The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently issued an opinion clarifying its precedent on the Federal Officer Removal Statute. Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls, Incorporated., No. 18-30652 (5th Cir. 2020).
Removal is a procedural mechanism that allows a defendant to move a case from state court to federal court. Two bases exist for removal: diversity of citizenship, meaning the parties reside in two different states for example (there is also a dollar threshold here), or the issue at hand is considered a federal question, a matter of federal law.
The Federal Officer Removal Statute at 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1) provides for an additional basis for removal if the defendant is the United States, an agency, or any officer of such acting under color of their office (or someone acting under that officer). Government contractors have been considered to be acting pursuant to a federal officer’s direction for purposes of satisfying that prong of the removal test under the statute.