Making a Federal Case of it: Removing Civil Cases to Federal Court Based on Fraudulent Joinder
53 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2006
The fraudulent joinder doctrine has played an increasingly frequent and critical role in determining whether many civil cases will be litigated in state court or federal court. Plaintiffs generally prefer state court while defendants generally prefer federal court. In cases against out-of-state defendants, plaintiffs have long attempted to defeat removal to federal court by joining claims against in-state defendants. For example, in many early tort actions against out-of-state railroads, plaintiffs also sued in-state railroad employees, thereby defeating complete diversity and preventing removal. Recognizing that plaintiffs should not be able to defeat a diverse defendant's right to remove by joining an in-state defendant when there is no reasonable basis for the plaintiff's claim against the in-state defendant, the Supreme Court established the fraudulent joinder doctrine pursuant to which a federal court ignores the citizenship of a fraudulently joined non-diverse or in-state defendant and assumes jurisdiction over the removed case.
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