A party can remove a case from state court to federal court if the case originally could have been brought in federal court.

For example, if a plaintiff who is a resident of New York sues a defendant who is a resident of Florida for $100,000, a federal court could assert diversity jurisdiction over the action.

But let’s say the plaintiff chooses to sue in New York State Court.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  However, the defendant from Florida might not want to litigate in state court.  The defendant can remove the case to federal court based on diversity.  Removal is a simple procedure.

Some things to keep in mind:

1.  The party removing the case must not wait too long.  There are time limits.

2. A party cannot remove a case based on diversity if he is already litigating in his home state.  For example, let’s say our case in the story above is in Florida state court, not New York state court.   The citizen of Florida litigating in Florida state court  cannot remove to a federal court in Florida.  Why?  Because he is already in his home state.  He can’t complain about litigating in Florida state court because Florida is “his” state.

3. Remember our major rule: removal is proper if the case could originally been brought in federal court.