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U.S. Supreme Court

Thermtron Products, Inc. v. Hermansdorfer, 423 U.S. 336 (1976)

Thermtron Products, Inc. v. Hermansdorfer

No. 74-206

Argued October 7, 1975

Decided January 20, 1976

423 U.S. 336


Title 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) provides that "any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction" may be removed by the defendant to the federal district court, and § 1446 provides the removal procedure. Section 1447(c) provides for remand to the state court on the ground that the case was removed "improvidently and without jurisdiction," and § 1447(d) imposes a general bar against appellate review of a remand order. After two citizens of Kentucky had brought a damages action against petitioners, an Indiana corporation and its employee, a citizen of Indiana, petitioners removed the action to the Federal District Court under §§ 1441(a) and 1446. Thereafter respondent, the District Judge, though conceding that petitioners had the statutory right to remove the action to federal court, ordered the case remanded to the state court for trial, solely on the ground that his heavy docket would unjustly delay the plaintiffs from going to trial on the merits. Petitioners then filed in the Court of Appeals an alternative petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition on the ground that the action had been properly removed, and that respondent lacked authority to remand the case on the ground that he had asserted. The Court of Appeals denied the petition after concluding that (1) the District Court had jurisdiction to enter the remand order and (2) the Court of Appeals because of § 1447(d) had no jurisdiction to review that order. Petitioners concede that § 1447(d) prohibits appellate review of all remand orders issued pursuant to § 1447(c), whether erroneous or not, but maintain that the bar does not apply to remand on a ground not authorized by § 1447(c).


1. The District Court exceeded its authority in remanding the case on grounds not permitted by § 1447(c). Pp. 423 U. S. 342-345.

2. Section 1447(d), when construed as it must be in conjunction with § 1447(c), does not bar appellate review by mandamus of a remand order made on grounds not specified in § 1447(c), chanrobles.com-red

Page 423 U. S. 337

there being no indication either in the language or the legislative history of the provision that Congress intended to extend the bar against review to reach remand orders not based on statutory grounds. Pp. 423 U. S. 345-352.

3. Here, where the District Court had refused to adjudicate a case, and had remanded it on grounds not authorized by the removal statutes, mandamus was the proper remedy to compel the District Court to entertain the remanded action. Pp. 35353.

Reversed and remanded.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and POWELL, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J.,and STEWART, J., joined, post, p. 423 U. S. 353. STEVENS, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.


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