March 02, 2017 Articles

How to Remove a Case to Federal Court

By Hillary Chinigo Campbell

While a plaintiff is the master of her complaint (and decides the forum in which she will file a lawsuit), the defendant is not without any say in the matter. The procedure for removal allows a defendant to remove certain cases filed in state court to federal court. In some circumstances, your client’s litigation position may be significantly enhanced by the opportunity to litigate in federal court. For instance, removing a case from state court to federal court may alleviate concerns about possible prejudice or bias against an out-of-state-defendant. It may allow a defendant to take advantage of federal procedural rules, including, for example, rules governing expert testimony. Or it may provide a defendant with an avenue to consolidate mass litigation through the multidistrict litigation procedures. Whatever reason your client may have for wanting to litigate in federal court, it is critical that you be able to analyze efficiently the potential bases for removal in a complaint and that you also be well versed in the requirements for doing so. District courts will strictly analyze removals. A failure to comply with substantive and procedural requirements is likely to result in the remand of your client’s case.

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