Published on:

Federal Court Grants Motion to Remand in Putative Class Action Against Johns Hopkins Involving Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law

On May 23, 2024, after nearly a year of motions practice, Judge George L. Russell III of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland granted plaintiff’s motion to remand its putative class action to state court. Serving as local counsel, Silverman Thompson filed the class action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on January 19, 2023. The plaintiff, who has been employed as an hourly, non-exempt worker at Johns Hopkins Hospital (“Johns Hopkins”) for over thirty years, contends that Johns Hopkins has a policy of rounding employees’ hours resulting in illegal withholding of wages, failure to pay minimum wage, and failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law.

Johns Hopkins removed the matter to federal court more than seven months after receiving the complaint on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. Johns Hopkins argued that the United States District Court for the District of Maryland had jurisdiction pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, which provides the court subject matter jurisdiction over employment disputes governed by collective bargaining agreements. Plaintiff promptly filed a motion to remand maintaining that Johns Hopkins’ removal was untimely – in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1446, Johns Hopkins had thirty days following receipt of the complaint to file a notice of dismissal.

In its opposition, Johns Hopkins declared that its removal was timely because it first became aware on August 11, 2023, after analyzing the plaintiff’s opposition to Johns Hopkins’s motion for summary judgment, that the resolution of the claims brought against it require interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement. Consequently, Johns Hopkins argued that it filed its notice of removal twenty days after its alleged discovery and within the time limitation prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 1446.

The court agreed with plaintiff that Johns Hopkins was aware of its basis for removal at the outset of this case; specifically, Johns Hopkins’s answer to the complaint and its motion for summary judgment and accompanying exhibits, all filed more than thirty days prior to its removal, verified that it knew that the lawsuit was removable on the basis of collective bargaining agreements long before it in fact sought removal. Judge Russell agreed with plaintiff that his opposition to Johns Hopkins’s motion for summary judgment provided no new information regarding the applicability of a collective bargaining agreement and that Johns Hopkins demonstrated awareness of the purported basis for removal well before it removed the case to federal court. Thus, the federal court remanded the matter back to state court.

Silverman Thompson has handled numerous class action matters on both the plaintiff and defense sides and at the state and federal levels. To discuss this case or how we may be able to help you, please contact Bill Sinclair for a free consultation at 800.385.2243.

Contact Information