Thursday, September 27, 2007
In a recent case (sorry, no free link available but the Westlaw citation appears below), the Southern District of New York denied a motion to remand, beginning by noting that "'Tortured' is an understated description of the procedural history of this case." Before providing us with 31 pages of jurisdictional goodness, the court described the novelty of the issue:
The highly unusual facts of this case confront this Court with the following question: is remand necessary or appropriate where defendants remove an action to federal court, then seek to remand that same action to state court at a much later stage of litigation, after plaintiffs have added a jurisdiction-conferring federal claim and after removal is discovered to have been improvident? Despite sophisticated searches for similar cases, conducted by teams of lawyers for both sides and by this Court, this case appears to be sui generis. Indeed, no district court has been required to assess whether it could exercise jurisdiction based on a challenge made after it permitted an amendment to add a federal claim but later learned that the original basis of jurisdiction was defective. As a result, the Court cannot rely on a single controlling case or statute; rather, it must look to general principles drawn from the case law for guidance.
After an extensive review of the jurisdiction-curing cases from the Supreme Court and other appeals courts, the district court concluded:
In sum, after three and a half years of intense and complex litigation, scores of formal and informal court conferences, and many opinions, I conclude that plaintiffs' voluntary amendment, which added an unmistakable federal claim before the defect in removal was identified, is sufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction upon this Court despite what now appears to have been an improvident removal. Any other result would ignore the years of effort by the Court and the parties-a critical factor specifically recognized by the Supreme Court and several circuit courts. I turn now to the question of whether this Court has the power to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims and, if so, whether it should nonetheless exercise its discretion to remand those claims to state court.
In re METHYL TERTIARY BUTYL ETHER (“MTBE”) PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION, 2007 WL 2753275 (S.D.N.Y. September 17, 2007) --RR