As the new year loomed, the Eighth Circuit, sitting en banc, overruled its prior cases dealing with a specific application of the forum-defendant exception to removal on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Under the forum-defendant rule, a defendant who is a citizen of the forum state cannot remove a lawsuit from state court to federal court if the removal is solely on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Before this decision, the Eighth Circuit stood alone in holding that the forum-defendant rule was jurisdictional and could never be waived. The unanimous en banc court overruled its prior cases and aligned with all other federal circuits to consider the question, concluding that violation of the forum-defendant rule is not a jurisdictional defect and therefore must be raised as a basis for remanding a case back to state court within 30 days after removal or the argument is waived. Among other practical consequences of the decision, plaintiffs who believe a defendant has improperly removed a case in violation of the forum-defendant rule now must raise the violation in 30 days or risk waiving it.
A New Jersey District Court Judge has ruled that the March 2020 federal liability immunity statute for pandemic-related countermeasures does not create a basis for federal jurisdiction, resulting in the remand of two COVID-19-related personal injury actions.
A magistrate judge in the District of New Jersey recommended remand of more than one dozen lawsuits concerning allegedly defective hip implants in a June 15, 2020, decision analyzing Third Circuit precedent regarding the forum defendant rule in the context of snap removals.
Jackson v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp., et al., Civil Action No. 19-18667, is one of several cases filed by plaintiffs in New Jersey state court against the defendant Howmedica, which is incorporated and has its principal place of business in New Jersey. Pre-service, the defendant removed to federal court on the basis of diversity pursuant to Encompass Insurance Co. v. Stone Mansion Restaurant, Inc., 2018 WL 3999885 (3d Cir. Aug. 22, 2018), in which the Third Circuit held that a forum defendant may remove a case to federal court prior to being served.
In general, a defendant may not remove a case to federal court if the action includes a non-diverse defendant or a defendant who is a resident of the state in which the action was filed. This general rule does not apply, however, if the action is removed prior to the non-diverse or forum defendant being served. This procedure, known as “snap removal” has been endorsed by the Second and Third circuits. Continue reading
A recent decision by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania serves as a reminder that attempts to defeat federal diversity jurisdiction via questionable joinder of parties is likely to fail in the Third Circuit.
Last fall we wrote about the Third Circuit’s opinion endorsing the snap removals, making it the first circuit opinion in the country to approve such practice. This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit followed the Third Circuit’s lead and affirmed snap removals.