SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
OCTOBER TERM, 2002
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eleventh circuit
No. 02-306. Argued April 30, 2003—Decided June 2, 2003
Respondents, who secured loans from petitioner national bank, filed a state-court suit against the bank and two other petitioners, seeking damages on the theory, among others, that the bank's interest rates violated "the common law usury doctrine" and an Alabama usury statute. The complaint did not refer to any federal law. Petitioners removed the case to Federal District Court, asserting that the National Bank Act governs the interest rate that a national bank may charge, see 12 U. S. C. § 85, that the rates charged to respondents complied with § 85, that § 86 provides the exclusive remedies available against a national bank charging excessive interest, and that respondents' action was therefore one "arising under" federal law that could be removed under 28 U. S. C. § 1441. The District Court denied respondents' motion to remand the case to state court, but certified the question whether it had jurisdiction to the Eleventh Circuit. In reversing, the latter court held that under the "well-pleaded complaint" rule, removal is not permitted unless the complaint expressly alleges a federal claim, and that the narrow exception known as the complete pre-emption doctrine did not apply because there was no evidence of clear congressional intent to permit removal under §§ 85 and 86.
Held: Respondents' cause of action arose only under federal law and could, therefore, be removed under § 1441. Pp. 6-11.
1Page: Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
Last modified: October 4, 2007