What is Removal?

Removal is when a defendant takes a case that was filed by the plaintiff in state court and then brings it to federal court.

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.

How are cases removed?

Removal is a simple procedure. All the defendant needs to do is file a notice with the state court that he is removing the case and then file the case in federal court.

Defendants must observe time limits and cannot remove based on diversity jurisdiction if already in their home state

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.

Below are videos on removal:


Get a Civ Pro Quiz Ebook!

101 Civ Pro Questions and Explanations

United States Law: An Introduction for International Students