PROCEDURE-DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP-RULE 21 DISCRETION

August 2nd, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Avenatti v. Fox News Network LLC, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 20101 (3rd Cir. July 21, 2022) (Rendell, C.J.)  The Court here considers when a court may drop a party under Rule 21 in order to create diversity.  Apparently, what happened here was that after removal, plaintiff Avenatti added a party so that there would be no diversity of citizenship and the matter would have to be returned to state court.  The Third Circuit said that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in dropping the “spoiler” defendant.  This maintained diversity of citizenship.  The District Court applied the Hensgens factors, and the Third Circuit found this was appropriate.  Rule 21 gave the District Court discretion to drop Hunt, who was the employee of Fox News.  It was Fox News that was sued in a defamation claim.  The Ccourt said that the District Courts may exercise discretionary authority to drop non-diverse parties added without leave of court after removal.  Litigants may not employ procedural tactics to deny the District Court’s ability to reject new parties whose presence would defeat diversity.  Once jurisdiction has vested in the federal court, which it did here upon removal from state court, careful scrutiny should be applied to any post-removal events threatening to wrench that jurisdiction away.

 

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]