Merrell Dow / Grable

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Merrell Dow / Grable

Postby bostonlawstudent34 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:53 pm

Any help would be much appreciated. I'm trying to reconcile the implied right of action test from MD and the substantial federal element test of Grable.

Would one apply both when deciding whether a state law claim with a federal question can be in federal court? Has Grable overturned MD?

It seems it's very hard to pass the implied ROA test (I keep reading if Congress had intended for there to be a right of action, it would have said so).


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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:36 pm

Re: Merrell Dow / Grable

Postby eroosevelt » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:02 am

So my understanding is that Grable is the better test to use. I see the Grable test as:

1) The state law claim must necessarily raise a stated federal issue
2) The federal issue must actually disputed and is substantial
3) Exercise of jurisdiction over the claim must preserve the congressionally approved balance between federal and state responsibilities

I reconcile Merrell Dow like this: allowing federal jurisdiction on the theory that defendant was negligent for violating a federal statute would disrupt the balance of power by allowing state-law negligence claims to flood the federal courts. Evidence of congressional intent to preclude jurisdiction over certain types of claims (like in Merrell Dow) would be a factor to consider under the third prong of the Grable test. Hope that helps.

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