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A district court may, and always should, determine sua sponte whether its subject matter jurisdiction has been properly invoked. Removal statutes should be strictly construed, and if at anytime before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1447(c).
A boat owned by the corporation caught fire and hurled chunks of flaming debris to the owners' vessels, destroying them. The owners brought their actions in state court against the marina, then subsequently amended them to include the foreign corporation. The corporation removed the actions to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1331(1). The court sua sponte reviewed the removal.
Was the corporation’s removal of the actions to the federal court proper?
The actions were remanded to the state circuit court from which they were improvidently removed. According to the court, a district court may, and always should, determine sua sponte whether its subject matter jurisdiction had been properly invoked. If at anytime before final judgment it appeared that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, the case would be remanded. Time limitations in removal statutes were mandatory and strictly construed in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 6, and the failure to comply with the time requirement of 28 U.S.C.S. § 1446(b) was a defect causing "improvident" removal. The court held that the addition of the corporation in the amended complaint did not start the time for removal when the original complaint itself was removable. The court found that the marina's failure to remove the original complaint was binding on the corporation.