United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois
January 19, 1981
LECEIL RAY SAWYER, PLAINTIFF,
FEDERAL BARGE LINES, INC., DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Foreman, Chief Judge:
Now before this Court is the plaintiff's Motion to Remand. On
December 4, 1979, plaintiff filed a one count complaint in the
Circuit Court for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, St. Clair
County, Illinois. Plaintiff brought that action under 46 U.S.C. § 688,
et seq., commonly referred to as the Jones Act. That
complaint alleged negligence on the part of the defendant,
Federal Barge Lines, Inc., the results of which were injuries
sustained by the plaintiff.
On May 19, 1980, the Circuit Court for St. Clair County entered
its order granting plaintiff leave to amend his complaint. That
amendment added Count II to the complaint. Count II states a
claim in maintenance and cure and seeks $15,000 in damages.
On June 16, 1980, defendant filed its Petition to Remove to
this Court. Defendant concedes that the Jones Act claim, by
itself, is not removable. Defendant's theory of removal is that
the claim for maintenance and cure in Count II of the amended
complaint states an independent claim between parties of diverse
citizenship with more than $10,000 at stake. Hence, defendant
urges that removal is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) and
This Court agrees with defendant. A claim for maintenance and
cure is a separate and distinct cause of action from a Jones Act
claim. Pacific Steamship Company v. Peterson, 278 U.S. 130,
137-138, 49 S.Ct. 75, 77-78, 73 L.Ed. 220 (1928); Crooks v.
United States, 459 F.2d 631 (9th Cir. 1972). It is clear that had
plaintiff brought only his maintenance and cure claim in the
state court that it would have been removable. Unlike Jones Act
cases, there are no restrictions on a claim of maintenance and
cure when removal is sought from state courts.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(c) provides in pertinent part:
"Whenever a separate and independent claim or cause
of action, which would be removable if sued upon
alone, is joined with one or more otherwise
non-removable claims or causes of action, the entire
case may be removed and the district court may
determine all issues therein . . ."
Accordingly, it is the opinion of this Court that plaintiff's
Motion to Remand should be DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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