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February 2021

Federal appellate jurisdiction in abstention cases

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d), “An order remanding a case to the State court from which it was removed is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise ....” Let’s say that plaintiff sues defendant in Louisiana state court, the defendant removes the case to federal court, and the plaintiff moves for remand. The district court finds that it has subject-matter jurisdiction, but it grants the remand anyway by applying an abstention doctrine (in this instance, Burford). The defendant appeals. Does the U.S. Fifth Circuit have appellate jurisdiction to review the abstention-based remand?

According to a decision released yesterday, the answer to the appellate-jurisdiction question is “yes.” Grace Ranch, LLC v. BP America Production Co., No. 20-30224, at 10–14 (5th Cir. Feb. 24, 2021). The Fifth Circuit concluded that the barring of review under § 1447(d) applies only to removals described in § 1447(c), namely remands for defects in the removal procedure or for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Since a remand based on abstention fits neither category, it can be reviewed.


p.s. 26 Feb. 2021: The Fifth Circuit released an updated version of its opinion today. To download a copy of the revised opinion, follow this link. The discussion of appellate jurisdiction starts on page 11.

Feb. 17 court closures

The Louisiana Supreme Court and several courts of appeal are closed today because of the cold weather and related problems (dangerous traveling conditions, loss of electricity). Follow these links to orders or announcements of court closures

I haven’t seen any announcement yet from the Louisiana Fourth or Fifth Circuit. But according to the Louisiana Supreme Court’s announcement, “the Commissioner of Administration announcing that state offices will be closed statewide Wednesday, February 17th.”

Court closures for weather, Lundi Gras, or Presidents’ Day

Here are some court closures to pass along:


p.s. This afternoon, the Louisiana Second Circuit issued another order. This one extends the weather-related closure through tomorrow, February 16, reopening on February 17. To view or download a cop of this order, follow this link.

Appellate CLE offered by the New Orleans Bar Association

If you’re looking for appellate CLE, the New Orleans Bar Association has an inexpensive offering for you: a one-hour discussion of appellate practice with a pair of Louisiana chief judges: Chief Judge McKay of the Fourth Circuit and Chief Judge Chehardy of the Fifth Circuit. Attorneys Kelly Becker and Leigh Ann Schell will moderate. It’s only $20 for NOBA members and $40 for non-members. It’s going to be a Zoom webinar, so no travel time or expenses. For more information or to register, follow this link.