28 U.S.C.S. § 1441(c) provides for removal or remand only where the federal question claims are separate and independent from the state law claims with which they are joined in the complaint. However, where there is a single injury to plaintiff for which relief is sought, arising from an interrelated series of events or transactions, there is no separate or independent claim or cause of action under § 1441(c). Suits involving pendent, now supplemental, state claims that derive from a common nucleus of operative fact, do not fall within the scope of § 1441(c), since pendent claims are not separate and independent.
Respondent claimants had filed an action against petitioners, retail mall and municipal government, for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, negligence, and a federal civil rights violation claim under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983. Petitioners, based on the § 1983 claim, filed a notice of removal to the federal district court. Respondents moved to remand it back to state court. The district court remanded back to state court, and petitioners challenged that decision by filing a writ of mandamus to compel the district court to accept jurisdiction.
Was the action properly remanded to state court under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1441?
The district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the § 1983 claim and supplemental jurisdiction over the other claims, which arose out of the same incidents and addressed the same course of conduct by the defendants; therefore, the federal and nonfederal claims were not "separate and independent", and the district court had no authority under § 1441(c) to remand either part or all of the case. The court granted the writ of mandamus and found that the federal court had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 1331 and 1343. Because the district court had jurisdiction, the action was properly removed from state court under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1441.