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Workers’ Compensation Lawsuit against Lowe’s Home Centers Sent Back to State Court

A federal judge recently remanded Plaintiff’s case for retaliatory termination and workers compensation bad faith to Arizona State Court as the Federal Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Specifically, U.S.C. § 1445(c) provides; “A civil action in any State court arising under the workmen’s compensation laws of such State may not be removed to any district court of the United States.”

While working for Lowe’s Home Centers (“Lowe’s”), our client was descending a ladder when he suffered an Achilles tear.  He immediately reported the issue and later filed for workers’ comp benefits. Lowe’s was insured through New Hampshire Insurance Company who then wrongfully denied the claim alleging it was a pre-existing injury, an improper basis under Arizona law and directly rejected by our client’s doctor.

To further add insult to injury, in response to the on-the-job injury, Lowe’s continually harassed our client regarding the claim because Lowe’s had a Self-Insured Retention for its workers’ compensation insurance – meaning Lowe’s actually paid the benefits to our client as opposed to New Hampshire. Eventually, Lowe’s terminated our client for filing the workers’ compensation claim.

In response, Plaintiff initiated suit in Maricopa County Superior Court for bad faith against New Hampshire and wrongful termination against Lowe’s. On November 21, 2014, Defendants improperly removed this case to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona citing diversity jurisdiction, under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, as the sole basis for removal.

In removing this case, Defendants completely ignored that our client’s claim for wrongful termination arises under the worker’s compensation laws of the state of Arizona. Mike Doyle, the lead attorney for this case, is pleased the Federal Court has determined this case in non-removable and look forward to fighting for this client’s relief in the proper venue.