Cases & Deals

R.J. Reynolds obtains 5th Circuit ruling that state-court severance of claims permitted removal of case to federal court

Clients R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Jones Day, working with attorneys from other firms, obtained a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which held that a state-court severance of claims against non-diverse medical malpractice defendants permitted the diverse tobacco companies to remove the case to federal court. The Fifth Circuit held that the so-called "voluntary/involuntary" rule that prohibits removal after action by a state court that is taken over the objection of the plaintiff was not applicable and that the misjoinder of the non-diverse defendants does not need to meet the "fraudulent joinder" standard. The Fifth Circuit thus recognized a new basis to remove cases in which plaintiffs improperly join separate claims against non-diverse defendants.

Crockett v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 436 F.3d 529 (5th Cir. 2006)