Willis v. Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc., No. 92-2361

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtROBERT M. PARKER
Citation61 F.3d 313
Parties150 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2015, 10 IER Cases 1499 Robert E. WILLIS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ROCHE BIOMEDICAL LABORATORIES, INC., E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, George M. Allison, M.D., Bill Pace, Bill Bringhurst, Martha Kivlovitz, Defendants, Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc., Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 92-2361
Decision Date02 August 1995

Page 313

61 F.3d 313
150 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2015, 10 IER Cases 1499
Robert E. WILLIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ROCHE BIOMEDICAL LABORATORIES, INC., E.I. du Pont de Nemours
& Company, George M. Allison, M.D., Bill Pace,
Bill Bringhurst, Martha Kivlovitz, Defendants,
Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc., Defendant-Appellee.
No. 92-2361.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Aug. 2, 1995.

Jeffrey A. Lehmann, Houston, TX, for appellant.

D. Faye Caldwell, Jack E. Urquhart, Holtzman & Urquhart, Houston, TX, for Roche Biomedical.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Before KING, JOLLY and PARKER 1, Circuit Judges.

ROBERT M. PARKER, Circuit Judge:

The original panel opinion in this cause, Willis v. Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc., 21 F.3d 1368 (5th Cir.1994), is withdrawn and this opinion is substituted in its stead.

Robert E. Willis ("Willis") filed this action in Texas state court on July 31, 1991, asserting negligence and defamation claims arising out of a test of Willis's urine that resulted in a false positive for methamphetamines. Willis brought action against Roche Biomedical

Page 314

Laboratories, Inc. ("Roche"), the laboratory that performed the urinalysis; E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company ("Du Pont"), his employer; and four Du Pont employees, George M. Allison, M.D., Bill Pace, Bill Bringhurst and Martha Kivlovitz. (The Du Pont company and its employees are referred to collectively as "the Du Pont defendants" or "Du Pont".)

On August 22, 1991, the Du Pont defendants, joined by Roche, removed the action to federal court on the ground that Willis's claim arose under the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. Sec. 185. The district court subsequently granted the Du Pont defendants' motion to dismiss because Willis had failed to exhaust his contractual remedies. Although Willis appealed from the order of dismissal, that appeal has been previously dismissed and is not now before this Court.

On June 29, 1992, the district court granted Roche's motion for summary judgment and this appeal followed.

I. FACTS

The district court found that the following facts were established by the summary judgment evidence. Neither party disputes that this portion of the district court's opinion is correct.

Plaintiff-Appellant Willis has been employed by Du Pont at its LaPorte, Texas chemical plant since March 26, 1979 as a utility helper. At all times relevant to this lawsuit, his employment was governed by a collective bargaining agreement, which included a substance abuse policy covering La Port plant employees. In July 1990, Du Pont, in alliance with the Union, instituted a random drug testing policy.

Du Pont contracted with Roche to conduct the screening and testing of urine samples provided by Du Pont in accordance with strict protocol procedures in the contract.

On August 2, 1990, Du Pont ordered that Willis participate in a random drug test, in accordance with its substance abuse policy. The test was performed by Roche and a report was issued to Du Pont, pursuant to a consent form signed by Willis. The report indicated that Willis had tested positive for methamphetamine use. Willis remained employed at Du Pont and continued to receive his regular salary after Du Pont received Roche's report. Willis was placed on restricted work duty and was sent to a physician. Willis was also required to attend counseling sessions and to submit to follow up testing.

On November 2, 1990, Roche informed Du Pont that Willis's drug test had registered a "false positive." The false positive was the result of the test confusing the presence of over the counter cold medication with the presence of illegal methamphetamine in Willis's urine. Upon learning of the mistake, Du Pont compensated Willis for lost time and for medical expenses.

Willis brought suit for negligence, gross negligence, libel and slander, contending that his damages included various aspects of mental suffering and the loss of his good name and reputation. He also claimed monetary damages, but acknowledged that Du Pont had made monetary amends with regard to the payment of these sums in the form of repayment for lost work time and reimbursement for medical expenses.

II. GOVERNING LAW

In its order denying Willis's motion to remand the case to state court, the district court found that Willis's state law claims were preempted by Sec. 185 of the LMRA. If that is correct, the questions before us are governed by substantive federal law. Republic Steel Corp. v. Maddox, 379 U.S. 650, 85 S.Ct. 614, 13 L.Ed.2d 580 (1965) (substantive federal law applies to suits on collective bargaining agreements covered by this section [Sec. 185].) However, the court applied state law to the claims in its memorandum opinion granting Roche summary judgment.

We hold that Willis's claims against Roche are not preempted by the LMRA, because they do not require an interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement for resolution. Rather, the district court had pendant jurisdiction over these state claims, and it appropriately applied Texas law.

Page 315

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Willis challenges the district court's interpretation of Texas law and its determination that no genuine issue of material fact existed in the summary judgment record. We must review de novo the district court's determination of state law. Salve Regina College v. Russell, 499 U.S. 225, 239, 111 S.Ct. 1217, 1225, 113 L.Ed.2d 190 (1991) ("The obligation of responsible appellate review and the principle of a cooperative judicial federalism underlying Erie [R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S.Ct. 817, 82 L.Ed. 1188 (1938) ] require that courts of appeals review the state-law determination of...

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  • Mortgage v. Flores, Civil Action No. C–09–312.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • October 20, 2010
    ...by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence.” Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995); see also Brown v. Houston, 337 F.3d 539, 541 (5th Cir.2003) (stating that “improbable inferences and unsupported speculatio......
  • Yul Chu v. Miss. State Univ., Civil Action No. 1:08–CV–00232–GHD–DAS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • October 3, 2012
    ...at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548;Littlefield v. Forney Indep. Sch. Dist., 268 F.3d 275, 282 (5th Cir.2001); Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995).C. Discussion and Analysis Defendants argue that the Court should dismiss all of Plaintiffs claims except the Title VII c......
  • Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equipment Co., No. Civ.A.SA-04-CA-0120-XR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • April 11, 2005
    ...issue as to a material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Willis v. Roche Biomedical Lab., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995). Once the movant carries its initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to show that summary judgment is inappropr......
  • Project v. Shaw, Civil Action No. C–10–75.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • December 5, 2011
    ...by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence.” Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995); see also Brown v. Houston, 337 F.3d 539, 541 (5th Cir.2003) (stating that “improbable inferences and unsupported speculatio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
506 cases
  • Mortgage v. Flores, Civil Action No. C–09–312.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • October 20, 2010
    ...by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence.” Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995); see also Brown v. Houston, 337 F.3d 539, 541 (5th Cir.2003) (stating that “improbable inferences and unsupported speculatio......
  • Yul Chu v. Miss. State Univ., Civil Action No. 1:08–CV–00232–GHD–DAS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • October 3, 2012
    ...at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548;Littlefield v. Forney Indep. Sch. Dist., 268 F.3d 275, 282 (5th Cir.2001); Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995).C. Discussion and Analysis Defendants argue that the Court should dismiss all of Plaintiffs claims except the Title VII c......
  • Martinez v. Bohls Bearing Equipment Co., No. Civ.A.SA-04-CA-0120-XR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • April 11, 2005
    ...issue as to a material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Willis v. Roche Biomedical Lab., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995). Once the movant carries its initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to show that summary judgment is inappropr......
  • Project v. Shaw, Civil Action No. C–10–75.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • December 5, 2011
    ...by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence.” Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir.1995); see also Brown v. Houston, 337 F.3d 539, 541 (5th Cir.2003) (stating that “improbable inferences and unsupported speculatio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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