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Federal Bar Update: Removal and venue changes now in effect

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Federal Bar UpdateAs noted in this column in December, the Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011 was passed in early December and took effect Jan. 6. The Act amends the removal statutes in several important respects, including:

if defendants are served at different times, and a later-served defendant files a notice of removal, any earlier-served defendant may consent to the removal even though he did not previously initiate or consent to removal;

the act still has a one-year cap on diversity removals unless the District Court finds that the plaintiff acted in bad faith to prevent removal, and if the court finds that plaintiff failed to disclose the amount in controversy to avoid removal, that is bad faith.

The act also amends venue provisions:

The act creates a new provision, 28 U.S.C. 1390 describing venue generally; and 

Section 1391 is rewritten, collapsing (a) (diversity) and (b) (federal question) into a new (b) that has the same three standards.

The act applies to all cases commenced in federal court on or after Jan. 6, and for removed action, to any case that under applicable state law had been commenced on or after Jan. 6. The act has been cited in three federal opinions so far, but only in passing reference and noting that the act did not apply to the pending case. In the coming months, there are certain to be many cases addressing the act.

Where to find the statute – Even with the act now in effect, practitioners may have difficulty finding a clean version of the amended statutes. The act is complicated and technical, deleting some provisions, adding others, and of course, not providing a “clean” final version of the rewritten Code sections. As of Jan. 12, not all online sources of U.S. Code (free or for pay) had updated versions of the affected sections (including, for instance, the Government Printing Office). Lexis does appear to have the amended statutes online now.

Practitioners should be very careful to ensure that the statutory sections referred to from Jan. 6 forward are accurate and up to date. The way to discern this is to check for 28 U.S.C. 1390, which did not exist as of Jan. 5, but came into effect as a new section as part of the act on Jan. 6. In the meantime, anyone desiring a copy of the act can email the undersigned for a PDF copy.

Local rules – In late December, both the S.D. of Indiana and the N.D. of Indiana separately announced that their Local Rule amendments would take effect Jan. 1. The updated versions of each court’s Local Rules – which include the restyling edits – are now posted on the courts’ websites.•

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John Maley – jmaley@btlaw.com – is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, practicing federal and state litigation, employment matters, and appeals. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. Please I need help with my class action lawsuits, im currently in pro-se and im having hard time findiNG A LAWYER TO ASSIST ME

  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  3. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

  4. I've been denied I appeal court date took a year my court date was Nov 9,2016 and have not received a answer yet

  5. Warsaw indiana dcs lying on our case. We already proved that in our first and most recent court appearance i need people to contact me who have evidence of dcs malpractice please email or facebook nathaniel hollett thank you

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