What is a Notice of Removal?

A notice of removal initiates the process of transferring a civil action from a state court to a federal court. The United States Code imposes several requirements that must be met for removing a case from state court to federal court.

“A defendant or defendants desiring to remove any civil action from a State court shall file in the district court of the United States for the district and division within which such action is pending a notice of removal signed pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and containing a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal, together with a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders served upon such defendant or defendants in such action.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). All defendants subject to state court jurisdiction must consent to removal. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2); Hewitt v. City of Stanton, 798 F.2d 1230, 1232 (9th Cir. 1986); Bonner v. Fuji Photo Film, 461 F.Supp.2d 1112, 1118 (N.D. Cal. 2006); Watanabe v. Lankford, 684 F.Supp.2d 1210 (D. Haw. 2010); Myer v. Nitetrain Coach Co., Inc., 459 F.Supp.2d 1074 (W.D. Wash. 2006).

“The notice of removal of a civil action or proceeding shall be filed within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action or proceeding is based, or within 30 days after the service of summons upon the defendant if such initial pleading has then been filed in court and is not required to be served on the defendant, whichever period is shorter.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1).

“Promptly after the filing of such notice of removal of a civil action the defendant or defendants shall give written notice thereof to all adverse parties and shall file a copy of the notice with the clerk of such State court, which shall effect the removal and the State court shall proceed no further unless and until the case is remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(d). “A certified copy of the order of remand shall be mailed by the clerk to the clerk of the State court. The State court may thereupon proceed with such case.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447.

“[T]he state court's jurisdiction is suspended when the defendant seeking removal gives notice to the state court clerk, and it is reacquired when the district court clerk gives notice to the state court clerk in the form of a certified copy of the remand order.” Spanair S.A. v. McDonnell Douglas Corp. (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 348, 356; Allstate Ins. Co. v. Sup. Ct. (1982) 132 Cal.App.3d 670, 676. Although it may not “proceed” with the case during the period of the removal, the superior court may engage in ministerial or clerical actions which do not affect the merits of the action. Lawrence v. Chancery Ct. of Tenn. (6th Cir. 1999) 188 F.3d 687; Pebble Creek Homes, LLC v. Upstream Images, LLC (D. Utah 2007) 547 F.Supp.2d 1214.

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