Professor Arthur Hellman Speaks to State Judges on Federal-Court Jurisdiction

Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman spoke at a conference of state-court judges on issues relating to the proper allocation of business between state and federal courts. Hellman participated in a panel at the eleventh annual meeting of the American College of Business Court Judges. The meeting was organized by the Mason Judicial Education Program. 

The panel topic was “Minimal Diversity Jurisdiction Reform,” and Hellman focused on the problem of “fraudulent joinder.” This term refers to a practice by which plaintiffs whose real target is an out-of-state corporation seek to keep their cases in state court by adding insubstantial or even frivolous claims against an in-state defendant. Joinder of the in-state defendant destroys “complete diversity” and makes the case non-removable to federal court. Hellman described pending legislation to address the problem and suggested alternative measures that would better balance the plaintiff’s right to shape his case as he sees fit and the out-of-state defendant’s right to the federal forum that he would be entitled to if sued alone. 

Hellman’s presentation drew upon a statement he recently submitted to the House Judiciary Committee. The statement is available on the Committee website (PDF download)

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