In a ruling in the case of Delalla v. Hanover Insurance, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected the so-called first-served rule. The “later-served” rule adopted by the three-judge panel states that in cases of multiple defendants being served on different days, each defendant has a 30-day period starting at the time they are served to file a removal notice from state to federal court. The Fourth and Fifth circuits had ruled that the clock starts to tick at the time the first defendant is served, but the Third Circuit joined four other federal circuits in rejecting such a rule.

Ballard Spahr partner John C. Grugan, representing Hanover in the case, told The Legal Intelligencer that the decision was “exactly the right result because it was entirely consistent with the Supreme Court's recent rulings on removal and also with the language of the statute.

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