Railway Labor Act. Defendants assert that this court has jurisdiction, and defendants urge that federal statutes and national labor policy have preempted plaintiffs' state law negligence claims. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, contend that federal preemption does not apply to the type of negligence alleged to have occurred in this case, which is failure of plaintiffs' collective bargaining representative to file a request for mediation in a timely manner. Plaintiffs further argue that this court does not have jurisdiction because no federal question is presented.
My initial reaction was to remand this case to the state court from which it had been removed by defendants. Under Franchise Tax Board v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 77 L. Ed. 2d 420, 103 S. Ct. 2841 (1983), it is the allegations of the plaintiffs well-pleaded complaint that determine whether a case arises under federal law. In their complaint, plaintiffs plead common law negligence. Plaintiffs contend, therefore, that looking solely at plaintiffs' well-pleaded complaint, the case does not arise under federal law.
In a recent decision, however, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit expounded upon the 'artful pleading' doctrine, "under which a court will not allow a plaintiff to deny a defendant a federal forum when the plaintiff's complaint contains a federal claim 'artfully pled' as a state law claim." United Jersey Banks v. Mary Little Parell, 783 F.2d 360, 367 (3d Cir. 1986). The court stated: "Those courts of appeal that have applied the doctrine have done so primarily in the context of § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185, not only because the extent of federal primacy is well established, see Hillard v. Dobelman, 774 F.2d 886, 887 (8th Cir. 1985); Mitchell v. Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, Inc., 772 F.2d 342, 344 (7th Cir. 1985), but because all state law is displaced." Id., at 368.
Federal law has totally displaced state law in regard to claims arising from a union's conduct in its capacity as a collective bargaining representative. For example, the Railway Labor Act, like § 301, imposes a duty on the collective bargaining agent to represent all members of the bargaining unit fairly. See Steele v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad, 323 U.S. 192, 89 L. Ed. 173, 65 S. Ct. 226 (1944). Consequently, I find that federal jurisdiction exists to support removal. I further find that, because federal law has totally displaced state law, plaintiffs' state law negligence claims are preempted. See Peterson v. Air Line Pilots Association, International, 759 F.2d 1161, 1168-71 (4th Cir.) (holding that Railway Labor Act preempts plaintiff's state law claims), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 946, 106 S. Ct. 312, 88 L. Ed. 2d 289 (1985). Thus, claims of negligence related to a union's representation of members of the bargaining unit are actionable neither in federal court, See Findley v. Jones Motor Freight, 639 F.2d 953 (3d Cir. 1981), nor state court. Therefore, plaintiffs' claims should be dismissed rather than remanded.
Edward N. Cahn, J.
AND NOW, this 3 day of March, 1986, after consideration of defendants' motion to dismiss, plaintiffs' responsive brief, oral argument and post argument briefing, IT IS ORDERED as follows:
1. The within case is DISMISSED;
2. The Clerk is directed to close the docket of the within the case.
Edward N. Cahn, J.