Editor’s note: The following is a press statement from Zach Welcker, Legal Director of FLOW (For Love of Water), the Great Lakes law and policy center based, in response to U.S. District Judge Janet Neff’s 13-page decision today to deny the motion to remand the case to state court in Nessel v. Enbridge, filed by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on June 27, 2019. Members of the media can reach Zach Welcker, FLOW Legal Director, at Zach@flowforwater.org or by cell at 231.620.7911.
“The U.S. District Court’s decision today to exercise federal jurisdiction over the State of Michigan’s Line 5 oil pipeline lawsuit, which Line 5-owner Enbridge had previously chosen to litigate in state court for more than 2 years, is bad for the State of Michigan, bad for state courts, and bad for plaintiffs.
“State-court defendants who have a plausible basis for federal jurisdiction are no longer obligated to seek removal within the statutory timelines established by Congress, but can now play their removal card at the time of their choosing. This gives defendants nearly unfettered discretion to seek refuge in federal court when things are not going their way in state court.
“The effect is that the State of Michigan now will have to expend precious resources relitigating matters it has already litigated in state court for more than two years and, more generally, that federal courts are free to pull the rug out from under state-court proceedings at the whim of opportunistic defendants like Enbridge.”