Friday, December 6, 2013

Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams case brief

Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams case brief summary
482 U.S. 386 (1987)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioners sought review of a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which reversed a trial court decision that would have allowed petitioners to remove respondents' state law breach of contract employment action to federal court. The court ruled that petitioners could not remove the claim because it did not arise under § 301 of the Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 185.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner equipment manufacturer hired respondents to work at one of its facilities. Initially, respondents were in positions covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Each eventually rose to management positions not covered by the collective bargaining agreement and alleged that petitioner represented that they could enjoy indefinite employment. Respondents were later downgraded into positions covered by the collective bargaining agreement and then laid off. Respondents sued petitioners, the manufacturer and others, for breach of an employment agreement. Petitioners removed the case to federal court. Respondents sought to have the action remanded to state court. The trial court denied remand but the appellate court reversed. Petitioners sought review.

DISCUSSION

  • The Court affirmed the appellate court. 
  • The Court found that the case had been improperly removed and that respondents' claims did not arise under the collective bargaining agreement and therefore did not arise under § 301 of the Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 185. 
  • The Court accordingly found that respondents' claim rested solely upon state law and was not removable to federal court.

CONCLUSION
The Court affirmed the appellate court's decision and found that respondents' claims did not arise under a federal labor law statute and therefore could not be removed to federal court.

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