Lopez filed suit in state court against his employer Sentrillion (the appellant here), asserting state law claims arising out of a workplace injury that occurred on July 25, 2011. At the time of the accident, Lopez was working for Ramon R. Vaquera d/b/a Yucca Contracting, a subcontractor for Sentrillion, the general contractor, on a project for the United States Customs and Border Protection. Sentrillion filed a Third Party Petition in state court against the United States on October 4, 2012, seeking contribution and indemnification under the FTCA. The United States removed the case to federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a), the federal officer removal statute, on October 24.
The following day, the United States moved to dismiss the claims against it for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to the derivative jurisdiction doctrine. The district court initially denied the motion to dismiss, reasoning that the derivative jurisdiction doctrine did apply to removals under § 1442 but that the United States had waived the doctrine by removing the case to federal court. On the United States’ motion for reconsideration, however, the district court granted the motion to dismiss the third party claims against the United States. It continued to maintain that the derivative jurisdiction doctrine applied to removals under § 1442. But on reconsideration, it determined that Supreme Court precedent precluded its earlier finding that the United States had waived the derivative jurisdiction doctrine, at least here where the United States moved to dismiss the day after it removed the case to federal court. It explained that “when the [derivative jurisdiction] doctrine is raised promptly upon removal prior to adjudication of the merits, the doctrine must be invoked to limit the federal court’s jurisdiction, if any, to that of the state court.” The district court thus dismissed Sentrillion’s third-party claims against the United States for lack of jurisdiction on July 8, 2013.
Judge(s): Patrick E. Higginbotham
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Related Categories: Bankruptcy , Construction , Employment , Energy / Utilities , Government / Politics , Immigration , International , Torts , Wills / Trusts / Estates
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