On May 28, 2019, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Thomas that a third-party counterclaim defendant was not permitted to remove class action claims against it under the general removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (“Section 1441”), or the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1453 (“CAFA”). Home Depot U. S. A., Inc. v. Jackson
, No. 17-1471, 587 U.S. ___ (2019). The Court held that the term “defendant” in the two removal provisions at issue applies only to “the party sued by the original plaintiff” and should not be expanded to include third-party counterclaim defendants. As noted in our prior post
when the case was argued before the Supreme Court, this decision is the first time the Supreme Court has discussed the scope of Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets
, 313 U.S. 100 (1941), which addressed analogous language in Section 1441’s predecessor and held that a plaintiff who originally filed an action in state court would not be permitted to later remove it to federal court as a “defendant” once counterclaims were filed against it.