WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement after introducing the Federal Courts Access Act of 2019, Thursday.
“For too long, trial lawyers have been able to manipulate the diversity jurisdiction rules to deny litigants their day in federal court,” Sen. Lee said. “By creating a minimal diversity requirement consistent with the vision of the very first Congress, this bill increases out-of-state litigants' access to the federal courts for major controversies. By returning to first principles, we can increase both fairness and efficiency in the civil litigation system.”
The framers of the Constitution were well aware of the dangers state court bias posed to national commerce. That is why from the beginning they created “diversity” jurisdiction, thus allowing litigants from out of state access to federal courts.
But thanks to an 1806 Supreme Court case, plaintiffs now only need to identify one in-state defendant to defeat diversity jurisdiction. This bill fixes that problem by allowing access to federal court for any case where at least one defendant is from out of state.