United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KEITH WATKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Emory Lashley, a former police officer for the Town of
Jackson's Gap,  was fired after he lost his certification
from the Alabama Peace Officers' Standards and Training
Commission (APOSTC). Lashley says that he lost his
certification because of his police chief's failure to
report Lashley's continuing education credits to APOSTC.
sued Defendant Town of Jackson's Gap in state court,
claiming that his termination violated his right to due
process under the Alabama and United States
Constitutions. He also asserts state-law tort claims for
negligence, wantonness, and outrage.
Jackson's Gap removed this action to federal court based
on Plaintiff's federal due process claim. (Doc. # 1.)
Plaintiff moved to remand the state-law claims based on a
version of the removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, that
has not been the law for seven years. That motion will be
denied, and Plaintiff's counsel will be ordered to show
cause why he should not be sanctioned under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 11 for filing a motion to remand that appears
to lack support in existing law.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). Accordingly, they only have the power to
hear cases over which the Constitution or Congress has given
them authority. Id. At the same time, though, they
“have a strict duty to exercise the jurisdiction that
is conferred upon them by Congress.” Quackenbush v.
Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 716 (1996).
has empowered federal courts to hear cases removed by a
defendant from state to federal court if the plaintiff could
have brought the claims in federal court originally.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal courts may
exercise original jurisdiction over “all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. And they
“shall have supplemental jurisdiction” over
state-law claims that form part of the same Article III
“case or controversy” as the federal claim(s).
See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
This court has jurisdiction over this
stated, this court has original jurisdiction over all cases
“arising under” federal law or the federal
constitution and has removal jurisdiction over federal claims
originally filed in state court. See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1441(a).
does not dispute that his complaint, which includes a claim
that Defendant violated the federal constitution, (Doc. #
1-1, at 3), presents a federal question. Instead, he quotes a
prior version of § 1441(c), and argues that because
federal- and state-law claims are not “separate and
independent” of each other, Defendant may not remove
the entire case to federal court. (Doc. # 11, at 4 (citing
Act of June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 937 (current version
at 28 U.S.C. § 1441(c)); Muhammad v. City of
Tuskegee, 76 F.Supp.2d 1293, 1295 (M.D. Ala. 1999)
(“In order to properly remove otherwise non-removable
state law claims to federal court, ‘the removing party
must demonstrate that the ‘otherwise non-removable
claims or causes of action' [are] ‘separate and
independent' from the federal claim.'” (quoting
Reneau v. Oakwood Mobile Homes, 952 F.Supp. 724, 728
(N.D. Ala. 1997)).)
that is not what the removal statute says or has said since
the most recent amendments became effective on January 6,
2012. See Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue
Clarification Act of 2011, Pub. L. 112-63, tit. I, §
103, 125 Stat. 758, 759 (2011) (codified at 28 U.S.C. §
1441(c)). “Section 1441(c) - as previously worded -
permitted otherwise non-removable claims to be appended to
jurisdictionally sufficient anchors only if the
otherwise non-removable claims were separate from and
independent of the removable claims.” 14B Charles Alan
Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure:
Jurisdiction and Related Matters § 3722.3 (4th ed.
2009). The amended § 1441(c)(1) omits the
“separate and independent”
requirement. Plaintiff's motion to remand is
therefore mostly based on language that was removed from
§ 1441(c) seven years ago.
current version of § 1441(c) does not prevent removal
here. That statute now provides that if a civil action
includes both a federal-law claim and “a claim not
within the original or supplemental jurisdiction of the
district court or a claim that has been made nonremovable by
statute, ” the whole case “may be removed if the
action” is otherwise removable. The district court must
then sever the nonremovable claims and remand them to state
court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(c)(2).
if the case includes state-law claims that are: (1) not
within the court's supplemental jurisdiction because they
are not part of the same Article III case or controversy; or
(2) made nonremovable by statute (like a worker's
compensation claim, see 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c)),
then the defendant ...