In this case, two individuals brought a tort suit seeking damages against a railroad based on injuries caused by a defective track. The railroad removed the case to federal court on the theory that the complaint had invoked federal law. The district court granted a motion to remand, the railroad appealed. The court of appeals held that removal was proper because the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) authorized complete preemption of state-law tort claims over railroad accidents, thereby conferring jurisdiction on federal courts.
Public Citizen assisted plaintiff’s counsel in seeking Supreme Court review the question whether a federal statute, such as the FRSA, that creates no cause of action for the injured party provide a basis for federal jurisdiction and removal of a state tort claim filed in state court under the doctrine of complete preemption. The Court, however, denied the petition. The case then returned to the federal district court for further proceedings.