United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO REMAND
Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.
Ochoa filed this action in Connecticut state court, (ECF No.
1-1) bringing claims against her employer, the New Canaan
Board of Education (the “Board”), for race, sex,
and disability discrimination under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and
Connecticut anti-discrimination laws, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec.
46a-60(a)(1). Ochoa also claimed the Board retaliated against
her because she exercised her rights under the Connecticut
Workers' Compensation Act, in violation of Conn. Gen.
Stat. Sec. 31-290a.
Board removed the case to this Court, citing federal question
jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1). Ochoa then filed a Motion to
Remand, asserting that a federal statute, 28 U.S.C. Sec.
1445(c), makes this case nonremovable because it
“aris[es] under” a State's workers'
compensation law, namely, the Connecticut Workers'
Compensation Act. (ECF No. 11). Ochoa's retaliation claim
does arise under that Act, but her other claims fall within
this Court's federal question and supplemental
jurisdiction. In 2011, Congress amended the removal statute
to address this situation, i.e., where a case removed from
state court includes both claims raising a federal question
and claims made nonremovable by statute, and that amendment
dictates the outcome here: “A civil action [that]
includes a claim arising under [federal law] and . . . a
claim that has been made nonremovable by statute . . . may be
removed, ” but “[u]pon removal . . ., the
district court shall sever from the action all [claims made
nonremovable by statute] and shall remand the severed claims
to the State court from which the action was removed.”
28 U.S.C. Sec. 1441(c); see P.L. 112-63, Dec. 7,
2011, 125 Stat. 758. The Motion to Remand is accordingly
GRANTED as to the retaliation claim under Conn. Gen. Stat.
Sec. 31-290a and DENIED as to the remaining claims, as
explained in more detail below.
28 U.S.C. Sec. 1445(c), “[a] civil action in any State
court arising under the workmen's compensation laws of
such State may not be removed to any district court of the
United States.” Two judges of this Court have found
that retaliation claims under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-290a
“aris[e] under the workmen's compensation
law” of Connecticut, Wilson v. Lowe's Home
Center, 401 F.Supp.2d 186 (D. Conn. 2005); Miley v.
Hous. Auth., 926 F.Supp.2d 420, 426 (D. Conn. 2013), and
I agree with and adopt the analysis in those opinions. Such
claims are thus “made nonremovable by statute.”
Miley, 926 F.Supp.2d at 428.
Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of
2011 changed the removal statute's treatment of cases
containing both claims made nonremovable by statute and
claims falling within the district court's federal
question jurisdiction. As amended, the relevant provision
states as follows:
(1) If a civil action includes
(A) a claim arising under [federal law], and
(B) a claim not within the original or supplemental
jurisdiction of the district court or a claim that has been
made nonremovable by statute, the entire action may
be removed if the action would be removable without the
inclusion of the claim described in [this] subparagraph (B).
(2) Upon removal of an action described in paragraph (1), the
district court shall sever from the action all claims
described in paragraph (1)(B) and shall remand the severed
claims to the State court from which the action was removed .
28 U.S.C. Section 1441(c) (emphasis added).
case includes three categories of claims for purposes of the
provision set forth above:
federal law discrimination claims, which fall within the
court's original jurisdiction, (2) state law
discrimination claims, which, because they form part of the
“same case or controversy” as the federal law
discrimination claims, fall within the court's
supplemental jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1367, and (3) the
retaliation claim under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-290a, which
has been made nonremovable by statute. Like the Court in
Miley, therefore, I conclude that I am bound by the
plain language of Section 1441(c) and “must sever [the
retaliation claim under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-290a] and
remand it . . . to state court.” 926 F.Supp.2d at 429.