U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Case Status


Docket Number



Case Updates

Seventh Circuit clarifies that 'federal officer removal' statute may apply to private federal contractors

November 30, 2012

The Seventh Circuit reversed the Southern District of Illinois's decision to remand the suit to state court after the District Court concluded the plaintiff only sued the defendant for claims that offered no federal defense. The court held that the plaintiff's relationship with the defendant company arises only out of the defendant's duties to the Navy and that the defendant has a colorable argument for the government contractor defense, which immunizes government contractors when they supply products whose specifications have been approved by the government.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

July 23, 2012

The U.S. Chamber urged the Seventh Circuit to correct the district court's improper application of the federal officer removal statute, which permits the removal of a case from state court to federal court for those “acting under” an officer or agent of the United States. According to the Chamber's brief, the district court’s opinion, which applied a presumption against federal jurisdiction when the removing defendant is a private entity acting under the federal government, reflects a deep hostility to vindicating the federal forum that Congress granted to government contractors. The Chamber argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the federal officer removal statute must be broadly construed, and Congress consistently has expanded the statute’s scope without regard to the removing defendant’s identity. As explained in the Chamber's brief, broad construction of the removal provision would allow government contractors to obtain a federal forum in product liability cases, including but not limited to some asbestos cases, arising from work done on behalf of the federal government. That federal forum helps to ensure that the government is able to order and obtain equipment and services essential to its operation.

Case Documents