Interests of Amici Curiae

Defense Counsel Journal, October 2014 | Go to article overview

Interests of Amici Curiae


The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) is a public interest law and policy center with supporters in all 50 States. (1) WLF's primary mission is the defense and promotion of free enterprise, and ensuring that economic development is not impeded by excessive litigation.

WLF has regularly appeared in this and other federal courts to support the rights of defendants in a state court action to remove the case to federal court. See, e.g., Mississippi ex rel. Hood u. AU Optronics Corp., 134 S. Ct. 736 (2014); Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013); Lincoln Prop. Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81 (2005).

The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) is an association of corporate and insurance attorneys from the United States and around the globe whose practice is concentrated on the defense of civil lawsuits. Dedicated to the just and efficient administration of civil justice, the IADC supports a justice system in which plaintiffs are fairly compensated for genuine injuries, responsible defendants are held liable for appropriate damages, and non-responsible defendants are exonerated without unreasonable costs.

The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) was formed in 1936 and has an international membership of 1,400 defense and corporate counsel. FDCC members work in private practice, as general counsel, and as insurance claims executives. Membership is limited to attorneys and insurance professionals nominated by their peers for having achieved professional distinction and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. The FDCC is committed to promoting knowledge and professionalism in its ranks and has organized itself to that end. Its members have established a strong legacy of representing the interests of civil defendants.

The Tenth Circuit has condoned a narrow interpretation of the federal removal statutes that, in many instances, will create significant difficulties for defendants seeking to exercise their rights to remove cases from state to federal court. The decision below reflects a misguided view, pervasive among many lower federal courts, that federal removal jurisdiction is disfavored and that all doubts regarding jurisdiction should be strictly construed against the defendant. Amici believe that view is based on a misunderstanding of the history of removal jurisdiction and the important role that the Founders foresaw that removal jurisdiction would play in ensuring an impartial forum for out-of-state defendants.

Amici are concerned that unless the Court uses this case not only to overturn the decision below but also to explain that the lower courts' recognition of a presumption against removal is unfounded, many federal courts will continue to adhere to such a presumption. Amici have no direct interests, financial or otherwise, in the outcome of this case. They are filing due solely to their interests in the important removal jurisdiction issues raised by this case.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

The facts of this case are set out in detail in the brief of Petitioners. Amici wish to highlight several facts of particular relevance to the issues on which this brief focuses.

The case raises important questions regarding procedures for removing suits to federal court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4, a statute adopted by Congress in 2005 to broaden federal court diversity jurisdiction and to "restore the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution by providing for Federal court consideration of interstate cases of national importance under diversity jurisdiction." CAFA [section] 2(b)(2). Congress found that class action lawsuits raising issues of "national importance" were being improperly "[kept] out of Federal court," and that state courts were "sometimes acting in ways that demonstrate bias against out-of-State defendants" and otherwise "undermining] . …

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