were thus preempted. In Snow v. Bechtel Construction, Inc., 647 F.Supp. 1514 (C.D. of Calif.1986) that court also concluded that state law claims were preempted, but based on the premise that primarily safety concerns were being addressed by the Energy...

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2 practice notes
  • Ackison v. Detroit Edison Co., No. 90-CV-71503-DT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • October 31, 1990
    ...7 For example, the following courts have found § 5851 to pre-empt state law-based whistleblower claims: Masters v. Daniel Int'l Corp., 895 F.2d 1295, 1296 (10th Cir.1990) (per curiam); Snow v. Bechtel Constr., Inc., 647 F.Supp. 1514, 1519 (C.D.Cal.1986). These courts, however, have found no......
  • Masters v. Daniel Intern. Corp., No. 88-1345
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 23, 1990
    ...respondent-appellee. Before McKAY and TACHA, Circuit Judges, and RUSSELL, District Judge. * PER CURIAM. In our original panel opinion, 895 F.2d 1295, we affirmed the district court's dismissal of Petitioner-Appellant Ronald Masters' Page 456 Complaint alleging a state-law claim for retaliat......
2 cases
  • Ackison v. Detroit Edison Co., No. 90-CV-71503-DT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • October 31, 1990
    ...7 For example, the following courts have found § 5851 to pre-empt state law-based whistleblower claims: Masters v. Daniel Int'l Corp., 895 F.2d 1295, 1296 (10th Cir.1990) (per curiam); Snow v. Bechtel Constr., Inc., 647 F.Supp. 1514, 1519 (C.D.Cal.1986). These courts, however, have found no......
  • Masters v. Daniel Intern. Corp., No. 88-1345
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 23, 1990
    ...respondent-appellee. Before McKAY and TACHA, Circuit Judges, and RUSSELL, District Judge. * PER CURIAM. In our original panel opinion, 895 F.2d 1295, we affirmed the district court's dismissal of Petitioner-Appellant Ronald Masters' Page 456 Complaint alleging a state-law claim for retaliat......

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