Anchors aweigh, to state court

navy2in3The defendants in Bartel v. Alcoa Steamship Co. sought to remove three Jones Act cases to federal court under the Federal Officer Removal Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1).  While each of the cases involved a United States Naval Ship (one owned by the Navy but operated by civil contractors), “no evidence show[ed] that the government actually exercised continuing oversight over operations aboard ship,” meaning that “the Federal Officer Defendants operated the vessels  in a largely independent fashion and, at a minimum, were free to adopt the safety measures the plaintiffs now allege would have prevented their injuries.”  Accordingly, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the remand of the cases. No. 15-30004 (Oct. 19, 2015).  [As a procedural note, those defendants had already been dismissed, but their dismissal did not affect the analysis of whether removal was proper at the time it occurred.]

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