Document Type


Publication Date



Choice of forum, Forum disputes, Erroneous removal, Tort reform, Tort law, Empirical legal studies, Smith v. Life Insurance Co. of Georgia


Civil Procedure | Jurisdiction


Disputes over forum often center on whether a case should proceed in state or federal court. Removal to federal court can trigger a costly forum struggle. When a state case is removed to federal court only to be sent back to state court, the time and resources incurred in the detour are a toll on the judicial system and waste parties’ resources. We find erroneous removal to be an increasing problem. From 1993 to 2002, a period when state tort filings noticeably decreased, the number of removed diversity tort cases increased by about 10 percent to about 8,900 per year. By 2003, removed cases comprised over 30 percent of the federal diversity docket. The percentage of removals ultimately remanded to state court increased significantly to about 20 percent in 2003, with the remand rate exceeding 50 percent in some districts. Thus, as more cases purporting to satisfy diversity jurisdiction were being removed to federal court, and just as removals were occupying an increasing part of the federal docket, removed cases were being remanded to state court at increasing rates. Erroneous removal is a growing phenomenon that should be addressed as part of serious consideration of tort reform.

Publication Citation

Theodore Eisenberg & Trevor Morrison, "Overlooked in the Tort Reform Debate: The Growth of Erroneous Removal", 2 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2005)