The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolin, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on motions of both parties.
Plaintiff, Michael Naples, moves (1) to amend his Complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), in an attempt to remove all
federal questions from his Complaint and (2) to remand to state court.
Defendant, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, moves for
dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The Court has considered this motion on the papers pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons stated below, the
Court will permit the amendment to the Complaint and remand this case to
Bergen County Superior Court.
The following facts, derived predominantly from the pleadings, are
taken as true only for the purpose of deciding the motions before the
Plaintiff, an employee of defendant until October 1998, claims that he
was injured in an automobile accident on defendant's roadway in January
1998. (See Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 14). After the accident, "defendant
instructed the plaintiff and his family to submit all bills for medical
and rehabilitative treatment through Workers' Compensation. . . ." (See
id. ¶ 6). On April 23, 1998, despite defendant's alleged assurances,
defendant denied plaintiffs workers' compensation claims. (See id. ¶
7). Defendant then terminated plaintiffs employment in October 1998. (See
id. ¶¶ 9, 12, 14). Plaintiff claims he was fired due to his
On September 8, 1999, plaintiff filed a Complaint in Bergen County
Superior Court. The Complaint alleged, inter alia) disability
discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
("NJLAD") and a breach of a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") which
governed the parties' employment relationship.
Thereafter, on November 17, 1999, defendant removed the Complaint to
this Court. Defendant claimed, in the Notice of Removal, that Count Four
— breach of the CBA — served as a basis for federal
jurisdiction. Specifically, defendant stated that Count Four required an
interpretation of the CBA and, therefore, was completely preempted by
§ 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA").
Defendant disagrees. Defendant argues that all counts of the Amended
Complaint require the interpretation of the CBA and are, therefore,
preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act. Defendant, thus,
concludes that the Amended Complaint is properly within the subject
matter jurisdiction of this Court.*fn3 Assuming the Court has
jurisdiction, defendant argues that the Court should dismiss the
Complaint because plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
under the CBA.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) permits a plaintiff to amend his
complaint "once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive
pleading is served." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). In the context of this case, a
"responsive pleading" is an answer to the complaint. See 6 Charles A.
Wright, Arthur R. Miller, Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure,
¶ 1475 (2d ed. 1990).
Here, defendant has not filed its answer. Therefore, the Court must