10.20.2005

Second Circuit Holds There Is Not Complete Preemption under the RLA

The Second Circuit in Sullivan v. American Airlines, Inc., 424 F.3d 267 (2d Cir. Sep. 13, 2005) has held that there is no complete preemption under the Railway Labor Act (RLA):

In holding that there is no complete preemption under the RLA, we align ourselves on one side of a circuit split and follow what seems to be an emerging trend. Compare Roddy v. Grand Trunk W. R. Inc., 395 F.3d 318, 326 (6th Cir.2005) (finding no complete preemption under the RLA); Geddes v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 321 F.3d 1349, 1357 (11th Cir.2003) (same); and Ry. Labor Executives Ass'n v. Pittsburgh & Lake Erie R.R. Co., 858 F.2d 936, 942-43 (3d Cir.1988) (same), with Graf v. Elgin, Joliet & E. Ry. Co., 790 F.2d 1341, 1344-47 (7th Cir.1986) (finding complete preemption under the RLA); and Deford v. Soo Line R.R. Co., 867 F.2d 1080, 1085 (8th Cir.1989) (same, based on the inaccurate observation that the Supreme Court in Andrews v. Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co., 406 U.S. 320, 92 S.Ct. 1562, 32 L.Ed.2d 95 (1972), allowed reliance on the RLA for removal jurisdiction). See also Adames v. Executive Airlines, Inc., 258 F.3d 7 (1st Cir.2001) (case removed on RLA-preemption grounds; no discussion of complete preemption); Ertle v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 136 F.3d 690 (10th Cir.1998) (same); Kollar v. United Transp. Union, 83 F.3d 124 (5th Cir.1996) (same); Holman v. Laulo-Rowe Agency, 994 F.2d 666, 669 n. 4 (9th Cir.1993) (noting intra-circuit conflict on RLA complete preemption).

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