August 22, 2018 Article

Safe at Home? Preservice Removal and the Forum Defendant Rule

By Lindsay C. Omolecki

Defendants are always looking to improve venue by removing a case to federal court whenever the opportunity arises. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, tend to prefer state court and often strategically name a local defendant to prevent removal based on the “forum defendant rule” found in 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2). The forum defendant rule bars removal to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction if the case is filed in a state court in which one of the defendants is a citizen. This is a tactic commonly employed by plaintiffs in product liability cases. Everyone knows that the manufacturer is the target defendant, yet plaintiffs will often name a distributor, pharmacy, doctor, or other party that resides in the forum state in an attempt to keep their case in state court.

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