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Sbrusch v. Dow Chem. Co. - 124 F. Supp. 2d 1090 (S.D. Tex. 2000)

Rule:

A case arises under a workmen's compensation statute for the purposes of 28 U.S.C.S. § 1445(c) if the cause of action is created by the workers' compensation statute. The term "arising under" for the purpose of § 1445(c) should be interpreted in line with similar standards for federal question jurisdiction. The arising under standard is to be interpreted broadly in favor of remand.

Facts:

Plaintiff Joyce M. Sbrusch brought suit under Texas Labor Code § 408.001(b) in Texas state court for the death of her husband, who died allegedly as a result of benzene exposure while working for defendant Dow Chemical Co. ("Dow"). Dow removed the action to federal district court based on diversity jurisdiction. Sbrusch thereafter filed a motion to remand to state court on the ground that a state court action arising under the workmen's compensation laws of that state could not be removed to any district court of the United States.

Issue:

Should the case be remanded to state court?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The district court granted the motion and remanded the matter to Texas state court. The court ruled that although there was diversity of jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C.S.§ 1445(c) barred workers' compensation claims based on state law from being heard in federal court. The court held that the cause of action was based on state law and was precluded from hearing by federal court.

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