Just in Case You Didn’t Know . . .

International Union of Operating Engineers v. County of Plumas (Case No. 07-16001) (9th Cir. 2009)

The introduction to this recent Ninth Circuit case says it all:

“James M. Cain, whose novels were often adapted into film noir, described his body of work by saying ‘I write of the wish that comes true—for some reason, a terrifying concept.’ The plight of Plumas County would have doubtless piqued his interest.”

“Plumas County thought that federal court would provide a more hospitable forum for its defense against a suit seeking to compel arbitration, so it removed the action to federal court. The district court ordered Plumas County to arbitrate. Now, the County argues that the district court had no business deciding the question because the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case that the County removed. We conclude that Plumas was not barred from raising the jurisdictional argument and that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. We remand to the district court the question of whether attorneys fees should be assessed.”

If you have a few minutes in your day, this case is worth a read. The Ninth Circuit was clearly annoyed at having to issue a decision on what should have been obvious – that the National Labor Relations Act does not apply to public entities – and directs some choice language at both parties.

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