The opinion of the court was delivered by: SNYDER
This proceeding began as a Complaint in Equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. In the original action the Plaintiff requested injunctive relief from the Court which would reinstate the Plaintiff to his position at Eastern Express, Inc. (Eastern), damages for wages and other fringe benefits lost by the Plaintiff from the date of his alleged wrongful discharge, and punitive damages for the wrongful discharge; he further sought that the Joint Council Committee be required to hold a hearing on the grievance filed by the Plaintiff.
On December 15, 1972, the Plaintiff, while operating a tractor-trailer rig within the scope of his employment for the Defendant Eastern, was apparently involved in an accident. On January 20, 1973, the State Police charged Sheeder with violating the Motor Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in failing to exhibit his operator's license and registration number to the operator of the other vehicle, and in failing to immediately stop his vehicle at the place and scene of the accident in which he was allegedly involved. On January 15, 1973, after some investigation by Eastern representatives, Sheeder was informed by Eastern that his services were terminated, effective January 16, 1973.
The Plaintiff instituted a grievance procedure under the Collective Bargaining Agreement which finally led to a hearing before the Joint Area Grievance Committee (composed of representatives of the Employer and the Union) on March 14, 1973.
The following appears in the Findings of the Joint Council Committee:
" Union Position : The Grievant, Barry L. Sheeder, claimed he was unjustly discharged on 1/16/73 for a hit and run accident on Rt. 22 at Cresson, Pa. Driver not convicted of a hit and run accident as of this date.
Employer Position : The Company stated the Grievant struck a parked tractor trailer unit with his trailer resulting in $1,000 damage. Grievant didn't report accident, and had been stopped three times by the State Police notifying him of an accident.
Decision : The Committee ruled that, based on the facts presented, the claim of the Union is denied."
The Complaint alleges that at the hearing the Plaintiff was informed that if additional evidence concerning the guilt or innocence of the Plaintiff came to the attention of Local 30 that the Local Union would again request review by the Defendant. The Plaintiff here was tried by a jury in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, on June 21, 1973, and a verdict of not guilty was rendered by the jury. The Plaintiff immediately contacted representatives of Local 30, who informed the Joint Council Committee that Sheeder proposed to present new evidence concerning his innocence, i.e., the not guilty verdict. A hearing was scheduled by the Joint Council Committee for August 9, 1973, and Sheeder alleges that the Committee still "failed, neglected and refused to hear any evidence concerning the innocence of the plaintiff on the criminal charges upon which their previous decision was based; thereby exhausting plaintiff's administrative remedies." He claims that this action of the Joint Council Committee was without due process of law and in violation of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by which action he was caused to suffer monetary damages.
I. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND
Plaintiff in this case has filed a Motion to Remand and takes the position that the Federal District Court has no jurisdiction as this is an action essentially for the unlawful discharge of an employee.
Under the Act of June 25, 1948, Chapter 646, 62 Stat. 937 (28 U.S.C. § 1441), actions are removable generally:
"(a) Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.
(b) Any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction founded on a claim or right arising under the Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States shall be removable without regard ...