Plaintiff sued under state law for sale of their property using a federal notice statute to challenge the sale claiming that service of the notice was improper. Both parties are Michigan citizens so bringing the case to federal court through diversity jurisdiction is not an option. Defendant removes to federal court and federal question jurisdiction is found to be proper.
If the action has a substantial federal component in actual controversy, and federal jurisdiction would not cause a flood of cases into federal court, then a federal court may exercise jurisdiction over a state law claim.
The IRS seized property of Plaintiff Grable because he failed to pay federal back taxes. The IRS notified Plaintiff Grable using statutorily guaranteed notice through certified mail alerting him of the upcoming sale. The IRS sold Plaintiff Grable’s property to Defendant Darue. Five years later, Plaintiff Grable sued Defendant Darue in state court to quiet title alleging he did not receive proper notice under 26 U.S.C. § 6335 which required personal service, and that the IRS only used certified mail. Defendant Darue removed the case to federal court.
Does a state law claim give rise to federal question jurisdiction if the plaintiff’s right to relief depends on a substantial question of federal law, and therefore allow the case to be properly removed to federal court?
Yes. A state law claim gives rise to federal question jurisdiction if the plaintiff’s right to relief depends on a substantial disputed question of federal law, and the case may thus be brought in federal court.
Justice Justice Thomas