New Amendments to Federal Removal and Venue Statutes Should Reduce Gamesmanship

On December 7, President Obama signed into law amendments to the federal removal and venue statutes. The amendments will go into effect on January 6, 2012. Among other things, the amendments are intended to make it more difficult for plaintiffs to play games with the amount in controversy in attempting to avoid federal diversity jurisdiction. For example, if a complainant in state court does not plead an amount in controversy or specifically alleges an amount that is shy of the $75,000 federal diversity jurisdiction threshold, a defendant can still remove, even after the original 30-day deadline for removal, if it later receives information in discovery indicating that the plaintiff is really seeking more than $75,000. The amendments also clarify the timing of when a notice of removal has to be filed when there are multiple defendants. For more information, please contact Emil Kiehne at ejk@modrall.com.