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Removal and Remand: The Basics

This lesson is designed to help students understand the basics of three statutes that govern the removal of civil actions from state to federal court: 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (removal of civil actions), § 1446 (removal procedure) and § 1447 (procedure after removal). It consists of both explanatory text and problems and is divided into three sections. Students can complete all three sections at the same time or do each section separately.

This lesson can be used as a supplement to assigned class readings or as a review of the material before exams. It is not tied to the organization of any particular civil procedure text, and all of the statutory sections that are needed are available as part of the lesson. It does not assume any specific knowledge of removal and remand--it is designed to teach the basics of these topics from scratch. This lesson does, however, assume basic knowledge of both diversity and federal question jurisdiction. You may wish to refresh your recollection of these topics by completing the CALI lessons on diversity and federal question jurisdiction before attempting this lesson.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the standard for removal, who can remove a civil action, to which court a civil action must be removed, and the forum defendant rule.
  2. Explain how to apply § 1441(a) and § 1441(b)(2).
  3. Explain what goes in a removal notice under § 1446, the role of the state court after removal, the standard for determining whether the amount in controversy is satisfied in a removed case, the timing rules for removed cases, and the rule of unanimity.
  4. Apply the various rules found in § 1446 to new fact patterns.
  5. Explain the difference between motions to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and motions to remand based on procedural defects in removal.
  6. Explain and apply the timing rules that govern motions to remand.

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