The complete diversity rule is broken. Although easily applied in theory (federal courts can exercise subject matter jurisdiction over an action on diversity grounds only when no party is of the same citizenship as any adverse party), over time the number of judicially and legislatively created exceptions to the rule, as well as their varying and inconsistent application by the federal courts, has created an environment in which similarly situated parties are treated differently based solely on the forum in which the litigation is brought. In the removal context, depending upon the forum in which an action is filed, a federal court may exercise diversity jurisdiction over a matter despite the presence of a nondiverse party where, for example, the defendant can show the plaintiff lacks a viable claim against the nondiverse party, or the plaintiff has improperly joined the claims of nondiverse parties to a completely diverse action, or, in mass actions, the plaintiffs have proposed trying the joined actions together (but not if they have not). In response, the federal judiciary (despite having brought this problem on itself through its myriad conflicting rulings on the subject) has cried out for order—requesting a revision to the current diversity jurisdiction regime that provides both uniformity in treatment and ease of application. This article proposes the adoption of a minimum diversity standard for all matters between citizens of different states. This proposal is supported by Article III of the Constitution and its framers. Further, it is easy to apply, and largely incapable of manipulation. To ensure, however, that this change does not flood the courts with diversity matters, this article further proposes an increase to the amount-in-controversy requirement to bring it into the twenty-first century, along with a mandatory abstention provision precluding the federal courts from hearing matters local in nature.
Rodney K. Miller,
Article III and Removal Jurisdiction: The Demise of the Complete Diversity Rule and a Proposed Return to Minimal Diversity,
Okla. L. Rev.