A recent federal case from Virginia’s Western District serves as a useful guide for remanding case from federal court back to state court. In Purayr, LLC, v. Phocatox Technologies, LLC, 5:16cv47, the judge remanded a case for missing the thirty-day removal deadline, under complex facts.

According to that court, the thirty days started after (1) formal service of the complaint; and (2) actual notice of it. The complaint in that case was served through the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and such service is complete under Virginia law when the secretary is served.

What does this mean for you? Send opposing counsel, or the carrier’s registered agent, a copy of the complaint in addition to the service copy, and send it in a trackable way. This will start the thirty days running as soon as possible. Those parties removing cases must prove compliance with he required procedures, and any deficiency should lead to remand.