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Breuer v. Jim's Concrete of Brevard, Inc.

538 U.S. 691, 123 S. Ct. 1882, 155 L. Ed. 2d 923 (2003)

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Breuer v. Jim’s Concrete of Brevard, Inc.

United States Supreme Court

538 U.S. 691, 123 S. Ct. 1882, 155 L. Ed. 2d 923 (2003)

Facts

Phillip T. Breuer (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit against his former employer, Jim’s Concrete of Brevard, Inc. (Jim’s Concrete) (defendant) in state court under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the act) for unpaid wages. Section 216(b) of the act provided that a lawsuit brought under the act could be maintained against an employer in any federal or state court with jurisdiction over the parties. Jim’s Concrete removed the case to federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), which allowed a defendant to remove a case filed in state court to federal court if the federal court had original jurisdiction over the case. Breuer moved to remand the case, arguing that the language of § 216(b), allowing a plaintiff to maintain a case in state or federal court, prohibited Jim’s Concrete from removing the case. Breuer highlighted the use of the term maintain to argue that Congress intended a case filed in one court to stay in that court until final judgment was rendered. The district court denied Breuer’s motion. The court of appeals affirmed the district court, holding that because § 216(b) did not expressly prohibit removal, the removal of Breuer’s case was proper. The court of appeals supported its holding by demonstrating that Congress had prohibited removal under other federal statutes by including language explicitly forbidding removal. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

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