Clarifying its own inconsistent precedent, the Sixth Circuit recently held that the 1-year time limitation for removal to federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1446 is procedural.
In Music v. Arrowood Indemnity Co., No. 10-5056 (6th Cir. Feb. 11, 2011).pdf, the Court looked to decisions from the Supreme Court and the Third, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits in analyzing the character of § 1446’s 1-year time limitation. The Court also considered its own precedent and ultimately expanded upon its previous holdings characterizing the requirements of § 1446(b) as generally procedural. In so doing, the Court rejected its unpublished decision in Brock v. Syntex Labs, Inc., 7 F.3d 232, 1993 WL 389946 (6th Cir. Oct. 1, 1993), wherein it held that the limitation was a jurisdictional mandate.
The take-away from Music? A litigant objecting to removal on the basis of the 1-year limitation must assert her objection within the 30-day window set by 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) or risk forfeiture.