Eleventh Amendment and removal of admiralty case

Thursday, February 26, 2004
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not prevent removal of an admiralty case to federal court where the state involved is the plaintiff. In the instant case, the State of Oklahoma brought suit in state court against the owner of the tugboat that allided with a highway bridge, resulting in severe damage to the bridge and the deaths of various persons. Defendant tugboat owner removed the case to federal court. The state’s motion to remand back to state court was denied and the state appealed. The appellate court held that the Eleventh Amendment only applies in cases where the state is the defendant, so as to avoid states being involuntarily involved in federal court proceedings. Here, the state initiated the proceedings. The case was remanded for the trial court to determine whether there are sufficient bases for federal jurisdiction. State of Oklahoma v. Magnolia Marine Transport Co., No. 02-7139 (10th Cir., February 24, 2004). (HK Law)

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