On February 24, 2020, the en banc Fifth Circuit reversed, under the Federal Officer Removal Statute, a trial court’s decision denying removal to a former Navy contractor in a Louisiana asbestos-liability suit. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed an amicus curiae brief asking the court not only to overturn the decision below but also to reconsider circuit precedent making it more difficult for federal officers and their contractors to remove cases to federal court. Writing for the en banc court without dissent (two of the 14 judges concurred in the judgment only), Judge Edith Jones seized the opportunity to reconsider the circuit’s “extraordinarily confused” precedents in light of Congress’s 2011 amendments to the statute. Relying on the plain language of those amendments, the court aligned with its sister circuits to hold that federal contractors who present a colorable federal defense may remove cases to federal court.


 Fifth Circuit decision

June 14, 2019 brief