Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Prods. Liab. Litig.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20116
Nos. Nos. 04-5974, -6056, (2d Cir., 05/24/2007)

The court held that lawsuits filed by California and New Hampshire against corporations that manufactured, refined, marketed, or distributed gasoline containing methyl tertiary butyl ether must be remanded to their respective state courts for adjudication. The cases were originally filed in state courts, but they were transferred to federal courts and consolidated with several other lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation. California and New Hampshire moved to have their cases remanded to state court, but the district court denied their motion. The district court was correct that sovereign immunity does not preclude the removal to federal court of a suit filed by a state plaintiff in state court. However, the district court erroneously held that it had removal jurisdiction over these actions. Removal was inappropriate under the federal officer removal statute because the defendants did not act under an officer of the United States. In addition, California's and New Hampshire's lawsuits represent the states' efforts to enforce their police or regulatory power. Therefore, they are not subject to removal under the bankruptcy removal statute. Because no alternative ground for jurisdiction is satisfied, the court vacated the order of the district court and remanded with directions to return these cases to the forums from which they were removed.