Press Release October 7, 2014

Alston & Bird Presents Case to U.S. Supreme Court in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company, LLC v. Owens

In April 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, No. 13-719 (U.S. Apr. 7, 2014). On October 7, 2014, the High Court heard oral argument in the case. Alston & Bird litigators Nowell Berreth, Brian Boone, and Jonathan Parente represent petitioners Dart Cherokee and Cherokee Basin in the Supreme Court proceedings. The Dart petitioners have asked the Court to decide whether a defendant seeking to remove a case from state to federal court must include evidence of federal jurisdiction in the notice of removal.

The Supreme Court case arises from a putative class action in Kansas state court over oil-and-gas royalties. Dart Cherokee and Cherokee Basin removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, but the district court remanded the case to state court because the Dart petitioners had not attached evidence of federal jurisdiction to their notice of removal. The Dart entities petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for permission to appeal, but the circuit court denied review. Joining the case at the appellate stage, Berreth and Boone petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. On April 7, the Court granted review.

Under the statute that governs the removal process, a defendant seeking removal must file a notice of removal containing a “short and plain statement of the grounds for removal.” Consistent with that statutory language, seven circuit courts of appeals have held that the removal statute establishes a pleading requirement, not a demand for evidence. But in the Tenth Circuit – where the Dart case originated – defendants must attach evidence of federal jurisdiction to the notice of removal. The Dart petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to correct the Tenth Circuit’s approach to removal.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Defense Research Institute, Washington Legal Foundation, International Association of Defense Counsel, and Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel all filed amicus briefs with the High Court supporting the Dart petitioners.

The Brief for Petitioners was filed in May 2014. The Reply Brief for Petitioners was filed in August 2014.

Further information about the case can be found at the U.S. Supreme Court web site (Docket No. 13-719).
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