Third Circuit Clarifies Timing of Removal to Federal Court.

An issue that has tripped up many a litigator is the timing of just when a case must be removed to federal court. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1446, the federal removal statute, states that the removal must occur within 30 days of service on the defendant. But what happens in a multiple defendant case? Must the removal occur within 30 days of the service of the first served defendant or 30 days from service of the last known defendant or does each defendant get its own 30 day window?

The Fourth and Fifth Circuits have adopted the “first served” rule and held that the 30 day period ends 30 days after service on the first defendant. The Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits have adopted the “later served” rule and held that each defendant gets 30 days from the date on which it, itself, was served to remove the case to federal court.

In the case of Delalla v. Hanover Insurance, the Third Circuit has just weighed in. It has adopted the later served rule. Good news if you are in a multiple defendant products liability case in places like Atlantic City or Philadelphia!

If you have any questions about this post or WCM’s product liability practice, please contact Bob Cosgrove at