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Schweiss v. Chrysler Motors Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

October 12, 1990, Submitted ; December 31, 1990, Filed

No. 89-2925


 [*473]  BOWMAN, Circuit Judge

Ann Schweiss appeals from the order of the District Court dismissing her wrongful discharge suit against Chrysler Motors Corporation. We reverse and remand.

Schweiss was employed by Chrysler Motors Corporation ("Chrysler") from January 1984 to February 1989. Shortly before her discharge, Schweiss contacted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about alleged violations of law occurring at the assembly plant where she worked. On February 8, 1989, Chrysler fired Schweiss, allegedly for excessive absenteeism. On April 13, 1989, Schweiss filed suit in Missouri state court against Chrysler and her immediate supervisor Perry Sigwerth, alleging that she had been wrongfully discharged for being a "whistle blower," a discharge that under Missouri law is an actionable [**2]  tort. Chrysler and Sigwerth removed the suit to federal court on the grounds that the claim presented a question of federal law, and that Sigwerth fraudulently had been joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction.

Schweiss moved to remand the case to state court, while Sigwerth filed a motion to dismiss and Chrysler filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that Schweiss's state law wrongful discharge action is pre-empted under both section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ("OSHA"), 29 U.S.C. § 660(c)  [*474]  (1988), and section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185 (1988). The District Court denied Schweiss's motion, granted Sigwerth's motion, and denied Chrysler's motion as moot. The District Court held that Schweiss's state law wrongful discharge claim is pre-empted by section 11(c) of OSHA, and dismissed the case with prejudice. The court did not decide the section 301 pre-emption issue.

On appeal, Schweiss claims the District Court erred in ruling that her wrongful discharge claim against Chrysler is pre-empted by section 11(c) of OSHA. 1 She concedes that on remand it would be necessary for the District Court to address the [**3]  question of pre-emption under section 301.

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922 F.2d 473 *; 1990 U.S. App. LEXIS 22413 **; 117 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P10,469; 14 OSHC (BNA) 2039; 6 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 110; 1991 OSHD (CCH) P29,199

Ann C. Schweiss, Appellant, v. Chrysler Motors Corp., Appellee

Prior History:  [**1]  Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Honorable John F. Nangle, Judge.


district court, pre-empted, pre-emption, state law, federal law, discharged, remedies

Labor & Employment Law, Wrongful Termination, Defenses, Employee Misconduct, Healthcare Law, Employment Issues, General Overview, Employment Relationships, At Will Employment, Exceptions, Tort Exceptions, Public Policy Violations, Public Policy, Business & Corporate Compliance, Occupational Safety & Health, Administrative Proceedings, Federal Preemption, Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Federal Questions, Labor & Employment Law, Civil Liability Under OSHA, Duties & Rights, Torts, Procedural Matters, Preemption