McClelland v. Gronwaldt ( 1998 )


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  •                  IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
                               FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
    
    
    
                                      No. 97-40592
    
    
    
         JERRY C. McCLELLAND,
    
                                                      Plaintiff-Appellant,
    
                versus
    
    
         ROBERT C. GRONWALDT, Individually and as
         agent for Mobil Oil Corporation; MOBIL OIL
         CORPORATION; NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE
         COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, PA,
    
                                                      Defendants-Appellees.
    
    
    
    
             Appeal from the United States District Court for the
                           Eastern District of Texas
    
                                    September 9, 1998
    
    Before GARWOOD, SMITH and EMILIO M. GARZA, Circuit Judges.
    
    GARWOOD, Circuit Judge:
    
         Plaintiff-appellant Jerry C. McClelland (McClelland) requested
    
    and received certification under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) to appeal the
    
    district court’s denial of his motion to remand his suit to state
    
    court.      We   hold    that    the   district   court   erred   in   denying
    
    McClelland’s motion to remand, and we reverse the district court’s
    
    order and direct that the case be remanded to the state court.
    
                            Facts and Proceedings Below
         In 1988, McClelland was allegedly injured in the course of his
    
    employment at a   refinery located in Beaumont, Texas, and operated
    
    by his employer, defendant-appellee Mobil Oil Corporation (Mobil).
    
    The injury required medical attention, and McClelland subsequently
    
    filed a related claim for workers’ compensation under the Texas
    
    workers’ compensation act.   Dissatisfied with the handling of his
    
    claim, McClelland brought this suit in Texas state court against
    
    Robert C. Gronwaldt, the individual who had handled his claim;
    
    National Union Fire Insurance Company, which provided Mobil’s
    
    workers’ compensation insurance; and Mobil.1
    
         McClelland’s original suit, filed in December of 1992, alleged
    
    a variety of state law causes of action arising principally out of
    
    the manner in which his particular workers’ compensation claim had
    
    been handled.2    McClelland subsequently amended his complaint to
    
    allege that Mobil was violating state insurance and workers’
    
    compensation laws by conspiring with National Union to allow
    
    workers’ compensation claims to be adjusted by employees of a Mobil
    
    subsidiary, rather than by independent claims adjusters as is
    
    allegedly required under state law.   He also asserted that Mobil’s
    
    
    1
           To the extent that there is no relevant distinction to be
    made among them, the three defendants-appellees will be referred to
    collectively as "Mobil" in the interest of simplicity.
    2
         He alleged, inter alia, breach of good faith and fair dealing
    in handling of insurance claim, violations of the Texas Insurance
    Code, violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,
    negligent handling of an insurance claim, intentional infliction of
    emotional distress, and breach of insurance contract.
    
                                     2
    purported workers’ compensation plan violated both state workers’
    
    compensation law and state insurance law and regulations.3
    
         Alleging that the defendant-appellees had conspired to defraud
    
    him and similarly situated individuals of the benefits to which
    
    they were entitled under their workers’ compensation insurance,
    
    McClelland sought certification of a class of persons consisting
    
    generally of all individuals employed by Mobil in the state of
    
    Texas whose workers’ compensation claims were handled, settled, or
    
    adjusted by a Mobil employee between 1988 and 1993.      The state
    
    trial court granted class certification on June 20, 1994.
    
         During the time McClelland’s case was pending in the Texas
    
    state courts, Mobil was undergoing a nationwide restructuring.
    
    Seeking to reduce its workforce, Mobil began offering voluntary
    
    separation benefit packages to its employees.   In 1992, a uniform
    
    plan, referred to as the "Enhanced Separation Benefits Package"
    
    (ESBP), was offered to employees of "all impacted units." The ESBP
    
    was eventually offered to employees of the Beaumont refinery.
    
         The ESBP was initially available only to non-union employees
    
    3
         The gravamen of the class action suit is that Mobil conspired
    with various other entities to create the impression that Mobil was
    providing workers’ compensation pursuant to the laws and applicable
    regulations of the state of Texas, when in fact Mobil was engaging
    in an allegedly unlawful form of "self insurance" and was allowing
    workers’ compensation claims to be adjusted by Mobil employees,
    rather than by independent adjusters, which also allegedly violates
    state law. The claims asserted include, inter alia, breach of good
    faith and fair dealing, fraudulent representations regarding
    coverage, negligent handling of claims, willful denial of
    meritorious claims, and the handling of claims in violation of
    various state insurance regulations.
    
                                    3
    at the Beaumont refinery.            But Mobil subsequently negotiated a
    
    Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), dated September 1, 1995, with the
    
    Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers International Union (the Union),
    
    which extended a plan analogous to the ESBP to Mobil employees in
    
    the bargaining units represented by the Union.                  The ESBP and MOA
    
    both    required    participating        employees   to   sign    a   "Separation
    
    Agreement" that included a broad waiver provision, releasing "all
    
    claims"     arising    from       both    the   employee’s       employment   and
    
    termination.       Due at least in part to the interlocutory appeal of
    
    the class certification, many of the potential members of the class
    
    were not promptly notified of the class action, and McClelland, as
    
    class representative, became concerned that the broad release
    
    included in the separation agreement could be construed to waive
    
    those     claims    that   were    the    subject    of   the    class   action.4
    
    Consequently, McClelland filed in the state court case a motion
    
    dated September 27, 1995, seeking an injunction prohibiting "Mobil
    
    from continuing with this particular program [i.e., the ESBP and
    
    MOA] to the extent it requires releasing causes of action that the
    
    plaintiffs may have."5
    
    4
          The class certification order was affirmed by the Beaumont
    Court of Appeals in a December 29, 1994, unpublished opinion, and
    rehearing was denied January 19, 1995. Gronwaldt v. McClelland,
    No. 09-94-238CV, 
    1994 WL 720018
     (Tex.App.——Beaumont). Apparently,
    thereafter review or relief in the Texas Supreme Court was
    unsuccessfully sought.
    5
          On July 26, 1995, McClelland had filed in the state court a
    request for, and that court had granted, a similar temporary
    restraining order (TRO) which expired by its own terms ten days
    
                                              4
         On October 17, 1995, Mobil filed a notice of removal, alleging
    
    that the plaintiffs’ motion for injunctive relief asserted claims
    
    subject to "complete preemption" and therefore created federal
    
    question jurisdiction supporting removal.               Specifically, Mobil
    
    contended that the attempt to enjoin execution of the MOA, a
    
    collective    bargaining     agreement    (CBA),        triggered       complete
    
    preemption   under   the   Labor   Management    Relations       Act6    (LMRA),
    
    section 301,7 because resolution of the plaintiffs’ claim for
    
    injunctive relief was substantially dependent on the terms of the
    
    MOA and would require the state court to interpret the release
    
    provision contained in the Separation Agreement. Mobil also argued
    
    that the plaintiffs’ motion gave rise to complete preemption under
    
    the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 19748 (ERISA),
    
    asserting    that    the   ESBP    constituted     an    ERISA      plan   and,
    
    consequently, that any attempt to enjoin the administration of the
    
    ESBP in state court was completely preempted under ERISA and thus
    
    constituted a federal claim sufficient to provide a jurisdictional
    
    basis for removal.
    
    
    
    later. McClelland’s September 27, 1995, filing also sought a TRO,
    which was granted, and a temporary and permanent injunction. The
    case was removed before any injunction was acted on and the TRO
    apparently expired by its own terms before or a few days after
    removal.
    6
         29 U.S.C. § 141, et seq.
    7
         29 U.S.C. § 185(a).
    8
         29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq.
    
                                         5
           On October 23, 1995, McClelland filed a motion to remand the
    
    case   to    state   court,   arguing,      inter   alia,   that   removal      was
    
    improvident     because    the   motion     for    injunctive   relief    was    so
    
    tangential to LMRA or ERISA concerns that it was insufficient to
    
    trigger "complete preemption" so as to provide the federal district
    
    court with removal jurisdiction under either statute.               McClelland
    
    also pointed out that the motion upon which the removal was based
    
    would soon become moot because the "self-nomination" period during
    
    which employees could elect to participate in the MOA and ESBP
    
    plans was relatively short and had already commenced.                        As a
    
    consequence, McClelland asserted, unless injunctive relief were to
    
    be   granted    almost    immediately     the     plaintiffs’   request   for     a
    
    "restraining order will be moot and there will be absolutely no
    
    federal question left for this court to decide."
    
           In a memorandum opinion dated November 16, 1995, the district
    
    court denied the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case to state
    
    court.      
    909 F. Supp. 457
     (E.D. Tex. 1995).         The district court held
    
    that the motion for injunctive relief asserted claims that were
    
    completely preempted by both the LMRA and ERISA, thereby providing
    
    a basis for federal question jurisdiction, and further determined
    
    that it properly exercised supplemental jurisdiction over the
    
    underlying state law claims.
    
           Subsequent to the district court’s denial of the motion to
    
    remand, the case appears to have languished in federal court with
    
    
    
                                            6
    little significant progress for almost a year.         Then, on October 4,
    
    1996, the district court held a hearing regarding all pending
    
    motions.    At this hearing, questions regarding the propriety of
    
    removal and the district court’s subject matter jurisdiction were
    
    raised and argued at some length.         These proceedings prompted the
    
    district court to note that "[s]ince the October 4, 1996 hearing it
    
    became clear to this court that there is a substantial difference
    
    of opinion on whether the state court’s TRO involved, and will
    
    likely involve as a matter of law, an interpretation of a CBA or
    
    the interpretation and administration of an ERISA plan" sufficient
    
    to sustain its jurisdiction under a theory of complete preemption.
    
    McClelland v. Gronwaldt, 
    958 F. Supp. 280
    , 283 (E.D. Tex. 1995).
    
         On    February   19,   1997,   the   district   court   certified   its
    
    November 16, 1995, order for interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28
    
    U.S.C. § 1292(b), identifying three "controlling" questions of law
    
    regarding the propriety of its continued retention of jurisdiction
    
    over the case sub judice.9
    
    9
          The questions, as formulated by the district court, are as
    follows:
    
              "I) whether the state court's TRO and the
         plaintiff's state court pleading seeking a permanent
         injunction would require the state courts to interpret
         and administer a CBA, thus vesting this court with
         jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331;
              II) whether the state court's TRO and the
         plaintiff's state court pleading seeking a permanent
         injunction would require the state courts to interpret
         and administer an ERISA plan, thus vesting this court
         with jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331; and
              III) whether, if this court had federal question
    
                                          7
                                      Discussion
    
          Our   analysis   in   this   appeal      involves   two   steps   and   two
    
    standards of review.         First, the district court’s preemption
    
    analysis, based upon which the court held that it had federal
    
    question jurisdiction, is a determination of original jurisdiction
    
    subject to de novo review.         Hook v. Morrison Milling Co., 
    38 F.3d 776
    , 780 (5th Cir. 1994); Carpenter v. Wichita Falls Indep. School
    
    Dist., 
    44 F.3d 362
    , 365 (5th Cir. 1995).               Second, we review the
    
    district court’s retention of jurisdiction of the state law claims
    
    for abuse of discretion.      Hook, 38 F.3d at 780 (citing In re Wilson
    
    Indus., 
    886 F.2d 93
    , 95-96 (5th Cir. 1989)).10
    
    I.    Complete Preemption and Removal
    
          Pursuant to statute, removal is generally available to the
    
    defendant in "any civil action brought in a State court of which
    
    the    district   courts     of    the       United   States    have    original
    
    jurisdiction" founded on the existence of a claim or right "arising
    
    
    
          jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 at the time of
          removal, this court now has supplemental jurisdiction
          over all state law claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367."
    
    McClelland v. Gronwaldt, 
    958 F. Supp. 280
    , 283 (E.D. Tex. 1995).
    10
           See also Jones v. Roadway Express, Inc., 
    936 F.2d 789
    , 792
    (5th Cir. 1991) ("The Supreme Court has held that, under the
    doctrine of pendent jurisdiction, a federal district court has
    discretion to remand a properly removed case to state court when
    all federal-law claims have been eliminated and only pendent state-
    law claims remain.") (citation omitted); and Parker & Parsley
    Petroleum Co. v. Dresser Indus., 
    972 F.2d 580
    , 585 (5th Cir. 1992)
    (stating standard of review).
    
                                             8
    under" federal law.       28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) and (b).           In the case at
    
    bar, although no federal issue appeared on the face of the motion
    
    for injunctive relief that provided the basis for removal, the
    
    district court held that it had "federal question" jurisdiction
    
    based on theories of complete preemption under both the LMRA and
    
    ERISA.    While federal courts typically ascertain the existence of
    
    federal question jurisdiction by applying the familiar "well-
    
    pleaded complaint" rule,11 there exists a "corollary" to this rule,
    
    which is most frequently referred to as the doctrine of "complete
    
    preemption."     This     doctrine   has   been   used   to   define     limited
    
    categories of state law claims that are "completely preempted" such
    
    that "any civil complaint raising this select group of claims is
    
    necessarily     federal     in   character,"      no    matter     how   it   is
    
    characterized    by   the    complainant    in    the    relevant     pleading.
    
    Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 
    107 S. Ct. 1542
    , 1546 (1987).
    
    In effect, the application of complete preemption "converts an
    
    ordinary state common law complaint into one stating a federal
    
    claim for purposes of the well-pleaded complaint rule."                  Id. at
    
    1547.    Because they are recast as federal claims, state law claims
    
    that are held to be completely preempted give rise to "federal
    
    
    
    
    11
            Ordinarily our "arising under" analysis focuses on the
    plaintiffs’ well-pleaded complaint, for "[i]t is long-settled law
    that a cause of action arises under federal law only when the
    plaintiff’s well pleaded complaint raises issues of federal law."
    Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 
    107 S. Ct. 1542
    , 1546 (1987).
    
                                          9
    question" jurisdiction and thus may provide a basis for removal.12
    
    The Supreme Court has held the doctrine of complete preemption
    
    applicable to certain claims preempted by ERISA, as well as to
    
    certain claims preempted by the LMRA.13
    
    II.   LMRA Preemption
    
          We begin by addressing the district court’s first certified
    
    question, whether the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief
    
    necessarily required the state court to interpret a collective
    
    
    12
            We have summarized the effect of complete preemption as
    follows:
    
          "Under this doctrine, ‘Congress may so completely pre-
          empt a particular area that any civil complaint raising
          this select group of claims is necessarily federal in
          character,’ and the case may be removed even if no
          federal claim is asserted in the complaint and federal
          preemption, raised as a defense, is the only issue of
          federal law implicated in the case."       Anderson v.
          Electronic Data Systems Corp., 
    11 F.3d 1311
    , 1315 (5th
          Cir. 1994) (quoting Taylor, 107 S.Ct. at 1546).
    13
          The Supreme Court first applied what has come to be referred
    to as complete preemption in Avco Corp. v. Aero Lodge No. 735,
    Int’l Assn. of Machinists, 
    88 S. Ct. 1235
    , 1237 (1968), in which the
    Court not only held that a state action for breach of contract,
    where the contract in question was a collective bargaining
    agreement, was preempted by section 301 of the LMRA, but also held
    that although the plaintiff had relied solely on state law and had
    chosen to bring suit in state court, the preemptive power of the
    LMRA was sufficient that the claim nevertheless "arose under"
    federal law, thus creating federal question jurisdiction.       The
    Supreme Court subsequently explained that "the preemptive force of
    § 301 is so powerful as to displace entirely" state actions for
    breach of a collective bargaining agreement. Franchise Tax Board
    v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 
    103 S. Ct. 2841
    , 2847
    (1983). In Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 
    107 S. Ct. 1542
    (1987), the Supreme Court extended the doctrine of complete
    preemption to state actions falling within the preemptive scope of
    ERISA’s civil enforcement provision, section 502(a).
    
                                    10
    bargaining agreement, thereby triggering complete preemption under
    
    the LMRA.
    
         The displacement of conflicting state laws and the provision
    
    of a federal forum pursuant to "complete preemption" under the LMRA
    
    function to "ensure uniform interpretation of collective-bargaining
    
    agreements,     and    thus   to   promote       the   peaceable,   consistent
    
    resolution of labor-management disputes."              Lingle v. Norge Div.,
    
    Magic Chef, Inc., 
    108 S. Ct. 1877
    , 1880 (1988).             See also Teamsters
    
    v. Lucas Flour Co., 
    82 S. Ct. 571
    , 576-77 (1962).                To further this
    
    goal, "if the resolution of a state-law claim depends upon the
    
    meaning of a collective-bargaining agreement, the application of
    
    state law (which might lead to inconsistent results since there
    
    could be as many state-law principles as there are States) is
    
    preempted and federal labor-law principles——necessarily uniform
    
    throughout the Nation——must be employed to resolve the dispute."
    
    Lingle, 108 S.Ct. at 1881.         Thus, complete preemption under the
    
    LMRA applies when "resolution of a state law claim is substantially
    
    dependent upon analysis of the terms of an agreement made between
    
    parties to a labor contract."          Wells v. General Motors Corp., 
    881 F.2d 166
    , 172 (5th Cir. 1989).
    
         In   the   case   sub    judice   it   is    uncontested    that   the   MOA
    
    qualified as a CBA and that the waiver provision contained in the
    
    accompanying Separation Agreement was an integral part of that
    
    
    
    
                                           11
    agreement.14 Applying Lingle, the district court considered whether
    
    resolution of the plaintiffs’ motion depended on the terms of a CBA
    
    and concluded that "[t]he temporary restraining order sought by the
    
    Plaintiffs [would] necessarily require[] the state court to make an
    
    interpretation of the MOA and the relevant Separation Agreements."
    
    909 F.Supp. at 463.       Because resolution of the plaintiffs’ motion
    
    would have necessitated construal of the waiver provision contained
    
    in the Separation Agreement and possibly the interaction of that
    
    provision    with   the     MOA,    the    district   court   held   that    the
    
    plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction triggered complete preemption,
    
    thus creating federal question jurisdiction.
    
         As    discussed      above,    the    fundamental   rationale    of    LMRA
    
    preemption is to promote uniformity in the law used to interpret
    
    CBAs by mandating the application of federal law and by providing
    
    a federal forum.       Obviously this rationale, and consequently the
    
    applicability of complete preemption, endure only so long as there
    
    is   a    live,   persisting       "dispute,"   the   resolution     of    which
    
    "substantially depends" on the interpretation of a CBA.                      The
    
    district court’s memorandum opinion and accompanying order are
    
    dated November 16, 1995, and are "time stamped" as having been
    
    
    
    14
           As we held in Thomas v. LTV Corp., 
    39 F.3d 611
     (5th Cir.
    1994), to the extent that an agreement between an employer and
    employee cannot be construed independently of a CBA——as for example
    when the agreement seeks to limit or condition a CBA——the
    purportedly separate agreement "is subject to a preemption analysis
    just as if it was a CBA." Id. at 618.
    
                                              12
    filed with the clerk of the court at 4:24 p.m. on that day.
    
    Pursuant   to   a   negotiated   provision   of   the   MOA,   the   "self-
    
    nomination" or "election" period for participation in that program
    
    expired on November 17, 1995, the day after the court rendered the
    
    order denying remand. This temporal proximity raises the threshold
    
    question whether, at the time the district court rendered its
    
    decision, there still existed a live issue as to the potential
    
    interpretation of the waiver provisions by a state court. If there
    
    was no realistic possibility that a state court could rule on the
    
    plaintiffs’ motion for injunctive relief during the “election”
    
    period, then the LMRA preemption issue was moot and the district
    
    court erred in considering it as providing a basis for federal
    
    question jurisdiction.     Had the case been remanded on November 16,
    
    1995, under the federal rules governing post-remand procedures, no
    
    state court could have exercised jurisdiction over the case until
    
    a certified copy of the remand order had been mailed by the clerk
    
    of the federal district court to the clerk of the state court.          See
    
    28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).15      Given the time necessarily involved in
    
    
    15
            Section 1447(c) provides, in pertinent part, that upon
    determination that a case should be remanded, "[a] certified copy
    of the order of remand shall be mailed by the clerk to the clerk of
    the State court. The State court may thereupon proceed with such
    case." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
         It should be noted that the actual mailing of the remand order
    has legal significance in determining the time at which the
    district court is divested of jurisdiction. See, e.g., Browning v.
    Navarro, 
    743 F.2d 1069
    , 1078-79 (5th Cir. 1984) (citing cases and
    treatises generally supporting the proposition that pursuant to the
    language of section 1447(c), a federal court is completely divested
    
                                       13
    mailing a certified copy of the remand order to the clerk of the
    
    state court as well as the time required to schedule and recommence
    
    proceedings, the potential for a state court to rule on the motion
    
    for injunctive relief before the “election” period under the MOA
    
    expired was negligible on the date that the district court rendered
    
    its decision.   Thus, while at the time the case was removed, a
    
    state court ruling on the plaintiffs’ motion was imminent, by the
    
    time the district court rendered its opinion, the possibility of a
    
    state court’s interpreting the MOA had, for all practical purposes,
    
    ceased to exist.   Consequently, the issue had become effectively
    
    moot, and the court should not have based its continuing federal
    
    question jurisdiction on complete preemption under the LMRA.
    
         The district court’s analysis is also subject to a second,
    
    more fundamental, mootness problem.    It is axiomatic that "[a]
    
    request for injunctive relief remains live only so long as there is
    
    some present harm left to enjoin."16   This is a corollary of the
    
    more general rule that "[a] case is moot when it no longer presents
    
    a live controversy with respect to which the court can give
    
    meaningful relief." Pacific Ins. Co. v. General Development Corp.,
    
    
    28 F.3d 1093
    , 1096 (11th Cir. 1994).     The relief sought by the
    
    plaintiffs was an injunction restraining Mobil from soliciting
    
    
    
    of jurisdiction once it mails a certified copy of the order to the
    clerk of the state court.).
    
    16 Taylor v
    . Resolution Trust Corp., 
    56 F.3d 1497
    , 1502 (D.C.
    Cir. 1995).
    
                                    14
    waivers under the ESBP and MOA plans from potential class members.
    
    This relief was requested on September 27, 1995, near the beginning
    
    of the election period under the MOA.17   By November 16, 1995, the
    
    "harm" that the plaintiffs had sought to enjoin was virtually
    
    complete.   Irrespective of a court’s ruling on the motion, the
    
    election period, and the concomitant harm alleged by plaintiffs,
    
    would end the next day.   Thus, no "meaningful relief" as to the MOA
    
    remained available under the motion at the time of the district
    
    court’s decision.18
    
    17
            The district court found that the MOA "probably became
    effective September 17, 1995." 909 F.Supp. at 459.
    18
          We note this potential mootness problem was raised at several
    points by the plaintiffs. In the motion to remand, it was asserted
    that the relief sought would be effectively unavailable within a
    relatively short period of time and as a consequence that
    plaintiffs’ request for a "restraining order will be moot and there
    will be absolutely no federal question left for the court to
    decide." After the district court denied the motion to remand,
    class counsel took the position that the motion had been mooted
    because the "self-nomination" period had expired. In the October
    4, 1996, hearing, plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the plaintiffs
    had consistently, from the time of the motion to remand, taken the
    position that the motion was moot, and in open court repeatedly
    stated that plaintiffs were no longer seeking any type of
    injunctive relief. The transcript of the October 4, 1996, hearing
    indicates that counsel for the McClelland class claimed that "in
    addressing the court about this issue we took the position that it
    was moot, that we were no longer seeking the relief sought, because
    we couldn’t get it. And if there is any question about that, then
    I’ll formally request that the pleading be withdrawn at this time."
         The district court noted that the plaintiffs failed to
    formally amend or withdraw the motion. 958 F.Supp. at 282 n.4.
    This misses the relevance of plaintiffs’ argument as to mootness.
    The question we consider is not whether the plaintiffs took
    sufficient steps to withdraw their motion.       Rather, assuming,
    arguendo, that the motion was not withdrawn, the question is
    whether any court was in a position to provide the plaintiffs
    meaningful relief.
    
                                     15
         Thus, even if——contrary to the reasoning above——there existed
    
    some abstract possibility that a state court might rule on the
    
    plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, the first day on which
    
    it could do so would appear to have been the day on which the
    
    election   period   under   the    MOA    expired   by    its   own    terms.
    
    Consequently, at least as it pertained to the MOA, the plaintiffs’
    
    motion for injunctive relief had become moot by the time the
    
    district   court    rendered      its    November   16,    1995,      order.19
    
    Accordingly, the district court erred in treating the motion as a
    
    "live" pleading for purposes of its LMRA preemption analysis.              In
    
    sum, because the motion for injunctive relief, at least as it
    
    related to the MOA, had become moot, and because there was no
    
    longer any possibility that a state court would rule on the motion
    
    
    
    19
          We are not persuaded by Mobil’s argument that because it has
    not relinquished the "right" to reimplement a similar program this
    issue is not moot. The MOA is a collectively-bargained instrument,
    and Mobil did not retain any "right" under the MOA to unilaterally
    extend the election period or to reinstate the agreement. Thus,
    Mobil, whatever it might have the right to do apart from Union
    agreement, could not reinstitute a similar program as a part of or
    pursuant to the MOA without negotiating a new agreement with the
    Union. Moreover, Mobil does not even claim to have (or have had)
    any specific plans to reimplement a similar separation benefits
    program involving the union workers at the Beaumont refinery. Nor
    does Mobil assert that it intends to pursue renegotiation with the
    Union regarding the implementation of such a plan. Thus, Mobil’s
    argument that it could recommence the behavior sought to be
    enjoined is unsupported speculation——and self-serving speculation
    at that. Mobil’s mere assertion that it might, at some point in
    the future, reinstate a similar benefit containing a similar
    separation agreement and waiver clause, without any specific
    allegation whatsoever that it actually plans to do so, is
    insufficient to prevent mootness.
    
                                        16
    during the MOA “election” period, we hold that the district court
    
    erred in relying on complete preemption under the LMRA as a
    
    continuing basis of federal question jurisdiction in its November
    
    16, 1995, denial of plaintiffs’ motion to remand.20
    
    III.    ERISA Preemption
    
           The second question identified by the district court in its
    
    certifying    opinion    is     whether    the    plaintiffs’   request   for
    
    injunctive relief "would require the state courts to interpret and
    
    administer an ERISA plan, thus vesting this [district] court with
    
    [removal] jurisdiction." 958 F.Supp. at 283. Because the district
    
    court   applied   the   wrong    standard    in   determining   whether   the
    
    plaintiffs’   motion    for     injunctive   relief    triggered   "complete
    
    preemption" as opposed to "ordinary preemption," we hold that the
    
    
    
    20
          Mobil argues in its brief on appeal that we must review this
    case on the facts as they existed at the time of removal and that
    any subsequent events are irrelevant to our review. Although Mobil
    is correct that we typically review questions of subject matter
    jurisdiction on the basis of the facts as they existed when the
    relevant pleading was filed, our review is not similarly limited
    when determining questions of mootness. "Events both before and
    after the filing of a claim may render a claimant’s case moot.
    Mootness doctrine requires that the controversy posed by a
    complaint be present throughout the litigation process," Baccus v.
    Parrish, 
    45 F.3d 958
    , 961 (5th Cir. 1995) (internal quotation marks
    and citation omitted). See also Carr v. Alta Verde Industries,
    Inc., 
    931 F.2d 1055
    , 1061 (5th Cir. 1991) (stating that all
    questions of subject matter jurisdiction except mootness are
    determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint, and
    subsequent events do not deprive the court of jurisdiction). See
    generally, 19 Moore’s Federal Practice § 205.02[3][a] (3d ed. 1998)
    ("A controversy may be or become moot at any stage of the
    proceedings due to a change in circumstances that ends the harm or
    resolves the dispute.") (collecting cases).
    
                                          17
    court erred in concluding that it had removal jurisdiction based on
    
    ERISA preemption.
    
         In its denial of plaintiffs’ motion to remand, the district
    
    court framed its ERISA preemption analysis solely in terms of
    
    whether the plaintiffs’ motion for injunctive relief sufficiently
    
    "related to" an ERISA plan so as to be preempted, applying the
    
    standard   for   determining      ordinary    preemption    and        failing   to
    
    consider   the   additional    requirements       necessary       to    implicate
    
    "complete preemption." In analyzing whether the plaintiffs’ claims
    
    "related to" an ERISA plan, the court concluded that although "the
    
    underlying state tort claims in this case do not necessarily
    
    implicate an ERISA plan, the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary
    
    Restraining Order seeks to enjoin the operation and implementation
    
    of an ERISA plan by operation of state law."           909 F.Supp. at 462.
    
    Accordingly, the court found that the plaintiffs’ motion directly
    
    "related to" an ERISA plan and, on the basis of this determination,
    
    held that "[t]o the extent that the Plaintiffs’ application for
    
    state court injunctive relief would halt the administration of the
    
    plan or the payment of benefits thereunder, the Plaintiffs’ action
    
    now rests properly in federal court."            Id.      Thus, the district
    
    court’s holding     was   based    on   the   reasoning    that    because       the
    
    plaintiffs’ motion "related to" an ERISA plan within the meaning of
    
    the statute’s general preemption provision, section 514(a),21 the
    
    
    21
          29 U.S.C. § 1144(a).
    
                                            18
    district court was "vested" with federal question jurisdiction and,
    
    consequently, that removal was proper.   See 909 F.Supp. at 461-62.
    
         The error in the district court’s analysis stems from its
    
    failure to distinguish clearly between the concepts of "ordinary"
    
    and "complete" preemption.22   Although we have, in past decisions,
    
    both explicitly and implicitly differentiated between these two
    
    concepts,23 as have our sister circuits,24 the district court appears
    
    
    22
          The district court is certainly not the only court that has
    done so. See, e.g., Jass v. Prudential Health Care Plan, Inc., 
    88 F.3d 1482
    , 1487 (7th Cir. 1996) (noting that "because the
    jurisdictional doctrine of ‘complete preemption’ included the word
    ‘preemption,’ confusion arose between the jurisdictional doctrine
    and the federal defense of preemption").
    23
          For example, in Hubbard v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield Assoc.,
    
    42 F.3d 942
     (5th Cir. 1995), we explained that,
    
         "Ordinarily, preemption of state law by federal law is a
         defense to a plaintiff's state law claim, and therefore
         cannot support federal removal jurisdiction under the
         ‘well-pleaded complaint’ rule. ‘Complete preemption,’ in
         contrast, exists when the federal law occupies an entire
         field, rendering any claim a plaintiff may raise
         necessarily federal in character."      Id. at 945 n.5
         (citing Franchise Tax Board, 103 S.Ct. at 2854).
    
    See also Anderson v. Electronic Data Systems Corp., 
    11 F.3d 1311
    ,
    1315 (5th Cir. 1994) ("A finding that a claim is preempted does not
    end our analysis, since preemption is raised as a defense and
    ordinarily federal question jurisdiction is determined by the well-
    pleaded complaint rule, which looks to the complaint in determining
    subject matter jurisdiction.").
    24
          See, e.g., Toumajian v. Frailey, 
    135 F.3d 648
    , 655 (9th Cir.
    1998) ("This distinction is important, for if the doctrine of
    complete preemption does not apply, even if the defendant has a
    defense of ‘conflict preemption’ within the meaning of § 1144(a)
    because the plaintiff’s claims ‘relate to’ an ERISA plan, the
    district court, being without subject matter jurisdiction, cannot
    rule on the preemption issue."); Rice v. Panchal, 
    65 F.3d 637
    , 640
    
                                     19
    not to have properly taken account of this distinction in its
    
    analysis.    A brief discussion of the two concepts and an outline
    
    of   the   analysis   applicable   to    the   determination   of   complete
    
    preemption under ERISA follow.
    
          A.   Ordinary Preemption
    
          ERISA section 514(a) provides for the general preemption of
    
    "any and all State laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate
    
    to any employee benefit plan" regulated by that statute.25                29
    
    U.S.C. § 1144(a) (emphasis added).        Preemption pursuant to section
    
    514(a), however, merely results in the displacement of state law.
    
    Because ordinary preemption almost invariably arises as a defense,
    
    and thus does not appear on the face of the plaintiff’s well-
    
    pleaded complaint, section 514(a) preemption typically cannot serve
    
    
    
    (7th Cir. 1995) ("The difference between complete preemption under
    § 502(a) and conflict preemption under § 514(a) is important
    because complete preemption is an exception to the well-pleaded
    complaint rule that has jurisdictional consequences."); Dukes v.
    U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 
    57 F.3d 350
    , 355 (3d Cir. 1995) (emphasizing
    the importance of the distinction due to the jurisdictional
    consequences of its application); Warner v. Ford Motor Co., 
    46 F.3d 531
    , 535 (6th Cir. 1995) (criticizing the failure to "keep complete
    preemption removal and ordinary preemption doctrine separate and
    distinct").
    25
            As this Court has previously noted, section 514(a) was
    drafted    to be "deliberately expansive," broadly displacing
    inconsistent state laws so as to implement "Congress’s decision to
    create a comprehensive, uniform federal scheme for the regulation
    of employee benefit plans" through the enactment of ERISA.
    Corcoran v. United Healthcare, Inc., 
    965 F.2d 1321
    , 1329 (5th Cir.
    1992).     See also id. at 1328-29 (discussing the broad
    interpretation of the phrase "relates to" in the context of
    ordinary ERISA preemption).
    
                                        20
    as the basis for removal jurisdiction.26                As the Supreme Court
    
    stated in Taylor, "ERISA pre-emption, without more, does not
    
    convert a state claim into an action arising under federal law."27
    
    Accordingly, the district court’s finding that the plaintiffs’
    
    motion     for   injunctive       relief     directly     "related      to"    the
    
    implementation      and   administration      of   an    ERISA   plan    was    an
    
    insufficient basis for its holding that the motion triggered
    
    complete    preemption     and,    consequently,        the   court   erred    in
    
    determining that it had removal jurisdiction.
    
         B.    Complete Preemption
    
         In contrast to ordinary preemption, complete preemption not
    
    only displaces substantive state law, but also "recharacterizes"
    
    preempted state law claims as "arising under" federal law for the
    
    purposes of determining federal question jurisdiction,28 typically
    
    making    removal   available     to   the   defendant.       Thus,   "complete
    
    
    
    26
           Under the well-pleaded complaint rule, a cause of action
    "arises under" federal law only when the plaintiff’s well-pleaded
    complaint raises issues of federal law. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.
    v. Taylor, 
    107 S. Ct. 1542
    , 1546 (1987). Because "[f]ederal pre-
    emption is ordinarily a federal defense to the plaintiff’s suit,"
    and as such "does not appear on the face of a well-pleaded
    complaint," federal preemption typically "does not authorize
    removal to federal court." Id. at 1546.
    27
          107 S.Ct. at 1547 (citing Franchise Tax Board, 103 S.Ct. at
    2854-56).
    28
          "[I]f a federal cause of action completely preempts a state
    cause of action any complaint that comes within the scope of the
    federal cause of action necessarily ‘arises under’ federal law."
    Franchise Tax Board, 103 S.Ct. at 2854.
    
                                           21
    preemption" is less a principle of substantive preemption than it
    
    is a rule of federal jurisdiction.29            In other words, complete
    
    preemption principally determines not whether state or federal law
    
    governs a particular claim, but rather whether that claim will,
    
    irrespective of how it is characterized by the complainant, be
    
    treated    as   "arising   under"   federal    law.    In   sum,   complete
    
    preemption "converts an ordinary state common law complaint into
    
    one stating a federal claim for purposes of the well-pleaded
    
    complaint rule," generally rendering the entire case removable to
    
    federal court at the discretion of the defendant.             Taylor, 107
    
    S.Ct. at 1547.
    
         C.    Complete Preemption Analysis
    
         Although "ordinary" and "complete" preemption are conceptually
    
    and functionally distinct, they are analytically related insofar as
    
    ordinary    preemption     is   a   necessary——but     obviously    not   a
    
    sufficient——precondition to complete preemption in the context of
    
    ERISA.     In Hartle v. Packard Electric, we held that "ordinary"
    
    preemption was a "prerequisite to [the] exercise of jurisdiction"
    
    pursuant to "complete preemption."30          Accordingly, the first step
    
    
    
    29
          See, e.g., Lister v. Stark, 
    890 F.2d 941
    , 943 n.1 (7th Cir.
    1989) (commenting that "[t]he use of the term ‘complete preemption’
    is unfortunate, since the complete preemption doctrine is not a
    preemption doctrine but rather a federal jurisdiction doctrine").
    30
          
    877 F.2d 354
    , 355 (5th Cir. 1989) ("A prerequisite to this
    exercise of [complete preemption] jurisdiction, however, is that
    the state law claims actually be preempted by ERISA.").
    
                                         22
    in the complete preemption analysis is to determine whether the
    
    claim is subject to ordinary preemption under section 514(a).31
    
    This leaves the obvious question of what more is required to bring
    
    a claim subject to ordinary preemption within the scope of complete
    
    preemption.
    
         This question has been answered, at least in substantial part,
    
    by the Supreme Court in Franchise Tax Board and Taylor.         In
    
    Franchise Tax Board, the Court suggested, but did not have occasion
    
    to hold, that the civil remedies provided by ERISA might give rise
    
    to complete preemption, stating that “[i]t may be that, as with
    
    § 301 as interpreted in Avco, any state action coming within the
    
    scope of § 502(a) of ERISA would be removable to federal district
    
    court, even if an otherwise adequate state cause of action were
    
    pleaded without reference to federal law."      103 S.Ct at 2854.
    
    Subsequently, in Taylor, the Court reached and decided this issue,
    
    holding that section 502(a)(1)(B) of ERISA completely preempted
    
    state law claims falling within its scope.32
    
         In Anderson v. Electronic Data Systems, Corp., 
    11 F.3d 1311
    ,
    
    
    
    31
           Our subsequent cases have followed this two-step approach.
    See, e.g., Kramer v. Barney, 
    80 F.3d 1080
    , 1083 ("Having concluded
    that [Plaintiff’s] state law claims are preempted, we must next
    consider whether ERISA displaces those claims under the complete
    preemption doctrine."); and Anderson v. Electronic Data Systems
    Corp., 
    11 F.3d 1311
    , 1313 (applying two-prong analysis).
    32
          107 S.Ct. at 1547-48. The Court also noted that "Congress
    has clearly manifested an intent to make causes of action within
    the scope of § 502(a) removable to federal court." Id. at 1548.
    
                                    23
    1315 (5th Cir. 1994), we construed the Supreme Court’s decision in
    
    Taylor as holding that complete preemption in the context of ERISA
    
    applies to those claims that fall within the scope of section
    
    502(a).33   In Kramer v. Smith Barney, 
    80 F.3d 1080
     (5th Cir. 1996),
    
    we construed Taylor a bit more narrowly, interpreting its specific
    
    holding as being limited to claims falling within the scope of
    
    section 502(a)(1).      Id. at 1083.     We reasoned, however, that the
    
    Court’s     analysis   supported   extending   the   scope   of   complete
    
    preemption to claims falling under section 502(a)(2), and held that
    
    "because [plaintiff’s] state law claims fall within the enforcement
    
    provisions of section 502, they are completely preempted and the
    
    action was properly removed to the district court."          Id. at 1084.
    
    Thus, this Court has held, in essence, that state law claims
    
    falling within the scope of the civil enforcement provisions
    
    contained in section 502(a) are completely preempted.34
    
    
    33
          Id. at 1315 (holding that plaintiff’s claim "falls within the
    scope of the civil enforcement provision, and hence created removal
    jurisdiction.").
    34
          In describing the scope of complete preemption as generally
    including those claims falling within section 502(a), we note that
    there exists some ambiguity in the caselaw as to whether the scope
    of complete preemption is limited to only those claims falling
    within section 502(a)(1)(B), or whether complete preemption
    encompasses all claims falling within the scope of section 502(a).
    The Supreme Court’s opinion in Taylor dealt with a claim that was
    preempted by section 502(a)(1)(B), and consequently it could be
    argued that the Court’s holding was limited to that subsection.
    However, the Court appeared to base its conclusion regarding the
    scope of complete preemption under ERISA on the "explicit direction
    from Congress" that it found in the legislative history of the
    statute. Taylor, 107 S.Ct. at 1547. The Court summarized this
    
                                        24
           Applying this two-prong analysis to the facts of the case sub
    
    judice, we conclude that the plaintiffs’ motion for injunctive
    
    relief did not trigger complete preemption.       We begin by assuming,
    
    arguendo only, that the district court was correct in its holding
    
    that   the   motion   sufficiently   "related   to"   an   ERISA   plan   to
    
    implicate ordinary preemption under section 514(a), thus disposing
    
    of the first prong of our analysis.         Proceeding to the second
    
    
    
    "explicit direction" as indicating that "Congress has clearly
    manifested an intent to make causes of action within the scope of
    the civil enforcement provisions of § 502(a) removable to federal
    court." Id. at 1548. Thus, it is potentially unclear whether the
    Court intended its holding to apply to section 502(a)(1)(B) or to
    all of section 502(a).
         In Kramer, we held that the Supreme Court’s reasoning, if not
    its specific holding, in Taylor supported complete preemption based
    on section 502(a)(2).    80 F.3d at 1083.    Some courts, however,
    appear to have limited complete preemption to section 502(a)(1)(B),
    while others seem to anticipate that complete preemption
    potentially encompasses the full range of causes of action provided
    by 502(a). Compare, e.g., Lupo v. Human Affairs International,
    Inc., 
    28 F.3d 269
    , 273 (2d Cir. 1994) (stating that "the § 1109
    fiduciary claims discussed by [defendant-appellee] are not the §
    1132(a)(1)(B) claims that provide the complete preemption necessary
    to satisfy the well-pleaded-complaint rule in accordance with
    [Taylor]"), with Toumajian v. Frailey, 
    135 F.3d 648
    , 654-57 (9th
    Cir. 1998) (considering the possibility of complete preemption
    removal based on causes of action authorized by each subsection of
    section 502(a)). For other examples of the application of complete
    preemption in the ERISA context, see, e.g., Rice v. Panchal, 
    65 F.3d 637
    , 640 (7th Cir. 1995); Dukes v. U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 
    57 F.3d 350
    , 355 (3d Cir. 1995), and Warner v. Ford Motor Co., 
    46 F.3d 531
    , 535 (6th Cir. 1995).
         We do not intend our brief discussion of complete preemption
    to be interpreted as expanding its scope under ERISA. Because it
    is not essential to the determination of the case sub judice, and
    because it is not clear that there is any persisting conflict
    between our position and those of our sister circuits, we leave the
    tasks of further exposition and more precise definition of the
    scope of complete preemption under ERISA to future cases.
    
                                         25
    prong,    we   have   little   difficulty      in   determining   that     the
    
    plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction does not fall within the scope
    
    of the civil enforcement provisions of section 502(a).            Initially
    
    we note that the plaintiffs were not acting as "participants" or
    
    "beneficiaries" in seeking injunctive relief;35 and the motion
    
    clearly does not seek to recover benefits or enforce rights under
    
    an ERISA plan pursuant to section 502(a)(1)(B).36             Nor does the
    
    motion seek     relief   for   a breach   of    fiduciary   duty,37   or   for
    
    violations of the reporting requirements.38 In sum, the plaintiffs’
    
    motion does not appear to assert a claim that falls within any of
    
    
    
    
    35
            As discussed above, the underlying class action asserts
    various state claims involving Mobil’s alleged violation of
    workers’ compensation law.     As such, this suit implicates the
    employer-employee relationship and not a relationship dependent
    upon the existence of an ERISA plan. Or, in other words, this suit
    is not between traditional "ERISA entities."
    36
           It might be argued that because in ruling on the motion a
    court would necessarily construe the waiver provision, the motion
    implicitly sought a clarification of rights to future benefits
    under section 502(a)(1)(B). This argument, however, necessarily
    fails because the plaintiffs were not acting as "participants" or
    "beneficiaries" in seeking the injunctive relief that might result
    in a clarification of future rights. Thus, the plaintiffs’ motion
    for injunctive relief does involve the parties as traditional ERISA
    entities.   Furthermore, we note that our decision in Hook v.
    Morrison Milling Co., 
    38 F.3d 776
     (5th Cir. 1994), would appear to
    foreclose the general argument that the construal of a waiver
    provision contained in an ERISA plan, or executed in partial
    consideration for benefits under an ERISA plan, gives rise to
    complete preemption.
    37
             See 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(2).
    38
             See 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(4).
    
                                        26
    the causes of action provided by section 502(a).39
    
          Thus, although the plaintiffs’ motion for injunctive relief
    
    may   "relate    to"    an   ERISA    plan,    thereby   triggering     ordinary
    
    preemption, we can find no basis for holding that the motion
    
    asserted a claim falling within the scope of section 502(a).                  We
    
    therefore hold that the district court erred in concluding that the
    
    plaintiffs’ motion asserted a claim "arising under" federal law, so
    
    as to provide the basis for original jurisdiction necessary to
    
    support removal.
    
    IV.   Supplemental Jurisdiction over State Claims
    
          The final question posed by the district court is whether it
    
    may "now [exercise] supplemental jurisdiction over all state law
    
    claims   under    28   U.S.C.     §   1367."     958   F.Supp.    at   283.   In
    
    determining      whether     it   could    properly    exercise    supplemental
    
    jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ state law claims, the district
    
    court appropriately considered the four factors enumerated in
    
    section 1367(c).       909 F.Supp. at 464.      Concluding that the case did
    
    not involve novel issues of state law, that the state claims did
    
    not predominate over the federal claims, and that there existed no
    
    
    39
            We note that our analysis may seem somewhat terse. Our
    brevity, however, is occasioned by the failure of the parties to
    give detailed attention to this issue on appeal. We decline to
    attempt to anticipate and resolve every possible argument that
    Mobil could have, but did not, make on appeal. Nonetheless, we
    have reviewed the provisions of section 502(a) and our caselaw, and
    it does not appear to us that the plaintiffs’ motion falls within
    any of the causes of action provided by section 502(a), so as to be
    completely preempted.
    
                                              27
    "other compelling reasons" for declining jurisdiction, the district
    
    court held that retaining the state law claims was appropriate.
    
    Id.   The court did not consider the factor stated in section
    
    1367(c)(3), the dismissal of all federal claims, to be relevant
    
    because of its holdings regarding complete preemption.
    
          We review the district court’s decision to retain jurisdiction
    
    over pendent state law claims for abuse of discretion.     Parker &
    
    Parsley Petroleum Co. v. Dresser Industries, 
    972 F.2d 580
    , 585 (5th
    
    Cir. 1992).     Our review is guided by the relevant statutory
    
    provisions governing the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction, see
    
    28 U.S.C. § 1367(c), as well as the Supreme Court’s articulation of
    
    the scope and nature of district courts’ discretion in exercising
    
    jurisdiction over pendent state law claims.    See, e.g., Carnegie-
    
    Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 
    108 S. Ct. 614
    , 618-20 (1988), and United
    
    Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 
    86 S. Ct. 1130
    , 1138-39 (1966).
    
          In the case sub judice, it seems appropriate to begin by
    
    noting that when all federal claims are dismissed or otherwise
    
    eliminated from a case prior to trial, we have stated that our
    
    "general rule" is to decline to exercise jurisdiction over the
    
    pendent state law claims.    Wong v. Stripling, 
    881 F.2d 200
    , 204
    
    (5th Cir. 1989).     This general rule, however, is not always
    
    mandatory or absolute.   See Newport Ltd. v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.,
    
    
    941 F.2d 302
    , 307 (5th Cir. 1991).    Thus, while our determination
    
    that the district court erred in concluding that the case before it
    
                                     28
    included judiciable federal claims provides "a powerful reason to
    
    choose not to continue to exercise jurisdiction," Cohill, 108 S.Ct.
    
    at 619, no single factor is dispositive in this analysis.   Parker
    
    & Parsley, 972 F.2d at 587.   Thus, we review the district court’s
    
    decision in light of the specific circumstances of the case at bar,
    
    beginning with the factors enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c).40
    
         With regard to the first of the section 1367(c) factors, it
    
    appears that this case may involve at least one "novel or complex"
    
    issue of state law.   Although it is not entirely clear from the
    
    briefs on appeal, the class claims regarding Mobil’s noncompliance
    
    with state insurance regulations may raise novel issues both as to
    
    the interpretation and applicability of these regulations and as to
    
    whether they give rise to a private right of action.    Turning to
    
    the second and third statutory factors, our analysis above mandates
    
    that the only two federal claims alleged, i.e., the complete
    
    
    
    40
          28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) provides that
    
         "[t]he   district   courts   may   decline   to  exercise
         supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection
         (a) if——
              (1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue
              of State law,
              (2) the claim substantially predominates over
              the claim or claims over which the district
              court has original jurisdiction,
              (3) the district court has dismissed all
              claims    over    which    it    has   original
              jurisdiction, or
              (4) in exceptional circumstances, there are
              other   compelling    reasons   for   declining
              jurisdiction. “
    
                                    29
    preemption claims, must be "dismissed."     Consequently, the state
    
    law claims now clearly predominate over the (now nonexistent)
    
    federal claims.     Finally, we find no "exceptional circumstances"
    
    that would make the fourth section 1367(c) factor relevant.   Thus,
    
    our section 1367(c) analysis results in the conclusion that remand
    
    is appropriate.
    
          Furthermore, as noted above, not only have we stated that it
    
    is our "general rule" to remand cases when all federal claims are
    
    disposed of prior to trial, but the Supreme Court has counseled
    
    that the dismissal of all federal claims weighs heavily in favor of
    
    declining jurisdiction.    See Gibbs, 86 S.Ct. at 1139, and Cohill,
    
    108 S.Ct. at 619.    The Supreme Court has also provided additional
    
    guidance regarding review of the discretionary retention of pendent
    
    state law claims.      In Cohill, the Supreme Court discussed the
    
    seminal case of United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 
    86 S. Ct. 1130
     (1966),
    
    specifically focusing on the considerations appropriate to the
    
    exercise of jurisdiction over pendent state law claims after all
    
    federal claims had been eliminated from a case.   108 S.Ct. at 618-
    
    19.   The Court counseled that, pursuant to the reasoning and
    
    holding of Gibbs, "a federal court should consider and weigh in
    
    each case, and at every stage of the litigation, the values of
    
    judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity in order to
    
    decide whether to exercise jurisdiction over a case brought in that
    
    court involving pendent state-law claims."     Cohill, 108 S.Ct. at
    
    
                                     30
    619.    The Court went on to state that when a "balance of these
    
    factors indicates that a case properly belongs in state court, as
    
    when the federal-law claims have dropped out of the lawsuit in its
    
    early stages and only state-law claims remain, the federal court
    
    should decline the exercise of jurisdiction."                Id. (footnote and
    
    internal citation omitted).         Thus, both our "general rule" and the
    
    reasoning contained in Gibbs and Cohill indicate that remand is the
    
    correct disposition in the case at bar.
    
           Finally, based on a case presenting issues somewhat analogous
    
    to those under consideration here, this Court held that remand was
    
    mandated due to concerns of comity and the Congressional intent
    
    that cases involving workers’ compensation issues be resolved in
    
    state courts.      In Jones v. Roadway Express, Inc., 
    931 F.2d 1086
    
    (5th Cir. 1991), we construed 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c), which bars the
    
    removal    of   workers’    compensation      cases,   as     indicating   that
    
    "Congress intended that all cases arising under a state’s workers’
    
    compensation      scheme   remain    in    state   court."      Id.   at   1092.
    
    Accordingly, after the complete preemption claim asserted by the
    
    defendant was eliminated on appeal, we held that "the case must be
    
    remanded to state court." Id. (emphasis added).              We concluded that
    
    remand was required "in order to satisfy Congress’ dictate that, to
    
    the extent possible, workers’ compensation cases remain in state
    
    court."     Id.     On petition for rehearing, we stated that the
    
    principal issue on appeal in Roadway Express had been "whether to
    
    
                                          31
    remand   the   case   to   state   court   when   only   a   state-law   claim
    
    remained," the question we consider in the case sub judice.              Jones
    
    v. Roadway Express, Inc., 
    936 F.2d 789
    , 792 (5th Cir. 1991).41             We
    
    went on to clearly restate our prior holding that "[g]iven the
    
    discretion vested in the court to remand pendent state-law claims
    
    to state court, we believe that the intent of Congress——that,
    
    whenever feasible, state workers’ compensation claims be resolved
    
    in state court——favors remand to state court."           Id.42
    
         The factors enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c), a "balancing"
    
    of the Gibbs "values" as articulated in Cohill, and our holding in
    
    Roadway Express all lead to the conclusion that this case properly
    
    belongs in the state court where it began.                   We can find no
    
    significant factor that would justify retaining jurisdiction rather
    
    than remanding, while the statutory, Supreme Court, and circuit law
    
    and analyses relevant to review of the case at bar each weigh
    
    heavily in favor of declining to exercise jurisdiction over the
    
    remaining removed state law claims.           Accordingly, we hold that
    
    
    
    41
          Of course, section 1445(c) applies only to cases commenced
    in state court, and it does not govern, expressly or by analogy,
    cases properly commenced in federal court. St. Paul Ins. Co. v.
    Trejo, 
    39 F.3d 585
     (5th Cir. 1994).
    42
           We are not suggesting that any of the state law claims in
    this case are ones “arising under the workmen’s compensation laws”
    of Texas for purposes of section 1445(c).     See Patin v. Allied
    Signal, Inc., 
    69 F.3d 1
     (5th Cir. 1995). Clearly, however, Texas
    workers’ compensation laws are significantly implicated in many of
    the claims. What we are addressing is, and is only, remand under
    section 1367(c) and the Gibbs and Cohill factors.
    
                                          32
    retaining jurisdiction over, rather than remanding, the state law
    
    claims in this case would constitute an abuse of discretion.
    
                               Conclusion
    
         Because the district court erred in determining that it had
    
    federal question jurisdiction pursuant to complete preemption under
    
    the LMRA at the time that it rendered its order, and also erred in
    
    determining that it had removal jurisdiction pursuant to ERISA
    
    complete preemption, we hold that the district court’s continued
    
    exercise of jurisdiction would constitute an abuse of discretion.
    
    Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s denial of plaintiffs’
    
    motion to remand and direct the district court, pursuant to our
    
    holding herein, to remand the case to the state court from which it
    
    was removed.
    
                                         REVERSED and REMANDED
    
    
    
    
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