Interests of amici curiae.

The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) is a public interest law and policy center with supporters in all 50 States. (1) WLF's primary mission is the defense and promotion of free enterprise, and ensuring that economic development is not impeded by excessive litigation.

WLF has regularly appeared in this and other federal courts to support the rights of defendants in a state court action to remove the case to federal court. See, e.g., Mississippi ex rel. Hood u. AU Optronics Corp., 134 S. Ct. 736 (2014); Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013); Lincoln Prop. Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81 (2005).

The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) is an association of corporate and insurance attorneys from the United States and around the globe whose practice is concentrated on the defense of civil lawsuits. Dedicated to the just and efficient administration of civil justice, the IADC supports a justice system in which plaintiffs are fairly compensated for genuine injuries, responsible defendants are held liable for appropriate damages, and non-responsible defendants are exonerated without unreasonable costs.

The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) was formed in 1936 and has an international membership of 1,400 defense and corporate counsel. FDCC members work in private practice, as general counsel, and as insurance claims executives. Membership is limited to attorneys and insurance professionals nominated by their peers for having achieved professional distinction and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. The FDCC is committed to promoting knowledge and professionalism in its ranks and has organized itself to that end. Its members have established a strong legacy of representing the interests of civil defendants.

The Tenth Circuit has condoned a narrow interpretation of the federal removal statutes that, in many instances, will create significant difficulties for defendants seeking to exercise their rights to remove cases from state to federal court. The decision below reflects a misguided view, pervasive among many lower federal courts, that federal removal jurisdiction is disfavored and that all doubts regarding jurisdiction should be strictly construed against the defendant. Amici believe that view is based on a misunderstanding of the history of removal jurisdiction and the important role that the Founders foresaw that removal jurisdiction would play in ensuring an impartial forum for out-of-state defendants.

Amici are concerned that unless the Court uses this case not only to overturn the decision below but also to explain that the lower courts' recognition of a presumption against removal is unfounded, many federal courts will continue to adhere to such a presumption. Amici have no direct interests, financial or otherwise, in the outcome of this case. They are filing due solely to their interests in the important removal jurisdiction issues raised by this case.


The facts of this case are set out in detail in the brief of Petitioners. Amici wish to highlight several facts of particular relevance to the issues on which this brief focuses.

The case raises important questions regarding procedures for removing suits to federal court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4, a statute adopted by Congress in 2005 to broaden federal court diversity jurisdiction and to "restore the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution by providing for Federal court consideration of interstate cases of national importance under diversity jurisdiction." CAFA [section] 2(b)(2). Congress found that class action lawsuits raising issues of "national importance" were being improperly "[kept] out of Federal court," and that state courts were "sometimes acting in ways that demonstrate bias against out-of-State defendants" and otherwise "undermining] ... the concept of diversity jurisdiction as intended by the framers." Id., [section] 2(a)(4).

The case addresses whether Petitioners took sufficient steps to remove a lawsuit to federal court pursuant to CAFA and 28 U.S.C. [section] 1446(a), which provides that removal petitions must "contain[] a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal."

Respondent Brandon Owens contends that Petitioners (collectively, "Dart Cherokee") breached a contract by underpaying royalties allegedly owed him from production of oil wells located in Kansas. He filed suit against Dart Cherokee in Kansas state court on behalf of himself and similarly situated royalty owners. In December 2012, Dart Cherokee removed the case to U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, asserting jurisdiction pursuant to CAFA. Pet. App. 37a-42a. The notice of removal stated that Dart Cherokee had calculated the total additional royalties that would be owed if "all or substantially all of the adjustments to royalties advanced by Plaintiff were found to be required to be made" and that it had determined, based on that calculation, that "the amount of additional royalty sought is in excess of $8.2 million." Id. at 40a.

Owens filed a motion for remand, asserting that the removal petition inadequately demonstrated that the amount in controversy exceeded $5,000,000. (2) The district court agreed and remanded the case to state court in May 2013. Pet. App. 15a-28a. The court ordered a remand despite acknowledging that Dart Cherokee's response to the motion for remand adequately demonstrated that the amount in controversy exceeded $5,000,000 and that Owens himself asserted that the amount in controversy was at least $21.5 million. Mat20a-21a. The court concluded that under Tenth Circuit case law, evidence supporting federal jurisdiction must be included within the removal petition itself and not added later. Id. at 27a. Applying that standard, the court determined that the removal petition was deficient because it "fail[ed] to incorporate any evidence" supporting its amount-in-controversy calculation, "such as an economic analysis of the amount in controversy or settlement estimates." Id. at 25a-26a.

The court explained that its decision to remand was "[g]uided by the strong presumption against removal." Id. at 28a. It said that the Tenth Circuit "narrowly construes removal statutes, and all doubts must be resolved in favor of remand." Id. at 17a-18a.

In June 2013, a divided Tenth Circuit panel summarily denied Dart Cherokee's petition for permission to appeal. Pet. App. 13a-14a. By an equally divided vote, the appeals court denied Dart Cherokee's petition for rehearing en banc. Id. at 1a-12a. Judge Hartz, joined by Judges Kelly, Tymkovich, and Phillips, filed an opinion dissenting from denial of the petition. Id. at 2a-12a. He asserted that 28 U.S.C. [section] 1446(a) does not require a defendant to include evidence in its removal petition: "a defendant seeking removal under CAFA need only allege the jurisdictional amount in its notice of removal and must prove that amount only if the plaintiff challenges the allegation." Id. at 11a.


Amici agree with Petitioners that the decisions below were based on an implausible interpretation of the "short and plain statement" requirement of 28 U.S.C. [section] 1446(a). By alleging in their notice of removal that "the amount of additional royalty sought [in the complaint] is in excess of $8.2 million," and by including a four-paragraph explanation of the steps they undertook to calculate that amount, Petitioners fulfilled their [section] 1446 obligation to provide a "short and plain statement" of their basis for alleging that the $5,000,000 jurisdictional amount was satisfied.

Amici write separately to focus on a factor that appears to have led the lower courts astray: their reliance on an alleged presumption against removability. The district court explicitly stated that its decision to remand was "[g]uided by the strong presumption against removal." Pet. App. 28a. The district court and the Tenth Circuit are not alone in adhering to that presumption: every regional federal appeals court other than the Seventh Circuit has adopted a presumption against removability and resolves all doubts in favor of remand.

There is no foundation for such a presumption in this Court's case law. Amici respectfully submit that adherence to the presumption is undermining the intent of Congress, which on numerous occasions has adopted...

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