United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT, without oral argument, is Plaintiff Greg
Parker's motion to remand, ECF No. 7. Having reviewed the
parties' briefing,  and for the reasons that follow, the
Court grants the motion to remand.
Parker originally filed this action against Defendants
Spokane Transit Authority and Anita Teague for employment
discrimination in Spokane County Superior Court on October
27, 2017. Plaintiff stated four causes of action in his
complaint: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation
under the Washington Law Against Discrimination
(“WLAD”), chapter 49.60, Revised Code of
Washington (“RCW”); (2) unlawful retaliation; (3)
breach of contract; and (4) violation of public policy. With
respect to Plaintiff's claim for damages based on
unlawful retaliation, Plaintiff alleged:
Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff for being a member of
the Union, for filing claims for discrimination and/or
workplace safety with the Department of Labor and Industries,
[Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(“OSHA”)] and [Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”)] by treating him in a hostile
manner and by terminating his employment.
ECF No. 1-2 at 5.
maintains that all four claims arise under Washington law,
and, therefore, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the
case. Defendants counter that Plaintiff's retaliation
claim exists under federal law (Title VII) rather than under
Washington law, which does not protect against retaliation
for “filing an OSHA complaint or EEOC charge that seeks
recovery for alleged adverse treatment apart from discharge
from employment.” ECF No. 9 at 6.
action filed in state court may be removed to the federal
district court embracing the place where the action is
pending when the federal court would have original
jurisdiction over the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A
plaintiff may challenge removal by moving for remand. 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also Moore-Thomas v. Alaska
Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 2009).
When remand from federal to state court is sought based on
lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the party opposing
remand bears the burden of demonstrating that the matter is
properly before the federal court. Sullivan v. First
Affiliated Securities, Inc., 813 F.2d 1368, 1371 (9th
Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 850 (1987). Removal
statutes are strictly construed; any doubt as to the
propriety of removal should be resolved in favor of remand.
Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir.
1996). The district court must remand the case “[i]f at
any time before final judgment it appears that the district
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c); see also Smith v. Mylan, Inc., 761
F.3d 1042, 1044 (9th Cir. 2014); Bruns v. Nat'l
Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997)
(holding that remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
“is mandatory, not discretionary”).
question jurisdiction rests on “a claim or right
arising under the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). To support
federal jurisdiction under the well-pleaded complaint rule,
the complaint must present a federal question on its face.
California v. United States, 215 F.3d 1005, 1014
(9th Cir. 2000). When a plaintiff has not pleaded a federal
cause of action on the face of the complaint, the court must
assess whether he has artfully pleaded a state law cause of
action that necessarily arises under federal law. Lippitt
v. Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., 340 F.3d
1033, 1041 (9th Cir. 2003).
dispositive question for purposes of remand is whether
Plaintiff necessarily relies on a violation of federal law to
succeed on his claim for unlawful retaliation. See
Lippitt, 340 F.3d at 1043.
argue that Plaintiff's unlawful retaliation cause of
action cannot be interpreted as a state common law tort claim
because disciplinary action or harassment less severe than