United Air Lines, Inc v. Division of Industrial Safety of California, 80-1494

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWHITE
Citation102 S.Ct. 485,70 L.Ed.2d 255,454 U.S. 944
Docket NumberNo. 80-1494,80-1494
Decision Date19 October 1981

454 U.S. 944
102 S.Ct. 485
70 L.Ed.2d 255



No. 80-1494

Supreme Court of the United States

October 19, 1981

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice WHITE, dissenting.

Petitioner maintains operations and maintenance facilities for its aircraft at San Francisco International Airport. Re-

Page 945

spondent, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (formerly Division of Industrial Safety) of the Department of Industrial Relations of the State of California (Cal/OSH), is responsible for a state occupational safety and health enforcement program, approved by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration under 29 U.S.C. § 667(c). The state enforcement plan applies to all places of employment in California "except a place the health and safety jurisdiction over which is vested by law in, and actively exercised by, any state or federal agency other than [Cal/OSH]." Cal.Lab.Code § 6303(a) (West Supp.1981). Under § 605(b) of the Federal Aviation Act, 72 Stat. 778, as amended, 49 U.S.C. § 1425(b), the Federal Aviation Administrator is required to

"employ inspectors who shall be charged with the duty (1) of making such inspections of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, and appliances designed for use in air transportation, during manufacture, and while used by an air carrier in air transportation, as may be necessary to enable the Secretary of Transportation to determine that such aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, and appliances are in safe condition and are properly maintained for operation in air transportation . . . ."

Petitioner contends that the operation of the federal scheme of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supervision pre-empts enforcement of the state scheme by Cal/OSH.

Between June 1976 and August 1978, Cal/OSH conducted a number of inspections of petitioner's San Francisco facilities. As a result of these inspections, a number of citations were issued, alleging violations of various health and safety standards. In each instance, United contested the citations, arguing that Cal/OSH lacked jurisdiction over its facilities because of pre-emption by the FAA. Prior to the completion of litigation in the state agencies and courts, United filed a complaint in Federal District Court, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against further Cal/OSH inspections and citations.*

Page 946

Specifically, United alleged that the actions of the defendants were "beyond their jurisdictional authority, interfer[ed] with and disrupt[ed] the federal statutory scheme with respect to safety . . . and violate[d] United's right to due process of law." The District Court granted petitioner a preliminary injunction prohibiting further enforcement by Cal/OSH or the Appeals Board. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, 613 F.2d 814, holding that the complaint should be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. 663 F.2d 814 (1980).

The Court of Appeals confused two distinct lines of reasoning. One of these lines I find unobjectionable, although improperly applied in this case; the other, however, substantially misread our previous cases on when the "defensive" character of a federal question is insufficient to create federal-court jurisdiction. The first argument noted simply that the mere fact that California has incorporated a body of federal law as the basis for a state-law distinction does not necessarily cause a case under the state law to be also a case under the law of the United States. Had United raised only the question of the meaning of the limits on § 6303(a)'s grant of authority to Cal/OSH, this would have been correct and sufficient to dispose of the case. United's complaint, however, was not so limited. Petitioner alleged that the state action interfered with and disrupted the federal statutory scheme. This can only be read as a claim of federal pre-emption. The Court of Appeals responded, erroneously in my view, to this issue of pre-emption by characterizing it as defensive and an inadequate basis for federal-court jurisdiction:

"In the instant case, United is a defendant in the state court action to enforce citations issued by the Division,

Page 947

and has stated that it has asserted and will continue to assert jurisdictional defenses in that action. Therefore, United's allegations of federal...

To continue reading

Request your trial
32 cases
  • Town of Springfield, Vt. v. McCarren, Civ. A. No. 82-157.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. District of Vermont
    • 15 de outubro de 1982
    ...defense grounded in federal law, the Anti-Injunction Act would be surplusage." United Air Lines, Inc. v. Division of Industrial Safety, 454 U.S. 944, 949, 102 S.Ct. 485, 488, 70 L.Ed.2d 255 (1981) (opinion of White, J., dissenting from the denial of certiorari). The plaintiffs' claim here i......
  • Pueblo of Santa Ana v. Hodel, Civ. A. No. 85-2866.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 1 de maio de 1987
    ...as federal enclaves and applied the ACA to Indian reservations. See United States v. Howard, 654 F.2d 522 (8th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 944, 102 S.Ct. 484, 70 L.Ed.2d 253 (1981); United States v. Marcyes, 557 F.2d 1361 (9th Cir.1977); United States v. Burland, 441 F.2d 1199 (9th Ci......
  • Lowe v. Ingalls Shipbuilding, a Div. of Litton Systems, Inc., 82-4361
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 30 de janeiro de 1984
    ...Second and Seventh Circuit decisions) and United Airlines v. Division of Industrial Safety, 633 F.2d 814 (9th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 944, 102 S.Ct. 485, 70 L.Ed.2d 255 (1981), we do not read them as being in conflict with the analysis made in the text of this opinion or with the ......
  • State v. Poh, 82-1187-CR
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • 31 de janeiro de 1984
    ...F.Supp. 847 (W.D.Tex.1981); United States v. Bassler, 651 F.2d 600, 603 (8th Cir.1981), cert. denied sub nom. Sprecher v. United States, 454 U.S. 944, 102 S.Ct. 485, 70 L.Ed.2d 254 (1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1151, 102 S.Ct. 1018, 71 L.Ed.2d 305 (1982); United States v. Sublet, 644 F.2d ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT