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Murphy Bros., Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc.

526 U.S. 344, 119 S. Ct. 1322, 143 L. Ed. 2d 448 (1999)

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Murphy Bros., Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc.

United States Supreme Court

526 U.S. 344, 119 S. Ct. 1322, 143 L. Ed. 2d 448 (1999)

Facts

On January 26, 1996, Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc. (Michetti) (plaintiff), a Canadian company, filed a lawsuit in Alabama state court against Murphy Bros., Inc. (Murphy) (defendant), an Illinois company, alleging fraud and breach of contract. Michetti faxed a copy of its complaint to Murphy on January 29 but did not officially serve Murphy with the complaint and a summons until February 12. On March 13, which was 30 days after official service of the complaint but 44 days after receiving a copy of the complaint, Murphy removed the case to federal district court on diversity-jurisdiction grounds. Michetti moved to remand the case to state court, arguing that Murphy had improperly removed the case after the 30-day removal period imposed by 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b) had expired. Michetti asserted the date that it faxed Murphy a copy of the complaint was the date that the 30-day removal period began. To support its argument, Michetti highlighted language from § 1446(b), which provided that a defendant may remove a case to federal court within 30 days of receiving the complaint through service or otherwise. The district court denied Michetti’s motion, holding that the 30-day removal period began when Murphy was officially served a summons. The court of appeals reversed the district court, holding that the 30-day removal period began when Murphy was sent a copy of the complaint. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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