Monday, January 02, 2006

Preemption on steroids

In Palkow v. CSX Transportation, the Sixth Circuit dealt with an interesting case, where the plaintiff lost a federal court trial, then sued a witness claiming perjury, and the witness removed the case, claiming that there was a federal question because the second action was a form of collateral attack on the earlier, unappealed judgment for the defense.

Reversing the denial of the motion to remand the second case back to the state court, the Court concluded that there was no basis for federal jurisdiction. In connection with its preemption discussion, the Court characterized the "complete preemption" exception to the well-pleaded complaint rule, recognized in connection with the statutes such as the Labor-Management Relations Act and ERISA, with these words: "to use the jargon of the day, it is 'preemption on steroids.'"

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