In D.D.C., Remand Arguments Are “No Match” For Plain Language Supporting Snap Removal

Pre-service removal—known colloquially as “snap removal”—continues to be adopted in more jurisdictions. For a basic explanation of snap removal, see Faegre Drinker’s prior posts here.

In Doe v. Daversa Partners, 2021 WL 736734, at *3 (D.D.C. Feb. 25, 2021), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia joins the Second, Third, and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal affirming the practice of snap removal. Noting that the D.C. Circuit had not yet opined on the issue, the Daversa court provided a thorough analysis and rationale for refusing remand under the circumstances.

The plaintiff in Daversa, a citizen of New York, filed the action against two defendants, one a citizen of Connecticut and the other a citizen of Washington, D.C.  Two days after the suit was filed in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, and before service was effected on either defendant, the two defendants jointly removed the case to federal district court.  Applying the “plain meaning of § 1441(b)(2),” the U.S. District Court concluded that plaintiff’s remand motion was not warranted since the forum defendant had not been properly joined and served at the time of removal.

In its decision, the U.S. District Court declined to adopt the plaintiff’s contention that the forum defendant rule requires service of at least one defendant prior to removal.  Rather, the court reasoned that plaintiff’s interpretation was “unsupportable” and “animated by the view that any reading of the statutory language that permits ‘snap removal’ renders the text [of § 1441(b)(2)] ‘nonsensical’ or ‘superfluous.’”  And, the court similarly noted that any solution to a policy disagreement over snap removal lies with Congress, not the court.

The Daversa decision reflects the latest example of federal district courts upholding the practice of snap removal. In an ever-changing landscape like this one, you can stay up to date on the status in your jurisdiction by using Faegre Drinker’s interactive snap removal map.