United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Kenneth M. Hoyt United States District Judge.
before the Court is the plaintiff's, Demeco Ryans (the
“plaintiff”), motion to remand. (Dkt. No.11). In
response, Houston NFL Holdings, L.P. dba Houston Texans
(“Texans”), SMG, Harris County Sports &
Convention Corporation (“Harris”), and Strathayr
Turf Systems Pty Ltd (“Strathayr”) (collectively,
the “defendants”) filed a response in opposition.
(Dkt. No. 20). The plaintiff has filed a reply (Dkt. No. 23),
to which the defendants have filed a surreply (Dkt. No. 27).
After having carefully considered the motion, the response,
the replies, the record and the applicable law, the Court
determines that the plaintiff's motion to remand should
times relevant to this action, the plaintiff was a
professional football player for the Philadelphia Eagles, one
of the member clubs of the National Football League
(“NFL”). On November 2, 2014, the plaintiff
played in a football game against the Texans at NRG Stadium
(“NRG”) in Houston, Texas. The plaintiff alleges
that he suffered a non-contact injury to his Achilles tendon
as a result of a dangerous condition on the field at NRG.
(Dkt. No. 11 at 7). It is undisputed that the plaintiff
sustained the injury on the field while playing in the game.
It also undisputed that the plaintiff and the Texans are both
bound by the collective bargaining agreement
(“CBA”) governing the terms and conditions of the
relationship between the NFL and its players.
around October 21, 2016, the plaintiff filed suit in state
court against the defendants. The plaintiff's petition
asserts Texas state law tort claims of premises liability
against the Texans. The Texans removed the case to this Court
on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, claiming that
all of the plaintiff's claims and causes of action are
preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations
Act (“LMRA”); asserting that the resolution of
the plaintiff's claims would require the interpretation
of the CBA. (Dkt. No. 20 at 8). On December 30, 2016, the
plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Remand, claiming that
the matter should be handled in state court because his
claims are not preempted by LMRA.
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
plaintiff moves to remand, asserting that the defendants
cannot show that his state law tort claims are completely
preempted by the LMRA. The plaintiff alleges that his claims
are not dependent on an interpretation of the CBA and are not
inextricably intertwined with consideration of the CBA. The
plaintiff further argues that his claims are not based on any
provision of the CBA nor is the CBA the source of any of his
claims. Accordingly, the plaintiff avers that the defendants
have failed to meet their burden and this case should be
remanded to the state court in which it was originally filed.
defendants argue that removal was proper because federal
question jurisdiction exists making this Court the proper
venue to hear this case. The defendants argue that the CBA
represents the complete understanding of the parties
involved. The defendants assert that player safety on the
field of play during the game is among the subjects included
in the CBA. The defendants further argue that the CBA
addresses compensation to be received by a player should he
be injured in circumstances similar to the plaintiff. Thus,
the defendants assert that the plaintiff's claims are
inextricably intertwined with, necessarily require an
interpretation of the CBA and are completely preempted by the
LMRA. The defendants ask that the Court thereby deny the
plaintiff's motion to remand.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
applicable statute provides two grounds for remand: (1) a
defect in removal procedure; and (2) lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c);
Things Remembered, Inc. v. Petarca, 516 U.S. 124,
127 - 28, 116 S.Ct. 494, 133 L.Ed.2d 461 (1995). A remand for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction is permissible at any
time before final judgment, with or without a motion. 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c).
to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant is permitted to
remove an action from a state court to a federal court only
if the action is one over which the federal court has
original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. 1441(a). Since
federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, absent
jurisdiction granted by statute, federal courts lack the
power to adjudicate claims. See Stockman v. Federal
Election Comm'n, 138 F.3d 144, 151 (5th Cir. 1998)
(citing Veldhoen v. United States Coast Guard, 35
F.3d 222, 225 (5th Cir. 1994)). Thus, “[i]t is
incumbent on all federal courts to dismiss an action whenever
it appears that subject matter jurisdiction is
lacking.” Stockman, 138 F.3d at 151. Further,
the party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of a federal
court carries the burden of ...