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Legal Memorandum: Remand of an Employment Claim

Issue: Does the Virgin Islands District Court Abuse its Discretion When it Remands an Employment Claim to Territorial Court?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Abuse of discretion; Remand order; Employment claim
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 273 F.3d 564; 133 F. Supp. 2d 384; 386 U.S. 171; 725 F.2d 226; 881 F.2d 20; 452 F.3d 256; 128 F.3d 110; 486 U.S. 399
Cited Statutes: LMRA § 301
Date: 07/01/2007

The Court of Appeals reviews an order of dismissal de novoBuck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006).  A remand order is reviewed for abuse of discretion; “however, to the extent that the underlying issue giving rise to that remand decision, in this case the extent of preemption, is one of law, [the] review is de novo.”  In re U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 193 F.3d 151, 160 (3d Cir. 1999).

The Virgin Islands District Court has emphasized that an employee may maintain a suit under the LMRA even if he sues only his employer, and not the union.  Vadino v. A. Valey Eng’rs, 903 F.2d 253, 260 (3d Cir. 1990).  Accord Webb v. ABF Freight Sys., 155 F.3d 1230 (10th Cir. 1998) (where the plaintiff sued both the union and his employer, and the claims against the union were dismissed pretrial, the jury properly found that the union breached its duty of fair representation by, inter alia, failing to investigate and engaging in a perfunctory grievance processing, for purposes of the employee’s breach of CBA action against the employer).  See also Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 186-87 (1967) (the employee may sue employer and union in different actions).  See Johnson v. Delphi Corp., 261 F. Supp. 2d 955 (S.D. Ohio 2003) (the plaintiff employees’ claims for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, or fraud in the inducement were not preempted by § 301, because at the time the […]

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