The bill would enable defendants to force state cases into federal court by overturning the “fraudulent joinder doctrine.” This 100-year-old precedent helps ensure that state claims are appropriately heard in state court. Tort reformers at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pushing the bill to eliminate plaintiffs’ rights to access state law remedies for state claims.
The “Fraudulent Joinder Protection Act of 2015” [H.R 3624] is nothing more than corporate forum shopping. It would remove cases that properly belong in state court to federal court, including federal courts that are far away from the plaintiff’s home state. Federal courts will be overrun with corporate defendants seeking the most favorable forum, further draining these courts already limited resources and delaying cases that can only be heard in federal court.
The bill would replace the current test for fraudulent joinder (suing a state defendant to keep a case is state court): a one-part test that places the burden on the removing defendant to show no possibility of a state claim–with an overly complicated four-part test for the court to apply, that includes ambiguous “plausibility” and good faith tests.
This legislation would have a devastating impact on all to many plaintiffs to seek justice when they have been injured by corporate wrongdoing.