BREUER v. JIM'S CONCRETE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
02-337
Petitioner 
Breuer
Respondent 
Jim's Concrete
Advocates
(Department of Justice, argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Facts of the Case 

Philip Breuer sued in state court to resolve an overtime dispute under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Attorneys for Breuer's employer, Jim's Concrete of Brevard, had the case moved to federal court by citing the federal removal statute. According to the statute, defendants in state court cases dealing with federal laws may have the case moved to federal court "unless otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress." Breuer's attorney argued that Congress had provided for suits under the FLSA to be heard in state court and that the case should therefore be returned to state court; attorneys for Jim's Concrete disagreed. The district court refused to send the case back to state court. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

Question 

In providing for suits under the FLSA, did Congress bar removal of such actions from state to federal court?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Jim's Concrete, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Fair Labor Standards

No. In a unanimous opinion delivered David H. Souter, the Court held that the FLSA does not bar removal of a suit from state to federal court, thus Breuer's case was properly removed under section 1441. The Court reasoned that nothing on the face of the FLSA looked like an express prohibition of removal, there being no mention of removal, let alone of prohibition, given that word "maintain" and its bearing on removal was ambiguous at best. Rejecting all of Breuer's arguments, the Court noted that numerous other statutes provided indisputable prohibitions of removal, which demonstrated Congress's intent to give plaintiffs an absolute choice of forum in unmistakable terms.

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BREUER v. JIM'S CONCRETE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 05 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_337>.
BREUER v. JIM'S CONCRETE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_337 (last visited April 5, 2014).
"BREUER v. JIM'S CONCRETE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 5, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_337.