February 20, 2013 Articles

A Closer Look: Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act

By James C. Barton Jr., Alan D. Mathis, and Zachary D. Trotter

One of last year's most significant developments in federal court litigation occurred on January 6, 2012, when the Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011, H.R. 394, Public Law No. 112-63, took effect. The act, which was designed to simplify and clarify the rules related to jurisdiction and venue in the federal courts, has largely served its purpose—providing bright-line rules with little need for further clarification or interpretation from the courts. Though the act also made changes to federal venue provisions, the changes to the removal statute served as the centerpiece of the legislation. This article provides a refresher on the history and purpose of the act, discusses in greater detail the changes to the removal statute and their effect on legal practice, and notes where court interpretation is still needed. Finally, the article briefly discusses notable omissions from the act.

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