Noble v. Bradford Marine, Inc.
789 F. Supp. 395 (S.D. Fla. 1992)
Noble and Muir sued Bradford
(who owned a dock) for damages resulting from a boat fire.
Later, Noble and Muir
amended their complaints and added a second defendant, Prime Time
Charters (whose boat caused the fire).
Prime Time made a motion to
move the case to Federal Court based on federal question jurisdiction. However, more than 30 days had passed since
Noble and Muir had initially filed their lawsuits against Bradford.
There is a 30-day limit from
the time the complaint is filed for the defendant to ask for the case to
be removed to a Federal Court.
Prime Time claimed that
since they were added later to the lawsuit, the 30-day limit that applied
to Bradford should not apply to him.
The Federal Appellate Court
ruled that the 30-day limit still applied, so it was too late for the case
to be moved to a Federal Court.
The Appellate Court noted
that Bradford could have removed the case to the Federal Court (under admiralty
jurisdiction since it involved boats)
but he didn't.
The Court found that when
Prime Time was added, no new federal jurisdiction was created.
Therefore, the original 30-day limit applied to both defendants.
However, if federal
jurisdiction was created only after the addition of the new defendant,
then a new 30-day limit would start.
So basically, if there had
been no federal jurisdiction originally, but the addition of a new
defendant created the possibility of federal jurisdiction, then the
30-day clock would be reset.