Throw away those dusty Civ Pro outlines! Thanks to the Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011–which passed the Senate on November 30 and which the President is expected to sign–major changes to federal court practice are coming:
- The “rule of unanimity” for removal of cases with multiple defendants is now codified.
- Each defendant will have 30 days to initiate removal, which resolves a longstanding problem when defendants are served at different times.
- Upon removal, district courts must now sever and remand claims not within the original or supplemental jurisdiction of the district court (or which are nonremovable by statute).
- Cases still can’t be removed more than one year after commencement unless the court finds that the plaintiff has acted in bad faith in order to prevent a defendant from removing the case.
- Transfer of cases to a district where the action could not have been brought initially is authorized, as long as all parties consent. This abrogates the Supreme Court’s decision in Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335 (1960).
The Act will go into effect 30 days after the President signs. As with all major changes, there will be lots of interpretation of the JVCA coming, and we’ll continue to cover these developments.