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Old 12-08-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
Roger Baron
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Default Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011

Congress recently passed the Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011. President Obama signed this new bill into law yesterday.

This new law is not specific to ERISA, but it may have an impact on ERISA related litigation.

The enrolled bill may be viewed at

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr394enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr394enr.pdf

A summary of the bill may be viewed at

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-394&tab=summary

Below is my summary. This is just a summary and I caution you not to rely on my words, but to review the actual language of the new law. As best I can determine, in a relatively short amount of review, the new law makes the following changes:

1) Makes certain that the recent amendment (which equates a permanent alienís citizenship with his state of permanent residence) does not create a new basis for diversity jurisdiction.

2) Specifically delineates the rules for determining the citizenship of a corporate insurer

3) Many issues regarding REMOVAL to Federal Court, including: a) specific direction to the federal trial court to sever all nonremovable claims and remand them to state court; b) specifying that only defendants against whom a removable claim has been lodged must consent to the removal; c) separates requirements for removal of civil cases and criminal cases into two separate categories; d) establishes required elements for the notice of removal, addressing amount in controversy issues which evolve under state pleading requirements and claims for non-monetary relief; e) permitting removal on the basis of diversity more than 1 year after commencement of action in certain cases;

4) Venue matters regarding general civil venue;

5) Expanding ability of the trial court to make a 1404(a) transfer by permitting such transfers to a district or division to which all parties have consented;

6) Prohibiting transfer from a U.S. District Court to the Districts of Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.
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