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Removal of State Court Action to Federal Court

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Mar 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Anderson v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No 15-35981 (9th Cir. March 8, 2019) (J. McKeown)

TIMELY REMOVAL MEASURED 30 DAYS FROM DEFENDANT'S ACTUAL RECEIPT OF INITIAL PLEADING

Pursuant to state statute, the plaintiffs served their complaint filed in state court upon State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance upon the Washington Insurance Commissioner on February 9, 2015 who then forwarded the complaint to State Farm's designated recipient who received it on February 13, 2015.  State Farm removed the case to federal court on March 16, 2015. Plaintiffs then moved to remand the case to state court claiming that the requirement that removal occur “within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial pleading.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1). The federal district court denied the motion and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

The court of appeals, following the Fourth Circuit, held “receipt of an initial pleading by a statutorily designated agent did not begin the thirty-day removal clock under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1), and it was actual receipt by the insurer that started the removal clock. Applying this rule, the panel concluded that the insurer timely removed the case.”

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".

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